Regulators have started handing out record fines for participation television programmes that have been taking viewers for fools for too long. Some television producers have been cynically charging viewers for votes that are not counted and for entering competitions they have no hope of winning. The revenue received from premium rate phone lines has become an essential element of many formats. The illusion of participation has been seen as another mechanic to sustain the magic of television. Whether it is entirely fair to the paying participants has apparently often gone unquestioned. If television is to become more transactional, viewers need to be seen as the customer and treated with respect.