Spinella Auto Sales / Winter Rat Contest
In early November 2008, Spinella Auto announced a contest “From Winter Rat...to ALL THAT” in the Syracuse New Times. People were told to visit spinellacars.com and explain why their car deserved a $5000.00 make-over. The contest was scheduled to end on 12/22/2008. I entered on-line.
Two days before the contest was supposed to end, I telephoned Spinella Auto. Office manager Michele Jones said that my entry hadn't been received. She gave me her direct email address and told me to resubmit my story to her. I did. I also took the extra precaution of resubmitting via the contest link on spinellacars.com.
On 12/26/2008, I telephoned Spinella Auto to find out the status of the contest. Internet Manager and Sales Associate, Billy Grasso explained that the winner would to be announced in a few days on the radio and on the Spinella website. I checked the website daily; there were no updates.
Using read-receipt on 12/31/2008, I emailed Michele Jones, asking about the contest. The email was read, but she did not respond to my inquiry. Feeling frustrated, I telephoned The Syracuse New-Times to see if they knew anything. A woman named Stephanie telephoned Spinella Auto on my behalf and relayed the following: the contest was going to have two winners, which would be announced the following week in the papers, on the radio and on the Spinella website. I checked spinellacars.com daily; there were still no updates and it was still accepting entries into the contest.
Finally on impulse, I resubmitted my story on 1/6/2009 and sent a copy to Michele Jones. Michele immediately responded to my email. She said a winner had been announced the week prior, though she wasn't sure which newspapers and hadn't heard the announcement personally. I also received an email from Billy Grasso informing me that the contest was over. I replied to both Michele and Billy, explaining that I'd received conflicting information about the contest and felt troubled by the process. Billy quickly responded and implied that I was being a sore-loser. He said that the winner would be “announced all in good time” and suggested that I consider trading in my car. When he learned that I filed a complaint, he offered me a free New York State Inspection, oil change and complete auto-detailing. Presumably, he forgot the state of my car and why I entered the Spinella contest in the first place.
I feel that the contest was a scam. There have been many conflicting stories from Spinella staff members; a winner has yet to be announced and the website is still accepting entries. I feel victimized. I entered the contest in good faith; Spinella didn't. Spinella twisted the very rules they created and by doing that, they preyed on and played with the hopes of lower-income people.