A local radio station came under fire today amid claims it had deliberately misled its listeners, encouraging them to enter a competition under false pretences. Letchworth-based Garden FM, the self-proclaimed home of “Inane chat and hopeless drivel”, used a premium rate phone line to support a competition to supposedly win a brand-new Volvo XC90.
But to the horror of the listeners, who were also expecting an all-expenses skiing trip in The Alps, the actual prize was something much less exciting. In fact, the real prize was quite terrifying.
Rather than the all-new Volvo XC90 – a car launched at the 2014 Paris Motor Show to huge acclaim – the real prize was a Suzuki X-90. And the all-expenses skiing trip? Well that was a day out at the local dry ski slope, with two-hours free parking and a £10 voucher to spend at the nearby Wonder Wok restaurant.
For Garden FM’s listeners, who are used to hearing weak, middle-of-the-road pop music and egotistical DJs, this was all too much. They turned up in their tens at the station’s HQ to complain the bosses had deceived their loyal fans.
Mrs Rachel Tully, of Pear Tree Gardens, told us:
“I was putting the washing out on the line when I heard a competition to win a new car. It said they were reporting from the launch of the new Volvo XC90 in Paris and we could be in with a chance of winning a stylish SUV. The exact terms and conditions were drowned out by the sound of the French national anthem, but I almost certainly heard XC90 and skiing.”
Mrs Tully, an unemployed paper folder, went on to say she rushed to the phone and – knowing a thing or two about Volvos – decided to enter a number of times.
“My Uncle Gregory owned a Volvo 340 a few years back and that felt well-built and solid. So I figured it would be worth entering a few times. I must have called the number 200 times. I dread to think what my phone bill will be like next month.”
But Mrs Tully’s pain is nothing compared to that of the actual winners, a Mr and Mrs Hargreaves from Royston.
Phillip and Glenda were told to meet superstar DJ, Mike ‘Spin the Decks’ Pointer, at the nearby dry ski slope, where they’d be presented with their prize. As they sat on a picnic bench, positioned perilously close to the end of the ski slope, it suddenly dawned on them that the prize wasn’t quite what they had imagined.
This picture captures the sheer look of disappointment on their faces as they came to terms with the horrendous news. Phillip told us:
“I was expecting to win the world’s most advanced seven-seat SUV, but instead I get this. Putting a ski rack on the roof doesn’t hide the fact that this is a crass and deliberate attempt to mislead us. I’m so angry, I’m thinking of switching to Magic FM.”
The two cars couldn’t be further apart. The £40,000 Volvo XC90 was the star of the Paris Motor Show, whilst the Suzuki X-90 has been the object of ridicule and derision since its launch in 1995. Typically an X-90 will cost between £500 and £750, which is less than Glenda spent on the premium rate phone line.
Nobody from the station was available to comment and we understand Mr and Mrs Hargreaves are yet to collect their Suzuki X-90 from the bottom of the ski slope.
They did, however, enjoy a wonderful three-course meal at the Wonder Wok.
Update: Mrs & Mrs Hargreaves have since issued a statement saying anyone wishing to collect the Suzuki X-90 from the dry ski slope is welcome to take it. The keys are in the ignition and there’s a full tank of premium unleaded in the tank. So far, aside from a dog taking a wee on the offside-front wheel, there have been no takers.