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Car Giveaways: Are They Scams?

» Posted August 13, 2018Resources | Share This Post

Cars are expensive but essential consumer purchases, which is why car shopping can be so fraught with problems and complications. Those who need a vehicle can become vulnerable to scam artists and can face substantial financial loss because of it, which is why it is important to talk with a California car lemon law attorney if you experience problems with a new vehicle and need help understanding your rights.

Scams surrounding vehicles are not just limited to circumstances where people buy cars that turn out not to be what was advertised. In fact, those popular car giveaways at the mall where you can enter to a win a vehicle are actually a scam designed to capture your information by unscrupulous brokers.

Why No One Ever Wins the Car at the Mall

Recently, The Hustle took a close look at vehicle giveaways that are common in malls across America. These giveaways feature vehicles sitting in the center of the mall with a big sign advertising that shoppers can enter to win. Typically, these giveaways are not run by the mall but instead a third party pays an advertising fee (usually around $1,500 per day) to use the space.

When researching who runs the giveaways, the reporter for The Hustle found that Great Destinations, a timeshare rental company based in California, runs many of the giveaways. When the reporter called and asked about the possibility of winning and tried to find out the odds, the person who answered the call at the time share company became hostile.

A second caller from The Hustle was told that she could not enter because she's not yet 28 and was told to have a parent call back. When another writer called pretending to be the parent, he was told he had to attend a 90-minute time share presentation in order to enter to win the vehicle. When he asked if anyone has ever won the vehicle, he was told that no one has won yet but he could be the lucky one.

A close look at the legal disclaimer associated with the car giveaway, however, reveals that any vehicles that were on display were just examples. The vehicle is a loaner from a local car dealer and the vehicle isn't actually available to be won. Instead, people who provide their information to enter these sweepstakes are simply giving up their personal details in order to sign up to win an opportunity to win a chance to possibly win a small amount of taxable money from a scratch off lottery ticket that you receive after attending a time share registration.

The sweepstakes are typically a marketing gimmick designed simply to obtain your information, including your income, details on your vacation habits, and other financial information. This gives telemarketers the chance both to contact you regularly and to sell your information to others – and it voids any do not call list registries so you'll end up being hassled forever.

These scams are easy to avoid by simply not entering sweepstakes. Other scams are much more difficult, and car buyers can also suffer financial loss if they purchase vehicles from legitimate dealers that turn out to be lemons. A California car lemon law attorney can help consumers understand their rights and seek remedies when there are problems with their cars.


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