Are businesses responsible for errors in fine print on contest flyers?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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Are businesses responsible for errors in fine print on contest flyers?

I received one of those “If your number matches you could win” sort of flyers from a car dealership. I usually just dispose of this type of mail, however, I was bored and started reading the flyer along with the fine print. There is an error in the fine print which says chances of winning a new car are 23,999:24,000. I am just curious to know if the car dealership is liable for actually giving away vehicles with those odds?

Asked on August 24, 2011 Georgia


J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Good morning,

Thanks for posting to our website and I hope to offer some guidance. To get right to it  the dealership is holding the promotion. It is not a contract and the reality is there is no one running the numbers to ensure the odds are exactly as stated in the fine print.

Although it could be a typo this is a situation where legally it is a non issue. The reality is there is no way to prove or disprove with complete certainty the truth behind the odds being followed. In addition there are no damages because even if they had to have those odds who is to say who would have gotten the free car, it may not be the plaintiff so the damages are non existent.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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