Local Newspaper’s April Fool

Local Newspaper’s April Fool

The Gadget Show Live ticketsFriday, 1st April 2016 – Imagine Dad’s surprise when he opened the mail to find he’d won some tickets for The Gadget Show Live from our local newspaper, the County Times.

The Gadget Show Live is the UK’s largest technology event and I’d imagine an exciting day out. I say “imagine” because the tickets were for Thursday, 31st March only… Yes, the day before the tickets arrived.

A quick check of the envelope showed they’d only been mailed on the Thursday (the day the tickets were valid for), so how the County Times thought they were ever going to be of use to us was quite baffling! They were making us out to be April Fools.

The Gadget Show Live Tickets

Being no April Fool, Dad called the County Times office and was told the person responsible was off work, but they would get them to phone back on Monday with a like-for-like replacement prize. Apparently, Dad wasn’t the only unhappy winner. Monday came and went without a return call.

Dad has since twice phoned the County Times for a satisfactory resolution, but nothing. In fact, one response was “Well, that’s it”.

So, our local newspaper seems to think that it’s perfectly acceptable to promote a competition and then not provide the winners with a valid prize or even an apology for their cock-up.

Are there not rules against this? I would say they certainly have a moral obligation to provide Dad with a replacement prize, if not a legal obligation.


Read the update!


  1. Jo says:

    I’m sure they have a legal obligation to provide a valid prize for any competition they promote in their paper. Can you get hold of the terms and conditions? Has your dad asked to speak to the editor, surely they wouldn’t be happy to think that the newspaper is providing a prize which is out of date.

  2. Kelly says:

    So was this actually done by the paper as an April Fool’s joke? If so, it’s another example of why I hate the holiday. If not… then the paper has a serious problem they need to resolve. Or wait – either way it seems they have a problem they need to resolve!

  3. Suze - Luxury Columnist says:

    What a disappointment for your Dad! I hope that the newspaper comes up with some other nice prize to compensate

    • Nikki says:

      I hope so too, but it doesn’t look like they’re going to. At first they said they were going to sort something and now they’ve turned around and said no. They’re pretty much ignoring him now, hence this post.

  4. Matthew says:

    Tell the newspaper that you will be reporting them to the ASA (Advetisting Standards Authority). The ASA makes sures the promoter is following the rules and they would find in your favour.

    As its a newspaper that gets paid most by ads, they won’t want the ASA investigating them. Which could leave them with a ban on running competitions,etc

    I had a problem with a newspaper not giving me my prize, one conversation later mentioning the ASA, I now have my prize.

    Hope this helps

  5. Hi Nikki,

    I wonder if this type of complaint comes under the remit of the ‘Advertising Standards Authority’


    Someone somewhere should be monitoring this kind of offer and I find it extremely arrogant of the newspaper not to offer some kind of recompense to your dad, as a gesture of goodwill if nothing else.

    Let us know the outcome of negotiations 🙂


  6. Barbara says:

    That is just awful, I’m sure the paper must be obliged to put things right. I hope you get something sorted out soon. Do you have just the one local paper? If there is more than one you could go to others with the story, a little bad publicity would be a good thing in this case. Or try a national paper they might be happy to run a story if it’s a slow news day.

  7. Tracy Terry says:

    That is shameful. I know they say no publicity is bad publicity (or something like that anyway) but surely this cannot be anything other than bad publicity for this newspaper.

  8. rashbre says:

    We’ve successfully guerrilla tweeted well known companies/people in the past after things went wrong. You could try tweeting to @JasonBradbury or @jonbentley90 (or whoever currently hosts the TV show?) to see what happens…

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