You Won A 65-inch TV From Charter Cable! Here Is Your 19-inch TV!

The News Courier reports Charter Cable ran an online contest asking kids to submit stories about why their dad was the “World’s Greatest Dad,” and the winner was supposed to get a 65-inch TV…instead, a 19-inch one showed up on his doorstep. Is this any way to treat The World’s Greatest Dad?

UPDATE: Charter has responded to this post and says they’re working with the family to get them a better prize.

UPDATE: Charter Gives Family 2 TVs After Contest Snafu

The winner was the straight talking submission penned by Mike Lewis’ daughter, who said her dad was the greatest because he got up every morning, worked hard, and worked in the yard. When it came time to deliver the goods, there were miscommunications back and forth as Charter Cable marketing employee Jeff Hatcher tried to process Lewis’ W-9 (part of the contest rules were that the winner had to pay sales tax on the prize). Then Hatcher realized the promised TV was too expensive for his marketing budget and sent a 19-inch one instead.

“It’s an insult,” Chris Lewis, the mother, told Enews. “We already have a 40-inch TV, so we really don’t need a 19-inch…they shouldn’t be allowed to promise whatever they like and not follow through.”

Congratulations, Jeff Hatcher of Charter’s marketing offices in Alabama and Georgia, who ran the promotion, you are officially a jerk. Delivering the real TV was too expensive, but man, that free publicity, it sure was free. We don’t know whether you have kids, but we have a feeling you won’t be up for World’s Greatest Dad anytime soon. Maybe Your CEO, neil.smit@chartercom.com, would be interested in hearing about what a great job you’re doing marketing the company.

Cable system fails to deliver promised prize to local winner [The News Courier] (Thanks to Brian!)
(Photo: Getty)

In response to this post, Marty Richmond, Charter Communications Director of Investor Relations and Communications, wrote:

This letter is in response to your July 8 post regarding Charter Communications and its “Charter Presents Father’s Day in HD” contest.

In May, Charter announced an essay contest for kids of all ages to write a brief essay about why their Dad deserved to win a giant HDTV and free Charter services for a year. More than 10,000 essays were submitted and a grand prize winner in Bristol, Tennessee, along with four finalists, was selected.

In addition, due to such an overwhelming response to the contest, we expanded the number of winners to include “honorable mention” finalists. At the discretion of our local offices, these winners could be awarded prizes ranging from free services to an HDTV.

In Charter’s East Division, which includes the state of Alabama, 10 19-inch HDTVs were awarded as honorable mention prizes. In the case of the Lewis family of Limestone County, Alabama, an honorable mention prize was intended to be awarded. The details presented to the family were about a 19-inch HDTV honorable mention prize, not the grand prize 65-inch HDTV. Regrettably, this was not clearly communicated.

Charter has worked with the Lewis family, and we have awarded them prizes that are more aligned with their understanding of the contest.

We ask that you post a clarification and welcome you to contact me directly for any further details.

As information, attached is the original press release announcing the contest, a press release announcing the grand prize winner, and a press release summarizing the results.

Regards,

Marty Richmond

Got it. Glad the Lewis family expectations, set by your employee, Jeff Hatcher, will be accommodated.

Here are the three press releases:

Charter Presents Father’s Day in HD

Tell Charter why your Dad deserves to win a giant HDTV and a free year of
The Charter Bundle™

St. Louis, Missouri, May 27, 2008 – Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) today launched a contest in which kids of all ages can submit a brief essay telling the Company why their Dad deserves to win a giant high definition television (HDTV), along with Charter High Definition® (HD) service and The Charter Bundle™ free for a year.
“What better way to spend Father’s Day than by watching your favorite shows, movies, and sports on a giant HDTV with your Dad,” said Barbara Hedges, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Charter. “And with a free year of The Charter Bundle, he’ll receive Digital Cable® for access to On Demand, Charter High-Speed® Internet for a fast and reliable Internet experience, and Charter Telephone® for unlimited local and long distance calling.”
With Charter High Definition service, Charter customers can choose from over 150 shows and the latest Hollywood hits On Demand. HD customers also experience crystal-clear picture quality up to 6X the resolution of regular TV.
One lucky Dad will win the grand prize of a giant HDTV, plus a year of The Charter Bundle with HD service for free, and four finalists will win a free year of The Charter Bundle with HD service. For additional contest information, visit http://www.charter.com/HDdad.
Over the past year, Charter has invested over a billion dollars in capital to serve its customers and to enhance its service capabilities. Charter is committed to investing in its communities, providing an advanced network on which residential and commercial customers rely for their communications needs, and delivering value to all its customers by offering high-quality products and services backed up by superior customer care.

