CBS Radio has engaged in fraudulent and deceptive practices in presenting a contest that promised to award listeners a total of one million dollars ($1,000, 000.00) in increments of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) five times daily, Monday through Friday, beginning on Friday, 3 April and ending on Wednesday, 30 April.
CBS Radio purported this to be a multimarket, multistation sweepstakes wherein the 110th nationwide caller would win $10,000.00 at each cue to call. Listeners in the Cleveland, Ohio market were supposed to be eligible to participate as promoted on WKRK-FM, 92.3. However, after playing each day — five times daily for 20 days for a total of 100 tries — the only response I received when I dialed the contest line of 1-866-EASY-WIN (1-866-327-9946) from my landline was a re-order signal that indicated "We're sorry, you have dialed a number which can not be reached from your calling area." When I dialed 1-866-327-9946 from another landline number in the Cleveland area code (216), I received the same message. My cellphone number is also in the 216 area code and, upon dialing 1-866-327-9946 from my cellphone, I received only a re-order signal indicating that "all circuits are temporarily busy" and recommending that I try my call at a later time. Alternately, on landlines and cellphone, I received persistent busy signals.
I received the same re-order signals and busy signals when I called 1-866-327-9946 between designated listener call-in times. That would indicate to me that the line was permanently programmed to broadcast the same re-order and busy signals at all times — even when callers were supposed to be getting through. I also called 1-866-327-9945 and 1-866-327-9947 as well as other numbers in close numerical proximity to 1-866-EASY-WIN and had no problem connecting from my "area".
When I challenged CBS Radio and its agent, IVR Technologies, about my being unable to connect from my "area", I was given a runaround that began with AT&T and ended with Qwest communications — none of whom would take responsibility for blocking my phone number and rendering me ineligible to participate in the contest.
Further, I also requested proof from CBS Radio that listeners were winning during the course of the contest. I received no response from company representatives. Also, CBS Radio affiliate Star-94 in Pittsburgh posted on their website the names of three persons who they claim are contest winners in various areas of Pennsylvania but, upon researching online, I found no evidence of a connection between the areas of Pennsylvania specified and the supposed winners names. Another CBS Radio affiliate indicated on their website that there would be a "five minute window" either way as to when the cue to call would come. How is this fair in a contest where timing is crucial? (Assuming it were possible to win at all.)
Additionally, there were several occasions when on-air personnel at WKRK-FM 92.3 in Cleveland neglected to verbally cue listeners to call in favor of playing music or commercials at the designated calling times. The rules state that the verbal cue is part of the contest.
I don't think it's unreasonable to expect, after 100 individual tries, each of which lasted from five to 30 minutes, that I should have at least gotten an indication that I was caller 5 or 81 or 109, etc. Based on the reasons set forth above and the evasive responses I received from a representative of CBS Radio (see e'mail chain below), I'm confident that CBS Radio never had any intention of awarding any prize as set forth in their promotion of their so-called "Economic Stimulus Package Giveaway". I'm confident that the contest was a bogus ratings-grabber.
Since CBS Radio went out of their way to create a disadvantage for the Cleveland market's participation as well as my own, I'm entitled to compensation in the amount of $10,000.00 pus compensation for the time I spent entering a contest I had no chance of winning, at a rate of $25.00 hourly for a minimum of 50 hours.