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  Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a crackdown on deceptive promotional mailers   Deceptive colorful ads that seemed so easy  

Story by HENRY HOUSTON | - Story Source
Published on Thursday April 8, 2021 - 4:58 AM

Appearing like a Lottery scratch-off ticket, a mailer shows up in your mailbox, saying you could win thousands of dollars in cash or a new TV. Scratch away, and it shows you're a winner — you just have to pick up your prize at a local dealership.

On April 7, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a crackdown on four car dealerships that have engaged in these deceptive promotional mailers. After investigating four Oregon dealerships, including Brad's Cottage Grove Chevrolet and Sheppard Motors in Eugene, the Oregon Department of Justice announced the dealerships must collectively pay $493,774 in costs to the state and $148,517 in restitution to more than 1,700 affected consumers.

Eugene Weekly investigated Brad's dealership in a July 9, 2020, cover story after obtaining evidence and employee testimonies from DOJ, as well as Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries complaints regarding retaliatory firings.

"Consumers were mailed colorful and fun advertisements that seemed so easy. Scratch off the ticket or pull back the tab to see if you won! Many of the "prizes' indicated that you had won hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars," said Rosenblum in a press release statement. "But, when the consumers went to redeem the prize in the dealership they quickly learned it was all a ploy to get them in the door. No real money was on the line."

In July 2018, the Oregon DOJ began its investigation of Brad's Cottage Grove Chevrolet after a consumer filed a complaint regarding a June "Play Super Jackpot" mailer, according to a press release from the agency. The mailer was a scratch-off that indicated a consumer had won $3,500 cash, but after traveling to the dealership, the person learned they only won $5.

According to a 2018 letter to the Oregon DOJ obtained by EW, a consumer recalls receiving one of the prize promotions ...