The dealings behind an aborted luxury home draw that devastated the newly-wed ‘winner’ can be exposed today by MailOnline.
Schoolteacher Loretta thought her life had been transformed after being told she had won the prize draw for a £2million mansion – only to be handed a cash prize of just £5,000 by organisers Win My Home.
Elliot Andrew, the owner of the spectacular home on a prestige Nottingham estate, told MailOnline categorically that he was not the organiser and was approached by Win My Home who wished to raffle his mansion.
However our investigation has revealed that when Win My Home was inaugurated in February of this year it registered Mr Andrew’s mansion as its primary trading address.
Loretta, 35, (left) was announced as the winner of a £2million mansion for a Win My Home competition, but said she instead received £5,000. Pictured: Loretta being told she had won the prize
The property’s owner Elliot Andrew (pictured) put the luxury Nottingham home (pictured) up for auction
Mr Andrew is still to respond to MailOnline’s request for an explanation as to how his home was registered as the trading address for a company he claimed to have no link to.
The crushing blow to Loretta and her family was delivered courtesy of the small print in the terms and conditions of the draw, which she did not notice.
The competition website says ‘if £2.5million of net sales are not reached then the winner will receive 50 percent of the net proceeds’.
At just £10 per ticket that means Win My Home would have needed to sell an eye watering quarter of a million tickets in a limited period of time to ever have to hand over the house.
Although apparently trying to raise £2.5million in sales, land registry records show the house was last bought in 2019 for £1million, half the value trumpeted by Win My Home.
When first approached, Elliot Andrew, who works in recruitment, was unambiguous about his role in the house sale.
He said: ‘I am disappointed that I am being portrayed as the organiser, and that it was my personal endeavour, and that I have ripped people off.
‘If sales targets for the competition had been reached my house would have been sold for a minimum of £2million with legal fees and stamp duty but they were not and the winner, through no fault of mine, did not get the house but a much smaller cash prize.’
Win My Home was registered by 29-year-old Ukrainian woman Yevheniia Levytska. It is not clear how, if at all, she is connected to Mr Andrew, other than using his address as the company’s base.
The prize draw, which ran between March and August, offered the chance to win a six-bedroom four-storey villa (pictured)
Loretta and her husband were desperate to move away from their council home, which she said has ‘horrible’ mould
Loretta, 35, who declined to give her surname, spoke of her devastation.
She said: ‘It was heartbreaking because my property at the moment is a death-trap, that’s why I entered the draw.’
She rejected the company’s claim that the £5,000 prize was a ‘goodwill gesture’.
Mr Andrew, 36, sat in the large walled garden of his home as he told our reporter how he now rented out his property for at least two weeks of each month for a minimum of £1,500 a night to film companies, musicians and holidaymakers.
It has appeared in Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me, and recently was the backdrop for an up and coming Nottinghamshire rapper’s video.
While his house is rented and hired out, he stays with friends and in hotels, or goes travelling, stating: ‘I don’t want it as my main home as it is too big a space for me!’
He has renovated every room of the house since buying it in 2019, doing the work himself, and says he had expected to hand the keys over to the lucky winner last month.
The 200-year-old Grade II listed property in Park Terrace, which even comes with its own cave, was one of the first homes to be built in the exclusive development.
Mr Andrew told how he was approached by the competition organisers, which offer a number of packages ranging from 15 entries for £10 to 1000 entries for £350, after seeing it on rental websites including Airbnb and his personal Instagram.
He explained: ‘I run the house as a holiday let and to TV and film companies. It had been on the market last summer and I had a sale for £2.2million but it fell through.
‘When Win My Home made contact, I offered it as a raffle prize with the organisers intending to buy the property if they reached their target.
‘It was their fault they did not reach it, not mine.
‘I had seen their ads for the competition all over social media and flagged with companies and they had spent many thousands of pounds, and I do not doubt they had made a good attempt to reach their target.
‘I would not have engaged in the process if there had been any risk on my side, everything checked out and I had taken legal advice.’
Of the home’s would-be winner, Mr Andrew said he had hoped the prize would be achieved because the house, far too big for himself, would be sold to a family needing it.
He explained that when the organiser’s target was not reached, he felt ‘some sympathy’ for Loretta, whom he had never met, but had tried ‘to reach out to her’.
He told MailOnline: ‘There was no obligation but I tried to get involved personally. I had heard that Loretta was starting up a new catering business and I proposed through the organisers that we could work together, moving forwards, with her using my house for private dining and corporate events but she never got in touch.’
Loretta said she was devastated to be told afterwards that she would not be getting the house and instead receiving £5,000
Mr Martin declined to say if he felt sorry for Loretta losing out on the dream home prize, saying: ‘I heard she spent £10 on an entry on the final weekend and she got £5,000.
‘If I got that I would be quite happy. I try to put myself in her shoes. What happened is not my fault, and £5,000 is still a lot of money.’
He pointed out the terms and conditions on the competition page had been made crystal clear.
He said: ‘It was not buried, it was front and centre, that a minimum threshold of a sales target had to be met for a prize of a house to be offered.
‘There was no confusing loophole.’
He added: ‘Even more annoying, this was not a money-spinner for me. Online trolls are saying I made enough from the raffle but there was not a penny for me. But I’m not annoyed with the company, they gave it their best shot.’
The businessman said: ‘At the end of the day I didn’t lose anything. At the start it was potentially a bit of a win, win for me because I would get an amount for my property and all the marketing the company was proposing to do.
‘I didn’t sell my place, and it is not up for sale now, but it did attract more responses through marketing and it is continuing to be rented out.’
Newly-wed Loretta was convinced she had won the mansion, saying: ‘Two people came and they said “yes you’ve won” and I was like “Where are my keys?”
‘But they told me I hadn’t won the house but I had won a grand prize of £5,000. I was like “right, thanks” and they said ”unfortunately because we didn’t raise enough money we can’t give you the house”.’
Loretta and her husband were desperate to move away from their council home, which she said has ‘horrible’ mould.
She previously said: ‘All we’re trying to do is get out of this property. I entered it thinking this could be a new start, maybe it might happen.
‘It’s not that I’m not grateful for the £5,000.
‘Even if they said we can’t give you the house but here’s £50,000, it’s something. But £5,000? £5,000 now can’t even get you gas and electrics.’
Responding to Loretta about her concerns by email, Win My Home said the terms of conditions are ‘very explicit’ that the winner would get a percentage of the net profit if enough money was not raised.
‘Unfortunately, after nearly £200,000 in marketing costs and the issue that we discussed about not being able to process Visa payments for a long time, there was no profit and in fact we made a loss,’ it said.
‘The amount that we have awarded actually came from our own personal pockets because, we wanted to award you something as a goodwill gesture and hoped that it would make a positive difference to your lives.
‘The alternative was awarding nothing which we would obviously not have felt great about.’ It added that the financial issues it had faced on the draw had been resolved and said ‘there’s a great chance that the next draw will be a huge success’.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk