A woman who won a £2m mansion in a £10 prize draw claims she was only given £5,000 as a “goodwill gesture” from the organisers.
The woman, a teacher from Radford, Nottingham, known only as Loretta, was announced as the winner of the prize draw in a video on the website of competition organisers Win My Home.
The 55-second clip shows a woman approach Loretta's home with a bunch of flowers before telling her: “You're the winner of our Nottingham prize draw”, without clarifying what she had won.
But Loretta, 35, said she was “heartbroken” to be told afterwards that she would not be getting the house in Nottingham’s Park Estate – and would instead receive £5,000.
One of the terms and conditions listed on the company’s website, a rule which Loretta says she did not see prior to entering, states that if £2.5m of net sales are not reached then the winner will receive 50% of the net proceeds.
However, in emails seen by Nottinghamshire Live, the competition organisers claimed they had made a loss and awarded the £5,000 as a “goodwill gesture”.
They said they had spent nearly £200,000 on “marketing costs” and were unable to process Visa payments “for a long time”.
Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Loretta, who wished to withhold her surname, said: “Two people came and they said, 'Yes you've won' and I was like, 'Yes, where are my keys?'
“And they told me I hadn't won the house but I had won a grand prize of £5,000. I was like, 'Right, thanks' and they said, 'Unfortunately because we didn't raise enough money I can't give you the house'.”
They instead told her they could transfer £5,000 straight to her bank account.
The prize draw, which ran between March and August, offered the chance to win a “fully-furnished” six-bedroom four-storey villa.
Packages offered ranged from 15 entries for £10 to 1,000 entries for £350, with the option of one free postal entry.
‘A new start’
Despite Loretta not winning the house, a statement from Win My Home stated that “she and her husband have been looking to buy their first home together” and followed the post with an emoji of a house.
Loretta and her husband were desperate to move away from their council home, which she said has “horrible” mould, and entered the draw in the hope of it being a “new start”.
She added that while she was grateful for the £5,000 she received, it “can’t even get you gas and electrics”.
In emails sent to Loretta, Win My Home said the terms of conditions are “very explicit” that the winner would get a percentage of the net profit if enough money was not raised, and claimed that the £5,000 “came from our own personal pockets”.
They added: “The alternative was awarding nothing which we would obviously not have felt great about.”
Win My Home's website and Instagram page have been taken down since the story was reported.
Their last post on X, formerly known as Twitter, was in May.
Why you should always read the small print
While it may be easier to sign documents without reading pages of text before hand, it can lead to all sorts of issues.
From credit cards to mobile phone contracts to signing up for the gym, not reading the small print can potentially cost you financially.
You are essentially signing a contract and if you do not take your time to read the terms that go along with that contract, you could face penalties.
Mum wins £2m North Yorkshire house in prize draw – take a look inside (The Northern Echo)
In the case of credit cards, you could be charged fees for exceeding the limit on your account if it was set out clearly in the terms and conditions.
Late payments or going overdrawn could also potentially add extra charges to any account you may hold.
However, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 has made it easier to challenge hidden fees and charges.
The contract can be assessed for fairness if the terms are not prominent or transparent – including if fees and charges are hidden or if there are any charges deemed excessive.
The Act also says that the key parts of any product or service’s terms and conditions must be made clear and should not be hidden away or surrounded by technical legal terms.