Richard & Judy phone company gets record fine

The company behind the Richard and Judy premium rate telephone quiz scandal has complained that they’ve been made a scapegoat.

Eckoh, which ran the You Say, We Pay quiz on the Channel 4 show, has been given a record £150,000 fine by premium rate services regulator Icstis.

Icstis said that almost five million viewers entered the competition at a cost of £1 per call. But 47 per cent of calls were received after the shortlist of winners had already been chosen.

Director Harry Chathli said: “Icstis accepts that Eckoh has learned from this case, but nonetheless has imposed this sanction ‘to provide incentive to other service providers who may not yet have taken the steps that Eckoh have to ensure compliance’. “Because of this we can’t help but feel that we’ve been made a scapegoat.

“We will be considering an appeal once we have seen the result of the Ofcom investigation.”

The company pointed out that under the code of practice it was the only party that could be sanctioned by Icstis for breaches of compliance.

It added that information providers – in this case Channel 4 and production firm Cactus – were outside the jurisdiction of Icstis.

Nik Philpot, chief executive of Eckoh, said: “We accept that Eckoh made mistakes with You Say We Pay but it seems clear to us that all three parties could and should have spotted the problem earlier.”

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