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SABC3 has been fined R10 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) which calls it "a serious contravention" after the TV channel's weekday breakfast show Expresso was found to have misled viewers in an on-air competition from Nedbank.
Expresso, produced by Tswelopele Productions, ran a Nedbank marketing and promotional competition asking viewers to send a "Mandela" SMS to enter, but failed to tell SABC3 viewers that only bank account holders of Nedbank are eligible and that people who are not with Nedbank will lose money since they won't be entered into the draw.
A viewer who is not banking with Nedbank, complained to the BCCSA saying he lost money in the Expresso competition for a trip to London which was run in November on SABC3.
"I SMS'ed multiple times from two cellphone numbers. At no time until 08:10 did they state that the competition was only open to Nedbank clients. I think this is very dishonest and can only wonder how many thousand South Africans entered this competition".
The SABC told the BCCSA that the advetorial was a mistake.
The production told the BCCSA that Expresso caused "the viewer to spend funds unnecessarily through SMS's which he sent. We apologise for the error and undertake to reimburse the complainant with the expenses that he would have incurred in this regard".
The BCCSA calls the mistake a "serious contravention" of the Broadcasting Code.
"Although the word Nedbank is included in the SMS, a viewer might very well have assumed - and reasonably so - that Nedbank would award the prize to any person who chose to take part in the competition," the BCCSA found in its judgement".
"It is a serious contravention and we believe that a fine of R10 000 would be fitting," the BCCSA found. The fine has to be paid before the end of March.