An Ofcom investigation found that some 41,000 viewers who had entered competitions between 2016-2019 with postal votes were excluded from prize draws. The ITV competitions involved include “Good Morning Britain,” “Lorraine,” “This Morning,” “Loose Women,” “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” “La Vuelta” and “X Factor: The Band.”
The breach was noticed by ITV, and after an internal process of examination, the broadcaster referred the matter to Ofcom, thus prompting the investigation.
“Our investigation found that people who entered these competitions by post were excluded from the draw, with no chance of winning,” an Ofcom spokesperson said. “ITV failed to follow proper procedures and this led to a clear breach of our rules, which require all broadcast competitions to be conducted fairly.”
In response, ITV said in a statement: “The integrity of all viewer competitions run by ITV is an absolute priority for us, therefore any related error is taken very seriously and is a matter of sincere regret. Since discovering the errors relating to six competitions, ITV has implemented new measures for processing free postal entries.”
Viewers have the option of entering competitions via text message, phone or online, for which they are charged £2 ($2.66). Postal entries are normally free, though some entries may require buying a postage stamp.
“We note that Ofcom acknowledges that these were unintentional human errors that affected some free postal entries and a relatively small number of competitions compared to the number we operate overall and that ITV acted immediately and proactively in addressing and reporting the matter and taking action to avoid a recurrence,” the ITV statement added.
Ofcom has said it won’t take further action on the matter. ITV will make a charitable donation to mark its regret over the breach of regulations.