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For Immediate Release
May 11, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH AUTO DEALERSHIP COMPANY OVER SWEEPSTAKES

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division reached an agreement with S&S Management Services, Inc. (“S&S”), that settles allegations of misrepresentation in a sweepstakes held at a White Marsh, Maryland automotive dealership in 2001.

S& S, located at 4212 Ridge Road, Baltimore, owns and operates automotive dealerships in Maryland. The Consumer Protection Division accused S&S of violating the Consumer Protection Act by failing to provide statements and disclosures required by law, and misrepresenting the conditions for winning prizes in a sweepstakes. The sweepstakes were held April 26 through April 30, 2001 at the company’s Schaefer & Strohminger White Marsh Dodge dealership and were advertised as having prizes of $25,000, $15,000, $5,000, $1,000, $500 and $5. The Consumer Protection Division alleged that consumers received mailings that led them to believe they had won one of the prizes, but the consumers found out after they visited the dealership that there were additional undisclosed requirements they would have to meet to qualify to win. The Division further alleged that there was no record of any of the prizes being awarded.

S&S denied that it intentionally violated the Consumer Protection Act and said that it relied on Autoups.com, Inc., a California marketing company, to conduct the sweepstakes in accordance with the law and to award the prizes. Autoups.com, Inc. has since gone out of business.

The settlement requires S&S to disclose all conditions for winning prizes and to provide all disclosures required by law in future sweepstakes, and to ensure that all prizes offered in sweepstakes are actually awarded. In addition, S&S will pay the Division $5,000 for penalties and costs and will provide $5,100 for the purpose of providing restitution to consumers who participated in the sweepstakes promotion. Consumers who are eligible to receive restitution will be contacted by the Attorney General’s Office.

“ Businesses who conduct sweepstakes must conduct them fairly and with all required disclosures,” said Attorney General Curran.

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