FCC Fines Stations for Contest Rule Violations

Posted on July 30th, 2020 by

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau recently issued two separate decisions fining stations for violations of its contest rules.

The first was for a station’s failure to conduct a station contest as advertised. A caller won concert tickets, but the station never delivered them despite the winner’s multiple attempts to pick them up. The Bureau found that even though the contest rules did not specify a date/time for pickup, the concert was for a particular date and tickets were not provided by that date.  The proposed forfeiture amount is $6,000, issued even though the station later provided tickets to another concert with airfare/hotel.

The second was also for a station’s failure to timely award a contest prize (resort trip) when the contest terms required the winner to pick up the prize within 30 days.  Two years later, the station had still not awarded the prize. The promotions director never told management that the resort had reneged on its commitment. After the complaint was filed, the station made a cash payment to the individual, who signed a settlement agreement that included an obligation to rescind the complaint filed with the FCC.  The Bureau noted the settlement, but issued a $5,200 fine anyway.

Be careful with station contest rule disclosure and prize delivery.  Prize winners want their prize, and they will complain to the FCC if they don’t get it.  By the way, settlement agreements with terms restricting someone’s right to complain or maintain a complaint with the FCC are not a good idea.  Just thought we’d drop that in here.