Tennessee Dad Wins “Charter Presents Father’s Day in HD” Contest

Daughter nominated Dad to win a giant HDTV and a free year of
The Charter Bundle™ with Charter High Definition® service

St. Louis, Missouri, June 12, 2008 – Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) today announced the winners of a contest in which kids of all ages submitted brief essays telling the Company why their Dad deserved to win a giant high definition television (HDTV), along with Charter High Definition® (HD) service and The Charter Bundle™ free for a year.
Abe Manogue, the contest winner and leukemia survivor, was nominated by his daughter who said in her essay: “My Dad worked really hard to get through three years of sickening chemotherapy. Before he was really able to, my Dad acquired a job to better support his family, and voluntarily got off disability. When he comes home at night, tired from his long day, he really enjoys watching TV.”
“We received over 10,000 entries for this contest, which reinforces our customers’ desire for quality high definition,” said Barbara Hedges, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Charter. “HD customers experience picture quality up to 6X the resolution of regular TV. With Charter High Definition service, our customers can choose from the most popular networks and nearly 200 shows and the latest Hollywood hits On Demand.
“And with a new HDTV and a free year of The Charter Bundle, our winning Dad will receive Digital Cable® for access to On Demand, Charter High-Speed® Internet for a fast and reliable Internet experience, and Charter Telephone® for unlimited local and long distance calling,” Ms. Hedges concluded.
Four lucky finalists from St. Louis, Missouri; Boiling Springs, South Carolina; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Fort Worth, Texas each won a free year of The Charter Bundle with HD service. Furthermore, due to such a positive response to the contest, Charter expanded its winners to include “honorable mention” finalists as well. More than a dozen Dads in markets across the country were each recognized with additional prizes ranging from a free HDTV to Charter High Definition service.
For contest information, visit http://www.charter.com/HDdad.

Over the past year, Charter has invested over a billion dollars in capital to serve its customers and to enhance its service capabilities. Charter is committed to investing in its communities, providing an advanced network on which residential and commercial customers rely for their communications needs, and delivering value to all its customers by offering high-quality products and services backed up by superior customer care.

Charter Awards More Than 20 Dads
Prizes in its “Charter Presents Father’s Day in HD” Contest

Due to positive response to the contest, Charter expands the number of winners
and awards over a dozen additional prizes

St. Louis, Missouri, July 9, 2008 – Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) today announced the results of a contest in which kids of all ages submitted brief essays telling the Company why their Dad deserved to win a giant high definition television (HDTV), along with Charter High Definition® (HD) service and The Charter Bundle™ free for a year.
“We received over 10,000 entries for this contest, which demonstrates children’s vast appreciation for their fathers and reinforces our customers’ desire for quality high definition service,” said Barbara Hedges, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Charter. “Due to such a positive response, Charter expanded the contest to include ‘honorable mention’ winners in addition to the grand prize winner and four finalists. We could not have been more pleased by the response to the contest, and we are excited to recognize and reward these deserving Dads.”
Grand Prize Winner
Abe Manogue, the grand prize winner and leukemia survivor, was nominated by his daughter. Mr. Manogue was awarded a 65” HDTV along with Charter High Definition® service and The Charter Bundle™ free for a year. The Manogue family is thrilled to have won this contest, and is looking for the “perfect place” to put their new 65” HDTV.
Four Finalists
Four lucky finalists from St. Louis, Missouri; Boiling Springs, South Carolina; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Fort Worth, Texas each won a free year of The Charter Bundle with HD service.

Honorable Mentions
Due to an overwhelming response, Charter expanded the contest to include honorable mention winners. More than a dozen Dads in markets across the country were each recognized with additional prizes ranging from flat screen HDTVs to free Charter services for a year.
For full contest information, including winning submissions, visit http://www.charter.com/HDdad.
Over the past year, Charter has invested over a billion dollars in capital to serve its customers and to enhance its service capabilities. Charter is committed to investing in its communities, providing an advanced network on which residential and commercial customers rely for their communications needs, and delivering value to all its customers by offering high-quality products and services backed up by superior customer care.

Looks like everything is hunky-dory now. All it took was a little negative publicity.