6:00am Thursday 6th June 2013
By Steve Wright
A 12-year-old boy dialled up an £80 phone bill entering a puzzle competition after he was targeted in a mailshot.
Trading standards chiefs have condemned it as “inappropriate” after James Tomlinson was sent letters inviting him to join in the Wordsearch Winfall contest, boasting a £5,000 top prize.
Mother Fiona Tomlinson said letters were sent to their home in Reevy Road West, Buttershaw, Bradford, addressed to Mr James Tomlinson, about the Wordsearch competition, from ‘Adam, managing director, Puzzle Digest.’ The letter gave a competition hotline number to ring to enter, and concluded: “If you’re the winner and you’ve found all ten Capital Cities correctly in the letter grid then a cheque for £5,000 will be on its way to you within 72 hours!!”
The letter warns that calls cost £1.53 per minute, with a maximum of £9.94, though calls from mobiles may be charged at a higher rate.
The small print says: “You must be over 18 and have the bill payers permission to enter this competition.”
Single parent Mrs Tomlinson said: “We were getting letters on a weekly basis for several months. At first most of them were addressed to James and he was entering the competition before I knew anything about it.
“The odd one was addressed to me. He loves doing this sort of puzzle so I said he could enter and use my name.
“He was using his pay as you go mobile phone, which I give him money for, to ring the competition hotline and give the answers. He was coming to me more and more to ask for more credit for his phone.
“When I looked at the small print I saw how much it was costing. It has probably cost me between £60 and £80.
“Now when the letters arrive I tell him to tear them up.”
Mrs Tomlinson added: “I am concerned about how they have got James’s details, when he is just a child of 12. He has special needs as well.
“It makes me feel sick thinking about the amount of money he has spent ringing this number. It is money which could have been better used.” David Lodge, of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “Householders need to be very cautious about these types of mailings and parents need to be extra vigilant concerning their children’s use of mobile phones.
“It is wholly inappropriate that children should be targeted in this way.”
The competition is operated by Response Gaming Ltd, based in Boldon, Newcastle.
The Telegraph & Argus contacted Response Gaming but was unable to obtain a comment from the owner, Adam Yendle, would contact us to comment.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group