Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson hit Doug’s Lynnwood Mazda with a $100,000 civil penalty after our investigation into the dealership’s questionable promotion.
Ferguson calls it a major case. “This is a lot for a car dealership advertising case. One of the biggest we’ve had in recent memory, if not the biggest,” Ferguson said.
This investigation would have never happened without Iesha Nzelu from Everett.
Iesha called Jesse after she received a mailer with a game called King of Cards.
She matched three cars in a row and thought she had won $5,000.
But, Iesha didn’t win a thing.
“It should have been worded a different way to where people like me wouldn’t have gotten up and wasted my gas and gone over there thinking I won the money”, Iesha said.
To get the cash, Iesha had to match a confirmation code at the dealership. However, that information was on the back of the card in small print.
Ferguson says that’s not up to legal standard.
“If they have a disclosure there in the same font saying ‘going into our office,’ that’s okay. But it’s on the other side at the bottom in small font. Who’s going to see that?”, Ferguson said.
Andy Bryant, the dealership’s general manager at the time, said 100,000 game cards were sent.
Jesse asked him how many of them had three matching cards in a row.
“I don’t know. That I don’t know. Probably most of them because the idea is to create traffic into the dealership,” Bryant replied.
After Jesse’s report, investigators obtained Iesha’s documents, which led to this action.
Attorney General Ferguson was thankful for her help.
Iesha is more than happy that she did her part in righting what she felt was a wrong.
“I mean, I got to expose them and I’m cool with that.”
Management for Doug’s Lynnwood Mazda did not respond to a request for an on-camera interview. Multiple sources inside and outside of the dealership tell Jesse the promotion was run by a third party.
Ferguson says the dealership was cooperative. The Attorney General suspended $50,000 of the penalty for one year, as long as no other violations occur.