immediate release -- Monday, April 28, 1997.
Champion Auto Stores, Inc.,
Settles False Advertising Complaint
Said it Was Misleading Not to Disclose that Only One 1970 Mustang Prize
Was Offered in Promotions at 167 Stores in 11 States over 18 Months.
Champion Auto Stores, Inc., which has eight stores in Iowa, has settled
a false advertising complaint by four states which alleged that Champion
advertising misrepresented a recent prize contest for a "1970 Ford Mustang
"We alleged that
Champion ads created a false impression that there would be one winner
at each store location and for each promotion," said Iowa Attorney General
Tom Miller. "In reality, there was only one Ford Mustang prize for some
167 Champion Auto stores in eleven states, and the promotions ran for
a year and a half for various grand openings and special sales. That's
misleading. It's unfair to customers and to competitors."
In any future prize
promotion advertisements, Champion agreed to clearly disclose the date
of the prize award, the duration of the contest, the number of states
in which the prize contest is being conducted, and the approximate odds
of winning. Champion also agreed to pay $5,000 each to Iowa, Minnesota,
North Dakota, and Wisconsin to settle the complaint.
The attorneys general
for the four states also said it was misleading for Champion to advertise
a $25,000 cash alternative to the Mustang prize when the money was actually
a $25,000 savings bond with a cash value on issuance of $12,500. Champion
ultimately agreed to offer the contest winner a choice of the car or $25,000
cash rather than the savings bond, and the winner, selected last December,
chose the $25,000.
Champion Auto Stores,
Inc., is based in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Champion stores in Iowa are
located in Carroll, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs (two stores), Des Moines,
Mason City, and Sioux City (two stores.)