MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has sued a Texas-based company for deceptive advertising on behalf of Indiana auto dealers, RTV6 Indianapolis reports. Hopkins & Raines Inc. of Texarkana, Texas, is charged with sending prize notification-style mailers to 2.1 million recipients as part of 56 promotional campaigns.
“The state alleged the mailings told recipients they won significant prizes when they had not, and when the ‘winners’ went to dealerships to claim their prizes, the awards were much less valuable than those advertised — a cheap MP3 player, a scratch-off lottery ticket, or a $5 Walmart gift card,” reporter Kara Kenney wrote.
In January, Hill won a $140,000 judgment against Prophecy Marketing, an unrelated Texas-based firm, for violations of the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and the Indiana Promotional Gifts and Contests Act. One of the dealers named in that case, Brad Gray of Gray Auto in Greenfield, Ind., told Kenney he was “shocked” when he saw the Prophecy mailers. Among the prizes were nonexistent smartwatches and 55-inch TVs.
“I won’t use any marketing companies anymore,” Gray told RTV6 in January. “Probably 80% of our business is repeat and referral, and I don’t want my name ruined over something like that.”
Last week, Hill announced an independent Indiana dealer agreed to settle charges of various consumer protection rules for $88,536 in civil penalties and restitution.
Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today