File this one in the When Will They Ever Learn Department.
For some strange reason the winner of a radio contest wasn’t too happy when she found out that after dutifully listening to a late night show on a radio station for hours to win a contest in which she could win “100 Grand” she won it — and was awarded a Nestle’s 100 Grand candy bar.
So she’s suing. And from what the AP reports the DJ wasn’t just unavailable for comment but he may be unavailable for work:
Norreasha Gill filed a complaint Wednesday in Fayette District Court against Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, which owns WLTO-FM in Lexington. Gill, 28, says the station and its parent company breached a contract to pay $100,000 to the contest winner.
Night host DJ Slick sponsored the station’s contest to “win 100 grand,” Gill said in the lawsuit. Gill won by listening to the radio show for several hours and being the 10th caller at a specified time.
She went to the radio station the next morning to pick up her prize, but was asked to return later. When she got home, she found that the station manager had left a message explaining she had won a 100 Grand candy bar, not money.
Later, he offered her $5,000, Gill said.
“I said I wanted $95,000 more,” she said. “Nobody would watch and listen for two hours for a candy bar.”
Meanwhile, the AP reports that DJ Slick (aptly named, although he may soon have the name DJ Slick And Broke) didn’t return email and said on his Website that he left his job. The station and corporation wouldn’t give the DJ’s real name or say if he had been fired.
We wonder what the consolation prize was. Perhaps the DJ promised them a Snickers bar and when listeners went to the station to collect it when like this:
Listener: I won a Snickers.
Radio station rep: You want your Snickers now?
Radio station rep: OK, here it is: Heh, heh, heh…
But this is NOT a laughing matter in terms of law — or potential fines:
Experts said the radio station could face action by the Federal Communications Commission, which licenses radio stations.
FCC regulations say contest descriptions can’t be false or deceptive and that stations must conduct contests as advertised. Stations in two other states have been fined for contests that told listeners they’d won cash prizes without specifying they were in the Italian or Turkish lira, not the U.S. dollar.
Before her family went to sleep that night, Gill says, she promised her children — ages 1, 5 and 11 — that they’d have a minivan, a shopping spree, a savings account and a home with a back yard.
“What hurts me is they were going to get me in front of my children, all dressed up, and hand me a candy bar, after all those promises I made to them,” she told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “You just don’t do that to people.”
People can (and will) argue as to whether she’s taking advantage of a situation but the bottom line is this: it might seem to a DJ or reality show producer funny to set someone up like that to get a reaction out of them, but two things are clear: (1)the law doesn’t allow misleading listeners, (2)it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to forsee situations in which you are setting yourself up for either huge embarrassment or costly litigation. There ARE precedents:
A prank in Florida led to a similar lawsuit that was settled in 2002. A former waitress claimed Hooters promised to award her a new Toyota car — but instead gave her a toy Yoda.
File that one in the Dumb Idea From The Beginning Department.
PS: I wonder if I can sue that spammer who said he was sending me something for an “enlargement” and then mailed me that coupon to Photo Mat?
Copyright 2005 The Moderate Voice