We have another tale here of disgruntled customer vs the bingo hall’s. This time it involves a situation where the prize board had the incorrect amount displayed on it and the customer receives a lesser amount.
This raises a potential minefield of questions to prove who is right and who is wrong in this instance:
If the prize board displayed £5,000 and not £1,000 then why did nobody notice the discrepancy during the course of the game?
Should the caller or even more so the booksales department question the increased prize money on offer?
Did the caller announce the real prize money or the prize money displayed on the board? If so did they question the increase there and then?
Where was the manager in all this? Didn’t they hear or see the prize money on offer and react accordingly?
Would the regular players have seen the huge jump in prize money and made a member of staff aware of it?
The thing is….from reading the article the club do not seem to have a leg to stand on. They have admitted that the prize board was showing the larger amount on the game in question and when the customer signed for her prize, she signed a receipt with the prize stating £5,000 on it. The manager of the club also seems to be keeping quiet and not responding to the media’s request for a statement or an explanation. The only grey area is the woman in question states that she ‘thinks’ that the money was announced on stage by the caller as £5,000, although the Regional manager of the company disputes this.
As a caller I am surprised that the discrepancy was not spotted the moment the prizes were displayed on the board. If it was me on that stage that night I would have questioned the prizes straight away. A caller can see the audience in front of him……they know the price of the session and if they have worked in the club for some time then they will know the average prize board depending on how many people are in. To get a jump from a house prize of £1,000 one week to £5,000 the next means that the hall needs to have 5 times as many people in it to justify that leap in cash! Unless of course the tickets cost 5 times as much!!!
I remember a session in
Bognor Regis a few years back when I noticed that the prize money on the board seemed to be less than half of what it normally was for a similar session the week before. I stopped the game and actually phoned the booksales team to check it. When they confirmed to me that it was correct I carried on calling for the lesser prizes. The customers were incensed and some stayed afterwards to vent there anger. It was only when the figures were checked again by the manager the next day that an error was spotted and we had actually taken too much money off the prize board! After sending letters to every player that session apologising for the mistake and awarding the actual amount to the winning players it was too late….the masses had voted with there feet and decided to play somewhere else. Even though it was bad for the club, I had felt good because as a caller my experience had proved that something was up with the prizes. And that should have been the same here with this story.
I have a funny feeling that you had either a new, inexperienced or demoralised caller up on the stage on the session in question. They couldn’t be bothered with even saying what the prizes were and were probably just thinking ‘this is the last game before I finish and get off down the pub to try to pull that new staff member working in the diner!’
I hate to say this but bingo calling is becoming a dying art. As more clubs cut back on staff and more new technology comes in, the caller is fast becoming someone who ‘just calls the numbers’. In my day (I can’t believe I just said that!) the caller was one of the most important aspects of the bingo. They ensured a smooth, fun and enjoyable night for all, whilst maintaining a professional and above board gaming session. I wonder how many callers in the clubs today actually know the rules and regulations of the bingo that they are residing over? Also in defence of the callers; how many of them have to now also multi-task and take on responsibility’s elsewhere because there company is maximising there workforce potential whilst sacrificing the expertise of specialist personnel?
In any case my feelings are that the bingo club in question are obligated to award the full amount to the player, no matter what the normal prize money is for that session, and no matter whether the player was aware of the true value of the game that they were playing. The evidence suggests that there are too many variables to confirm that the prize money was the lesser amount.