Play TV Canada Complaint: Global’s Response

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I have, for some reason, been battling against crappy television.

I sent the following to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council a few weeks ago:

Hello. I have sent this concern to Global Television directly, but heard no response.

This “show” is a blatant scam, for several reasons. In sum, they make implicit promises (e.g., that it is possible to get through, or that the puzzles they present are solvable) that are not kept, which defrauds people of money. I do not believe that such an unethical practice should be encouraged by allowing it air time.

I have laid out many of the details of my concern in these blog posts:

Play TV Canada is a Scam
Play TV Canada Has No Legs

And I see that a CBSC decision has already been made about an identical scam: here (also here). But it it still on the air, so I’d like to lodge yet another complaint.

I hope there is something you can do about this. Thank you very much for your time.

My letter was forwarded to Canwest/Global (the company that airs, but does not produce, the program). I recently got a response. The letter can be viewed here.

I will compose a formal response soon. But a few things worth noting right away:
1) Staring at an unsolvable puzzle for 2 hours is not entertaining nor informative for any age, interest, or taste.
2) Having it be for ages 18+ is no excuse. It’s like, “but officer, the person I pickpocketed was 18! Should’ve known to be on the lookout for criminals.”
3) They did not address the implicit promises that are broken (e.g., the fake timer, the non-ringing phone, the random timing of getting on the air). Tiny text at the bottom does not excuse the lying host blabbering up top.
4) There is clearly not one and only one answer to each puzzle.

This last point is exemplified by last night’s “episode”:

Play TV Canada "Puzzle", December 19th 2009

The “correct” answer was 449.

Plugging in the same assumptions as the last bus/cat/leg puzzle does not get to the “correct” answer (even after accounting for, say, one girl having a leg off the bus, or one basket off the bus, etc.) The scam is in including assumptions that cannot possibly be uniquely derived from the question. Can anyone use their psychic powers to divine what arbitrary assumptions could lead to 449?

P.S. I found it rather funny when the host slipped up last night and said “euros” instead of dollars. It highlights that this cheaply produced crap is pumped in from halfway across the world just so Global can make a few bucks.

P.P.S. Here are some videos you might enjoy. 🙂


28 thoughts on “Play TV Canada Complaint: Global’s Response

  1. Michelle Medford could compose a more clear letter.

    The last sentence in the penultimate paragraph (“Please be assured our audited system is supervised and checked regularily.”) makes it sound (accidentally?) like GLOBAL supervises the audited system regularly. However I think Ms. Medford was quoting the producer of Play-TV starting in the 4th last paragraph.

    So who is auditing the producer’s auditors? Doesn’t Global
    have a responsibility?

  2. if you had a problem with it, CanWest aired a disclaimer long before this show was even adopted on the station regarding changes to it’s format to allow a revision for “game show/variety show”programming on that station. You had the opportunity to view the documents and proposals and object at that time. Complaining after the fact is like trying to stop a car that has already crashed through a window; the glass is broken and putting it back together is an impossible idea.

    Don’t watch or don’t bother.

  3. Hey yeah, that’d be awesome, if I watched television 24 hours a day and had time to vet every public service announcement that came on.

    I don’t watch, but I do bother, because it’s hurting people, and I kinda don’t like that happening. A warning is no excuse on Global’s part.

    And I’m optimistic enough that I think something can be done about it. This is more analogous to a car parked in the wrong driveway; it would be better if it never parked there, but there’s nothing stopping the owner from coming and driving it away.

  4. They don’t air them at odd times, prime time (8-11pm) and day time(9am-12pm); I know because I’ve seen them countless times on countless Canadian channels.
    And, if someone is stupid enough to WASTE their own money, that’s their choice.
    I’ve called in but, I was not charged because I was not called back, so you only lose if you get a call back and are wrong.
    This is just something to do in the wee hours of the morning when people should be sleeping, partying or screwing.
    No one times their life around these shows and has any self respect at all.

  5. Who watched commercials any more?

    In any case, I’d be right there with you if the program was up front about its lottery nature. Then people could make an informed decision to waste their money, like with gambling. But there are explicit and implicit lies in the show, which make it a scam rather than just a bad idea.

    And I think you should have been (or will be) charged. As I understand it, you are charged when you call in, whether you get to answer or not. They wouldn’t make much money if only the people who answered on-air got charged.

  6. I think it’s good that you’re doing this, while from the videos it seems like most people would be smart enough to figure out it’s a scam, there are a lot of trusting and gullible people out there who need someone to stand up for them, good for you.

  7. Anybody see the santa claus, elves, cats kittens, school bus question they had tonight? The jackpot went all the way up to 4500 dollars, nobody got it. How the hell is the solution 448? Can somebody explain this to me?

  8. dude all i can say is buy any assumption someone or something lost a leg and its christmas so if you see a cat missing a leg and put it out of its missery so the awnser makes some logical sense

  9. Something that you might want to add into your formal response is that it’s mentioned (First Paragraph, Page 2) that “you have 18 seconds to hang up without being charged”… “Again, this is explained both on-air by the host and on the show’s website”

    This would NEVER be mentioned on the air by the host, and I literally read the whole website’s “official rules”, and there’s no mention of that. Go take a screengrab/printout/copy of that site and send it into them.

