The premium rate service regulator, ICSTIS, has upheld the complaints of 2635 people who believed they had been misled when they voted people out of The House on this year's Channel 4 show.
iTouch (UK) Ltd who took the publics money for the 090 phone vote and Minick Ltd who did the same for the short code text votes have been investigated.
ICSTIS accepted Big Brother's "editorially-inventive" policy that "Big Brother reserves the right to change the rules at any time". However, the unprecedented number of complaints, combined with the undoubted strength of the complainant, clearly indicated that voters genuinely felt that they had been misled over this twist.
The programs' website stated "Once a housemate leaves they forfeit any claim to the prize money", ICSTIS concluded that the editorial change had caused people to be misled. Channel 4 acknowledged this oversight. ICSTIS accepted that Channel 4 had not intended to mislead its viewers. On the basis that the terms and conditions had not been appropriately amended, ICSTIS found that its Code of Practice had been breached.
ICSTIS decided that it would not be appropriate to order redress for complainants because the "misleading" element of the service did not changed the outcome of the programme. ICSTIS's administration charge, which is levied to cover the costs of investigation in all cases where a breach of the Code is upheld, is substantial, and so ICSTIS will not impose an additional fine.