They were pumped.
Ray LaForest told me, "We, of course, thought we had won $5,000."
Ray and his wife, Sharon, were already planning ways to spend their winnings after receiving the Money Carlo Match to Win mailer. They removed the tabs and saw they had matched the triple 7s. The notice says triple 7s equal a win and $5,000 cash.
Ray says, “We can finish paying off the car and fix it up. It needs some repairs. Go visit our son-in-law. He just had a stroke."
But the couple says when they came here to the Solon Pre-Owned dealership's tent set up in a parking lot off of Platte Avenue, they were told they didn't win because even though they had matched the three sevens, they hadn't matched the winning confirmation code, located in the bottom right hand corner of the box. While they were there, the LaForests were given a vacation package valued at $350.
Ray said, “I feel like I've been betrayed."
I showed them the disclosure notice in fine print at the bottom of the mailer, where it instructs winners to quote, "Compare your confirmation code to the prize board to determine your prize.”
We headed over to the Solon tent to let them know some of our viewers have been confused by their mailers. There, we met another customer who said her game card also had matching sevens.
Michele Aknin told me, “I think it's a little bit deceiving. Actually quite a bit deceiving because, you know, you read through the whole thing and you go, well, maybe there's something to this. Then you come down here and find out 'No, it's just what you thought.'"
Before we could head to the tent to see the winning confirmation codes, a salesman stopped us. He told me there have been actual winners of the $5,000 cash.
The salesman told me, “I did have a gentleman maybe back in May, he won $5,000 over at the dealership. Same promotion, same everything."
I told him the viewers who contacted us had all matched the triple 7s, but none had won the $5,000. They were unhappy.
The salesman said, “A lot of them don't understand. They don't read it correctly. Everything is legally printed right here in the disclosure. Everything is spelled out as clear as day: how the program works, how the prizes work, how the games work. It's pretty basic right here. It says it all right here as clear as day."
The salesman pointed out the disclosure in small print and asked me to contact his general manager to find out more.
So I called Solon's general manager, but he said he couldn't tell me anything specific about past winners. He said yes, people have won, but I would have to check with the third-party company that runs the promotion, DDS Events and Marketing.
A man with DDS talked to me briefly on the phone, and said he would call back, but he never did.
My later calls were never returned.
The Colorado Attorney General's Office told me the dealership is under no obligation to reveal the winners.
Because you don't have to pay to play Money Carlo, the dealership doesn't have to abide by state rules that govern other kinds of contests like raffles.
Bottom line: this is a marketing and promotional tool, designed to drive traffic to the dealership and sell cars. Your odds of winning are stated in the advertising. Like any contest there are lots of players -- and very few winners.