A COUNTY Durham family, who raffled off their home and BMW for £1 a ticket, have hit back following a mix-up with its winners.

Richard and India Taylor faced backlash on social media after a competition for their three-storey Bishop Auckland home and three-year-old BMW 'glitched' during the draw.

The raffle, which attracted 300,000 entrants after being launched in July, appeared to show one set of winners, before another set replaced them during the finale on Friday.

The family, who first told The Northern Echo how they were hoping to fulfil a "dream move" to Australia along with children, Lucas and Eli, said they "completely understood" the frustration of entrants as they refuted claims of wrongdoing.

The Chief Executive of Raffall.com has since apologised and said he had been left 'embarrassed' by the mix-up, which he admitted had been caused by a technical fault.

On social media, screenshots of the Raffall.com draw appeared to show two sets of winners for each prize, the three-storey home and the 2017 BMW, which left many confused as to who the actual winners were.

The Northern Echo: Picture: Northern EchoPicture: Northern Echo

Speaking to The Echo on Monday, Mrs Taylor said the couple had "no control" over the winning names as they explained what had happened. 

She said: "We've been told there were people still going on to get tickets in the final hours of the draw.

"People were going on to the website and were trying to buy more tickets, but as the winners came through, people were still bombarding the site, which was totally understandable.

"But it’s then glitched the site because there is so much traffic on the servers, not being able to cope."

Mrs Taylor said this led to two names being displayed at random by Raffall before the two 'winning names' with matching ticket numbers were chosen. 

She said: "We had no control over what names are shown.

"All we received was confirmation of the two ticket winners, we didn't receive information of the others - it was a glitch in the names. They have been compensated.

"We just want to get the message across that Raffall is totally independent of us, we do not hit the buttons to draw the names - but we do appreciate this was very frustrating for those people."

In response, Stelios Kounou, Raffall Founder and Chief Executive, apologised for the error and said the technical error had been resolved. 

The Northern Echo: Pictures supplied by RICHARD TAYLORPictures supplied by RICHARD TAYLOR

He said: "We are continually upgrading and improving our platform to ensure the above and were extremely upset and embarrassed to have discovered a technical issue that occurred on Friday 4th September 2020 which caused confusion for those involved.

"With several thousand successful competitions being held since the beginning of the year, we are comforted that this is the first time anything like this has happened.

"Our technical team immediately identified and fixed the problem to ensure that the error in question does not happen again.

"In addition, we have provided compensation to the person negatively affected by the error.

"We hope that our action in swiftly dealing with both the technical and the human aspects of this matter serve to reinforce our commitment and credibility.

"It is important to remember that as well as being used for commercial purposes, our platform is also used by many charities and good causes, as well as by people fundraising for them.

"Please rest assured that our principles and standards remain paramount and I personally hope that our users will continue to engage with competitions hosted on Raffall in the future.

"We are proud to have so many exciting plans for the future and we are always looking for ways to improve and are happy to receive new ideas and suggestions from our community."

But hoping to put the technical problems to one side, Mr and Mrs Taylor said they were still planning their dream move to Australia and had thanked everyone who took part for their support.

She said: "We were really excited, it’s (hosting a raffle) is such a full time job. It’s so stressful, lots of sleepless nights, so to be able to put that to bed sooner was good.

“We can't wait to get out there, it's just a matter of time - we're at the solicitor stage of handing over the prizes," Mrs Taylor added.