Kentucky Lawyer Sues Car Showroom Over Dubious ‘Lottery Win’ Mailer

Posted on: April 19, 2022, 04:27h. 

Last updated on: April 20, 2022, 12:59h.

A lawyer in Kentucky has had it with car showrooms’ congratulating him on winning staggering sums on the lottery, The News-Enterprise reports.

Car showroom lottery
Promotional material from a car showroom offering a lottery-style game. Often, every leaflet is identical and claims every recipient has “won.” (Image: WRTV)

Adam Mellor is suing his local Kia Store after it sent him an advertisement that appeared to be saying he had won $15,000 or a new car. But Mellor is no easy mark, and he also happens to be an expert in consumer law. He suspected all was not as it seemed.

“I’ve seen these before,” he told The News-Enterprise. “I believe the language said I won $15,000. But I also believed there was something behind it when I showed up to say, ‘Hey, I won this,’ I wasn’t going to get $15,000.”

Nevertheless, he couldn’t resist showing up a few days later at the store in Elizabethtown, 20 miles from his home in Flaherty, to claim his prize. And guess what?

Instead of being greeted with popping champagne corks, tickertape, and a giant novelty check, staff presented him with a $1 scratch-off ticket.

Now, Mellor is suing the Kia Store and its owner, Montgomery Imports, for $75,000 in damages, claiming the promotion was illegal.

’Fess Up in Print

But it’s not about the money. Mellow says he will drop the case if the dealership takes out a series of ads in The News-Enterprise and another area newspaper confessing to its allegedly deceptive promotional activities.

So far, the company is standing its ground. According to court filings seen by The News-Enterprise, it argues everything was made clear in small print, and Mellor has already claimed his prize, that $1 scratch-off.

Mellor, who appears to be quite enjoying the whole process, admits he has filed similar lawsuits in the past because consumer law is a personal passion. He also wants state lawmakers to eliminate this kind of promotional material once and for all.   

“I think this a chronic problem within the community,” he said. “The statement I would say to the public is, if you receive one of these mailers that looks like it is wrong, it’s probably illegal, and you may have legal recourse.”

Indiana Crackdown

Neighboring Indiana appears to have adopted a more aggressive stand against car showroom mailers. In 2019, the Indiana AG’s office sued Texas-based Hopkins and Raines (H&R), a company that runs advertising and promotional campaigns for the automotive industry.

That was after H&R mailed promos advertising auto dealership sales events to 2.14 million state residents. Recipients were told that if they had been sent “winning” symbols, they could claim valuable prizes when they attended sales events.

However, according to the AGs office, every leaflet was identical, which meant all recipients were told they were winners. Nobody won a prize when they turned up to the advertised events.

That case is pending. But the same year, a judge in Indiana slapped another Texas company, Prophecy Marketing, with a $140,000 judgment for similar deceptive practices.