Contestants who entered a raffle to win a £3m luxury home in Hampshire have been left disappointed after the prize was cut to £110,000 when the couple running it said they had failed to sell enough tickets.
Mark and Sharon Beresford decided to sell their home using a raffle last year aiming to sell 250,000 £25 tickets. Last week, however, they revealed they had only sold 30,000 tickets, raising £750,000.
The raffle’s terms and conditions stated that any cash prize would amount to 75% of the ticket sales, minus promotion costs.
But the handout, won by an unnamed woman, has been revealed as £110,000 after the Beresfords said they had spent £640,000 in advertising, marketing, PR and legal costs.
Mark Beresford said: “Of course it’s disappointing not to be handing over the house to the winner but we gave it our best shot. We calculated the prize exactly as described in the terms and conditions, which all entrants had to accept.”
Beresford said the couple had spent huge sums on advertising, which had failed to cover its costs.
“The costs incurred were very high and began in 2016 with extensive legal advice and opinions about the interpretation of the rules covering prize draw competitions,” he said. “By the time the competition was launched, costs were already into six figures – to do this properly is neither cheap nor for the faint of heart. We will file our accounts in line with statutory requirements.”
But some Twitter users expressed their dissatisfaction with the competition. One with the handle @magazinecantine said they had bought six tickets. They accused the couple of misleading ticket buyers and posted a picture of promotional material that stated the house was still available 24 hours before the competition closed. This meant they would have had to sell 140,000 tickets in a day, having only sold 30,000 in the previous year.
The Beresfords’ Twitter handle @WinAMegaHome has been deleted following a deluge of criticism.
The Beresfords decided to launch the raffle after several offers for their Huf Haus-style home called Avon Place fell through. The modern steel and glass construction has six bedrooms, open plan rooms and views over the River Avon and Avon Valley.
The couple intend to sell the home and move to East Sussex to be nearer their family. They are expected to list the property on the market in the usual manner.