Criticism over Ringwood Megahome property competition

Mark and Sharon Beresford

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Mark and Sharon Beresford launched the Win a Megahome competition in March 2018.

The owners of a £3m home have been criticised by entrants in a so-called property raffle draw to win it.

Mark and Sharon Beresford offered their luxury home in Ringwood, Hampshire, as the prize but only sold about £750,000 worth of the £25 tickets.

Entrants claimed the substitute £110,000 cash prize was too low.

Mr Beresford said he “fully complied” with all laws and competition rules and that he had incurred “very high costs” running the promotion.

The Win a Megahome competition was launched in March 2018, with the 7,000sq ft Huf Haus property as the prize.

After it closed at the end of the year, the couple announced “almost 30,000” tickets had been sold.

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The luxury home was described as ‘an idyllic house in a fantastic location’

Under the terms and conditions, if fewer than 175,000 tickets were sold, a cash prize would be offered instead.

The terms allowed the Beresfords to keep a quarter of the revenue, leaving the rest for prize money, minus the costs of promoting the competition.

It left prize money of £110,070 which was won by an unnamed person from Christchurch.

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Tweets, since deleted, show the couple were still promoting the house as the main prize even though ticket sales were low

Many people expressed anger and frustration on social media about the promotion costs and the competition still being promoted a day before it closed, even though there was little chance the house would be the main prize.

James Hill, who bought eight tickets with three friends, said: “After the competition people clearly wanted answers as to why the prize fund was so low.”

Bob Holmes, who bought six tickets, said: “We live in a council house, so this would have been an absolute dream.”

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Under the terms and conditions of the competition, if fewer than 175,000 tickets were sold, a cash prize would be offered instead.

Mr Beresford insisted the eventual prize was still “substantial” and was calculated in accordance with the terms.

In a statement, he said: “The costs incurred were very high and began in 2016 with extensive legal advice and opinions about the interpretation of the rules covering prize draw competitions.

“To do this properly is neither cheap nor for the faint of heart. We will file our accounts in line with statutory requirements.”

Such property raffles, which include a question as part of the entry, are not considered as lotteries and are not regulated by the Gambling Commission.

Jenny Ross of Which? Money said entrants should pay close attention to terms and conditions when entering property raffles.

“The number of failed housing raffles far outweighs the very small number of successes,” she said.

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