    On tonight’s show (Feb 20, 2010), she mentions that the website has previous answers. On the site, as of 2:33am ET, that page listed the following: “Date – Game name – Answer” and that’s all!

  10. On the sixth of March 2010 I tried getting through to said scam I got through with the cell but got a confusing message,stating I had answered wrong I did not even get to talk to any one never mind answering the question.the land line number they have posted is not in service, I guess there is more money to be made with with cell. The hostess with the fake english accent have the nerve to stand there for twenty minutes acting as if no one is calling. The most confusing thing about this is how a television station as Global will allow such a scam to go on. I called customer service that same night and got a rep with a heavy Indian accent, that did seem to have a clue of what I was talking about, I am thinking out source I left my number with him when he asked for it and lo and behold I got a call back.The call was on the 9th The gentleman asked me to send a copy of my phone bill, he did not say why, I realized I did not get any information on how and where to send bill,I called back the number he called from and all I got was rock music not even an answering machine

  11. The presenters are now Irish. The Irish show was booted off the air by the Irish broadcasting regulator.

    The Irish presenters had contracts with Telemedia and are hence now presenting other shows. They do the Canadian and South African shows now.

  12. Pingback: Play TV Canada Pwned: Going Off the Air March 26th « Mike Battista’s Blog

  13. Pingback: PlayTV Canada (aka Game Time) is a Scam « Mike Battista’s Blog

  14. I got duped into calling last night… they are now broadcasting from TLN and when I googled their site, their website came up first… they only posted in their screen that calls cost ‘$2 and guaranteed to win $500… I found the puzzle hard, and assume not a lot of people were able to give the correct answers… nowhere on their website does it says that calling will just enter me into a random pool that “may”be allowed to give the answer (but I assume it is somewhere in there now that I know the racket(,,,

    Anyway, I tried calling from the landline, and it doesn’t work, so I guess it’s bogus to make you call thru a cellphone since most landlines do not allow game charges… called thru Rogers cellphone connected me, and all I got was a “calls cost $2” and then “you were not selected, try again” scam… I guess we should lodge the next complaint to Rogers for allowing this scam to have it’s own special number…

  15. If you call it your a sucker. You should know better never to call in. I’m pretty sure they warn you that your not guaranteed to be selected and you have to pay $2 regardless.

    I feel bad for the people who do call and use a answer previously said earlier in the show.

    But after seeing the one on Sunday 29th of April in the evening, I was shocked at how they got their answer. The question was ‘add up all the numbers’ and it showed a equation with weird looking numbers beside a girl with a tattoo on her arm that said ‘ D I X I E ‘. The person that I was with- (by the end of the show) thought the number was 998, while most people calling were coming up with really ‘low’ numbers.

    When they showed the final answer it was 1951, flashed the solution to the equation and offered no real explanation on where these mysterious numbers they used for it.


  16. This show is a ripoff. The dumb woman stands there freaking out that no one has called to hook more people. Total fraud as I far as I see it. Shame on whoever hosts this thing on a Canadian channel. Bigger shame on the crtc.

  17. I’ve called it 3 times just to prove it is indeed a scam!!! Please do not call the number , your phone is charged and they keep saying you are not chosen ! Complete hoax!!

  18. Hello? I just tried to play the game, how do I file a complaint? I called and emailed them the correct answer but I did not get through, they promised 10,000 dollars. No phones were ringing which is bull that no one got through, then when someone finally got through they gave the wrong answer, but the show said it was right and only gave them 1300 dollars. How do I file a complaint against them? Anyone know who I contact?

  19. I just watched this playtime tv Canada on Global which was find three differences in two pictures of Canadian currency. It apparently went up to $10,000.00 find three differences you win $100.00 and get a chance to win the $9,900.00 mentioned in a bonus game. This is definitely a scam, they claim there was 2 winners of the $100.00 initial prize but conviently no one won bonus game. Just for the hell of it I called the number for people calling by cell. Recorded message for charge played I stayed on for chance to get through once it proceeded it said I was charged however if I want to enter to try and win it claims I needed to hangup and call #5110 to have my chance to win!? This would result in another charge of an unknown amount for a chance to win something I just paid for already by doing the initial call. That would be double charging for a service, that is fraud that Global/CanWest is allowing to happen so they can line there pockets. This is shameful behavior by a media company that claims to be reputable. I wish you best of luck getting this sort of crap off our TV’s. You may share my post and information and if you have a petition count me in.

  20. I was calling this number for almost an hour same answer stay on the line and see if you are selected … and during this time no calls were taken to answer on the tv
    So it s just done for the providers benefits

  21. OMG I was at my friends place for the long weekend and I just got back from CNE on Sunday. So after showering, having some food and watching some tv around after i believe 11:30pm i came across the game show.

    Some woman had to guess which moving pictures were different and it was funny because i think she won like $100 and then she had to go for the bonus which was i believe $8000? Maybe it was less as I was a bit tired. She was asked a very simple question to shout out 4 numbers on the squares and she fucked it up so badly. that the time went over and CHCH got off the feed and it went into another show.

    Does anyone remember that? I still believe this show is fake and it always seems like they get what sounds like seniors winning all the time. I bet that woman only won $100 as she couldn’t even figure out how to do the bonus round.

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