Contestants who entered a raffle to win a £3million luxury home are furious after the prize was cut to just £110,000 after the couple running it failed to sell enough tickets.
Mark, 61, and Sharon Beresford, 57, launched the competition last year aiming to sell 250,000 £25 tickets but revealed last week they had sold just 30,000, raising £750,000.
They promised to continue the draw with a ‘six-figure sum’ prize up for grabs – which has now been revealed as £110,000, or 27 times less than the value of the property in Ringwood, Hampshire, won by an unnamed woman.
In their terms and conditions, the Beresfords stated that any cash prize would be to the value to 75 per cent of the ticket sales, after promotion costs were taken out.
The couple maintain they racked up £640,000 in advertising, marketing, PR and legal costs for the competition.
But some who took part questioned about the validity of the novelty raffle.
Mark and Sharon Beresford have been slammed on social media after offering a £110,000 cash prize in a raffle they originally launched to give away their £3million luxury home, pictured. The couple failed to sell enough £25 tickets to make the house giveaway viable but still raised £750,000. But now contestants have vented their fury at the reduced prize, which the couple claim accounts for their legal and promotional costs
The house in Ringwood, Hampshire, is a Huf Haus, meaning it is a distinctive glass and wood property built by the German company of the same name, which can be constructed within days. The couple will keep the house now but are still trying to sell it with a view to moving to East Sussex to be closer to family
Contestants on social media have hit out at the couple and the raffle questioning how the prize can be £110,000 when the Beresfords sold £750,000 in tickets
Others said the figures ‘did not add up’ and branded the competition a ‘disgrace’ following the change in prize
The stunning six-bedroom property has a large sofa in the main living area on the ground floor, with open plan rooms providing a sense of space
The couple, pictured outside the luxury home, have dismissed criticism against them and said the raffle was followed according to laws and regulations
The Beresfords’ Twitter handle @WinAMegaHome has been deleted in the face of an stinging criticism from users.
Rebecca Gleaves, from Bournemouth, said: ‘It might be legal but that doesn’t make it okay morally.’
Richard Reddington, from London, added: ‘I will never enter another competition like this again.’
What are the rules on raffling a home?
Lotteries cannot be held for commercial gain or profit, so home-owners considering raffling off their house would need to run the raffle to benefit a charity or other not-for-profit cause.
Those who want to keep the money gained for themselves must either hold a free prize draw or add a competition element to the raffle.
Competitors should have to prove their skill, knowledge or judgment in order to win the top prize.
Many people get around this by asking an incredibly simple question such as ‘what style of property is this house: A – Victorian, B – Tudor or C – Georgian’ when people pay for their raffle ticket.
It is also important to have watertight terms and conditions, such as a setting a minimum number of tickets in order for the raffle to go ahead (like the Rosses have done).
Although getting a house for the cost of a coffee is a great deal, the winner will still have to pay stamp duty on the house based on the open market value (in some cases) – and also bear in mind any maintenance costs or other upkeep charges where apartment blocks are concerned.
Graham Nash, from Poole, Dorset, wrote: ‘Not a bad return admittedly, but would be interested to see the breakdown of the costs.’
Michelle Philpott, from Poole, posted: ‘I think all who entered should be given their money back. £600,000 on promotional costs?’
The draw was made by a random number selector computer at Sterling Lottery Management, which is approved and audited by the Gambling Commission.
It selected 100 tickets and local MP Christopher Chope drew the winner from that number.
An independent solicitor was also present at the time to oversee the procedure.
The Beresford decided to launch the raffle after several offers for their Huf Haus-style home called Avon Place home fell through.
The couple had even received interest from an England international footballer but had been unable to find a buyer.
The couple still intend to sell the home as they are planning to move to East Sussex to be nearer their family after their three grown-up children moved out.
However, they will now do so through more conventional means by listing it on the market.
Despite being unable to sell their home through the raffle, the couple said they don’t regret their decision.
They also denied any wrongdoing and said they had complied with both competition rules and relevant laws.
Mr Beresford, a company director, said: ‘We fully complied with all of the competition rules and relevant laws in order to launch the competition.
The Beresfords property, Avon Place, is set in around an acre of private grounds and offers 7,000 sq ft of open plan living with views over the River Avon (pictured) and Avon Valley
Despite throwing in a £160,000 Aston Martin as a second prize, (pictured) the couple only sold 30,000 tickets, generating £750,000 – a quarter of the value of the six bed home
Mr Beresford, pictured with his wife in one of the property’s many sitting rooms, 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.
‘We have spent huge sums of money on advertising that 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.
‘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.’