Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Steve Dinneen, Sunday Mail journalist

    —     Our reporters made 250 calls, at a cost of £365, in one sitting on Quiz Call, Cash Call and The Mint but didn't get connected once.

    —     Questions are often ridiculously easy ("Fill in the missing letter from the following words: ph*ne and m*ney.") but callers never get a chance to answer them.

    —    Gaps between callers are sometimes over half an hour. Presenters act like there is nobody calling to get onto the program.

    —    Presenters mislead callers about their chances of getting through to the show.

    —    Alternative, free, routes of entry are not adequately displayed/advertised.

    —    Prices are only listed for BT landlines when other operators are up to twice as expensive.

    —    Shows are run as "prize competitions" when, to all intents and purposes, they are actually lotteries and should be subject to a compulsory charitable donation of of profits.

    —    No limit is set up on spending, meaning one caller can run up astronomical bills. Brett Rees from Yorkshire ran up £9,000 in under a month.

    —    Since the Sunday Mail articles we have had a stream of letters backing the campaign and relating similar stories. Most are anonymous or asked for their identity to be protected.

15 November 2006

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