British company can't even give prize money away

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After years of scammers using contest prizes as lures, I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that a British company recently was unable to convince 89 of the 288 winners of its contest to accept their winnings. The contestants could not be convinced that the prize award was not a scam.

The British company, 118118, is a free information service that provides phone numbers, movie times, train schedules, and other services via the telephone. As part of its marketing, it ran a contest in early October, awarding 288 of those who used the service during that time £118 ($190) apiece. To the company's surprise, when phoned and informed of their good fortune, 29% of the winners turned down the prize flat.

Sadly, this doesn't surprise me in the least. When was the last time you received a cold call that was to your benefit? For the past month, Barak and Johnny Mac have been calling so frequently I'm beginning to wonder if they both have a crush on me. If either of them told me I'd just won the lottery, I'd run the other way, hand on my wallet.

It's a sad world when you can't even give money away. Where's Ed McMahon when we need him?

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