Web game with €1.5m French property prize is legal

Lawyers acting for the property's owners tell Connexion the €13-to-enter web-based competition to win a large property in southwest France is above board

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A woman who has put up her €1.5million house as a prize in a €13-to-enter online game is acting legally, lawyers have confirmed to Connexion.

Several readers had questioned the validity of the game following an article on Connexion’s website, saying they could not believe it was a genuine offer.

We checked – a lawyer, huissier and a notaire are overseeing the game.

Maître Philippe Magis, who is named on the game’s website as the notaire who will deal with the paperwork once the winning entrant has been declared, has confirmed to Connexion that he knows the property's owners, Brigitte and Christophe Demassougne.

He said: “I can tell you that the owners and the house do exist and that they came to me with their idea for selling the house and I agreed to do the paperwork when the time comes.”

Huissier Maître Julie Delos, who was also named on the game’s website, said the online competition was legal – but confirmed that many people had called suspecting it was a scam.

A lawyer listed on the site, avocat Anthony Bem, was not available to answer questions when Connexion called.

Once they have logged on to the website and paid the €13 entry fee, contestants have to answer two questions and give the right combined value of three objects they are shown on the website. The winner is the one with the most number of points – 10 for each cultural question and 100 for the price of the objects.

The property, La Guérinière, is 10 kilometres from Sarlat, Dordogne, and is currently run as a chambre d’hôtes and gîte business. It comprises an eight-bed main house, a swimming pool and two smaller houses on 7 hectares of land.

Mrs Demassougne said she got the idea for the online challenge from a £2-a-ticket lottery for a house in the UK that took place in 2017.

She said: “That was a lottery, but that is not legal in France, so we devised this game, which has been authenticated by a huissier and an avocat.

“I wanted to sell my house in a different way which would perhaps give someone who doesn’t have the kind of money to buy this type of property a chance.

“Lots of people think I am mad but it has attracted a great deal of media attention. TF1 are coming tomorrow, and I have been on M6 and BMFTV.

“We are getting contestants at the rate of one a second and are up to 14,000 in seven days. They are applying from all over the world. I have even had calls from the media in Australia.”

There have to be 150,000 entries before the transaction of the property will go ahead: “I know that will generate more than the value of the house, but we have to cover our costs as well.

“We will have to pay €70,000 to the bank, €105,000 to the notaires and on top there are the webmaster and publicity fees.”

Under the rules of the game, some of the money will go to two named charities.

If they are not up to 150,000 contestants by December 1 they plan to extend the game up to May 1, 2020. If only 50,000 people enter, the couple will give a new car as a prize. Mrs Demassougne said that if people pay by bank card there is a procedure for them to claim their money back.

She has been working on the game for a year to get it right: “Ring me on December 1 and I am sure I will have a potential new owner for La Guérinière.”

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