SEATTLE -- One of the never ending contests to win a brand-new "black" truck displayed in malls, fairs, and recreational shows, came to an end yesterday with a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General's Office.
The Attorney General's lawsuit alleges that Evergreen Resorts, a Tukwila company which markets travel and camping clubs and sells lists of potential customers to other marketers, deceived consumers by displaying a truck it never intended to give away.
"Consumers enter contest give-aways, never questioning how that information will be used," said Attorney General Christine Gregoire. "Their prize usually turns out to be a promise of a gift only if they attend a sales presentation."
The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, alleges that Evergreen would call consumers who filled out the entry slips and congratulate them, saying they had "won" if they attended a sales presentation for travel, camping or timeshare services or memberships.
Although Evergreen advertised that a truck would be given away yearly, the AG's investigation revealed that no trucks were given in 1994 and 1995. Jerry Rowe of Bothell, who entered the drawing in 1995, was selected by Evergreen as the winner of a truck in April 1996 after the AG's office contacted Evergreen about its "contest." The truck finally awarded by Evergreen was not the same as the one displayed.
"The Rowe's expected to receive a 1996 four-wheel drive, fully-loaded Chevrolet truck with a sticker price of $19,000," said Gregoire. "What they got was a stripped down basic model priced at approximately $10,400 with no 4-wheel drive, no radio, no carpeting, no clock, no tilt, no aluminum wheels, no extra's."
Gregoire pointed out Evergreen not only deceived the winners, it deceived everyone else who entered this contest. In 1995 alone, more than 6,000 consumers entered the drawing for the truck.
The Attorney General's Office is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Evergreen from operating deceptive contests, civil penalties and attorney fees and costs.