The “Kuitilla rahaa” (Winning money with a receipt) campaign organised by Rautakirja Oy in 2011 was advertised at least in the vouchers providing information about the campaign that were distributed at Rautakirja’s R-Kioski outlets, receipts and on the Rautakirja website.
According to the rules of the jackpot draw, only customers that presented a receipt showing that the total value of their purchases was at least five euros could take part in the draw. Both the main prize, 250,000 euros, and the smaller jackpots had been drawn before the campaign for specific potential Rautakirja outlets and times of purchases.
Changes of winning the main jackpot even smaller than in the Finnish national lottery
The main jackpot, 250,000 euros, was of unusually high value, compared with the prizes usually offered in draws promoting the sales of consumer products. For this reason, it was also extremely attractive to consumers.
Chances of winning the main jackpot were close to zero: only one to about 30 million. The probability of winning the second-biggest jackpot, 5,000 euros, was also very low: slightly less than one to 15 million. For comparison: the chances of winning the main jackpot in the Finnish national lottery draw on Saturdays (seven right) is slightly more than one to 15 million.
Main jackpot was beyond the reach of the participants
The rules of the campaign had been prepared so that there would probably be no need to award the main jackpot or any of the other larger prizes. Usually, however, the main jackpot in draws promoting the sales of consumer products is shared by all those taking part in the draw.
The campaign advertisements emphasised the total value of the prizes (500,000 euros) but did not say anything about the likelihood of winning any of them. According to the information provided by Rautakirja, the total value of the prizes actually awarded to the participants was only 9,310 euros.
The company is responsible for ensuring that the marketing is in accordance with the law
The Finnish Consumer Ombudsman was of the view that the marketing described above focused consumers’ attention to the draw and the jackpots dominating the promotional effort instead of the products offered by the company and the cost of purchasing them. This means that there was a substantial risk that consumers bought products offered by the company even if they did not have any need for them.
The company has pledged not to carry out similar campaigns in the future. The Consumer Ombudsman has notified a large number of business organisations that were involved in the preparation of the guidelines on promotional games (2011) of her decision. The guidelines were used as the basis for the decision.
With this decision, the Consumer Ombudsman also wants to draw the attention of business operators to the problems arising in connection with campaigns such as “Kuitilla rahaa” and the fact that even though Chapter 2, section 14 of the Finnish Consumer Protection Act has been repealed, the basis for decisions on the prominence of promotional draws has remained unchanged.
Guidelines on promotional games (Finnish Consumer Ombudsman, 2011)
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