Personal attention of
Officer-in-Charge Consumer Protection Division
Fair Trading Commission
re: 3/12/4 (648) Opera Interactive (Barbados) Ltd
Thank you for your letter dated 27th November 2007 and delivered by hand yesterday (3rd December). As a consumer, I am afraid I find its contents totally unacceptable.
In your letter dated 14th November 2007 you gave the written assurance that Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited had provided you with a list of ‘winners’ and that you had contacted these ‘winners’ by phone and after contacting them had indeed confirmed they were ‘bone fide’ and ‘they had received their prizes’. You also stated ‘the names of the winners of its competition will be published in the media’. You are now stating that the company has agreed that ‘from the next Competition in any of the media we (Opera Interactive (Barbados) Ltd) will publish a weekly announcement of all prize winners’.
Why are you so reluctant to enforce your first ruling on this company, where you state that they should be more ‘be more transparent and publicize the winners of its competition in the media’?
Again, despite the assurances you obtained, yet again on Saturday 1st December 2007 a half page ‘ad’ appeared in the Saturday Sun without the competition operator’s name. In the last paragraph of your letter 27th November 2007, you pointed out ‘The Commission shall only investigate a complaint made a against a service provider or business enterprise where a complainant satisfies the Commission that he has submitted a complaint to the service provider or business enterprise and has failed to obtain reasonable redress’.
As repeatedly pointed out, how would a consumer contact this company?
No address is shown in any of the advertising and in many cases no operator has been shown either. The company also operates the Caribbean Phone Idol competition and asks people to write to it, on its website, but no address is shown. The FTC also allowed the company to advertise frequently on television and in print media ‘ads’ for several days where a listed telephone number was not in operation.
So I am afraid the blame cannot be passed back to the consumer. This company has consistently lied about its operations and the FTC appears happy to allow it to operate on Barbados blatantly breaking your own rules. I sincerely, believe no further advertising should be permitted until a full list of ‘winners’ is published. I would remind the Commission that for several weeks the same ‘winning number’ has appeared in all advertising. As consumers, are we expected to believe that there have been several ‘winners’ all choosing the same number?
4th December 2007