Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Alison Kennedy

  My name is Alison Kennedy, I used to participate in quizcall on Sky TV. I began entering in November 2005 via the free online web entry, I did make a few calls but kept a strict budget, In that time I managed to win almost £22,000 from free entries BUT in July 2006 I was banned, with no reason given whatsoever. Their terms and conditions are very vague and although I know I hadn't cheated in any way I could not understand why they had banned me.

  I had a very interesting call from someone at quizcall (they knew all my personal details, list of wins and password that only they knew) they said that they were sorry to see me go and quizcall had banned many cheats who had over-ridden the system, but were now banning players who were good at winning and had won big, there plan was to eradicate all big winners/clever players, Having watched this show for as long as I did I had seen many come and go and from reading internet forums began to realise just how many cheats are out there. Also from watching the show, I learnt how many tricks/discrepancies they actualy did!, several occassions I was hanging on the phone for over 10-15 minutes with a definite answer then went on to win, during that time they were inviting callers to call and even put a clock on for the last three minutes, also as a group of friends playing for several months we began to see a pattern as to when they allowed internet callers on air, we would have nothing for hours then we would all get on together.

  My main concerns are:

    —  puzzles pulled and no answers given, returning days later for more callers to give repeat answers;

    —  puzzles word tower—always are expected to have a few obscure answers but many shows especially quizcall are going to the point of ridiculous using such obscure answers that the general Joe public do not stand a chance;

    —  puzzles being pulled after being on air for several hours, presenters saying "can't believe this has not gone yet" when in fact over those several hours they have only taken a handful of callers, not giving viewers a chance to answer;

    —  terms and conditions on most shows are clear and precise, quizcall hide behind theirs, surely people cannot be banned just for winning, cheating yes, winning no, they should state a limit or how often you can enter etc, quizcall, do none of this, I am gutted that I have been banned for no reason what so ever—they should not be allowed to do this and make their terms and conditions very clear;

    —  also on quizcall, many callers have accents and they are not given enough time to give their answers clearly or spell them before cutting them off, resulting in being told they are wrong, when indeed they were correct and someone else wins later thus them losing out; and

    —  I think there should be time limits on certain games with the exception of word games or add the number games but games should not be carried to another day and answers always given.

  I hope some legislation is brought in soon, shows such as the great big British quiz and ITV play have improved immensely but quizcall is a disgrace, especially when they don't incorporate a level chance between internet and phone and can at the flick of a switch choose when to allow internet entries through, if you watch it for even just an hour you will see many presenters go to speak to a caller only to find a dead line, they then say "someone has hung up" what they are doing is in fact cutting of an internet caller, I had lost count of how many times I got a message on my phone saying, hold the line for the studio then sorry not chosen, only to hear a dead line on TV and then have a message on my mobile with a presenter saying who is there! Very cleverly planned by quizcall if you ask me, Internet entries put nothing into the pot, so they don't want them taking anything out!

17 November 2006

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