Lottery forced to pay after judge finds advertisement misleading

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You know those lottery ads where in big print it says you’ve won and then somewhere in the small print it says you haven’t won at all, except perhaps for the right to hand over your cash?

Well, one Dutch judge thought enough was enough and has found for six plaintiffs who thought they had won 2,500 euro each.

In a letter that the winners received in October 2010 from Postcode Loterij, the impression was given that the recipients were guaranteed winners if the two unique codes they received with the letter matched the codes printed in a table (see illustration). Once they had sent in their coupons, only one plaintiff received a minor prize and the other five received a lottery ticket—clearly not what they had expected.

The small print said that participants only had a chance of winning the prize, but judge Pauline van der Kolk-Nunes quickly disposed of the T&C: “[The letter] will raise an expectation with the average consumer that they have won a prize […] and that the table shows which prize they have won. The codes and the table are unlikely to have any other meaning. [The small print] contradicts the core of the agreement, which is: you will receive a gift.”

Karma can be cruel.

Postcode Loterij is planning to appeal the decision.

See also: The battle to outlaw poker rages on

(Illustration: iusmentis.com / Postcode Loterij. The text reads: “Do you have one of these codes on your lucky coin? And do you have a valid gift code? Then you will receive one of these gifts, guaranteed. Which gift is yours?”)

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