Customers Irate About Missing $
Posted March 16, 1997
RALEIGH — Throngs of customers showed up before the doors opened at Fred Anderson Toyota Saturday morning, lured by a newspaper ad promising the sale of 1,000 cars for a mere $99 each. Trouble is, the dollar sign was missing from in front of the 1,000, a point general manager Pat Murray tried to explain to irate people all morning long.
Many didn't believe it was a simple error, as he claimed. Some signed a quickly written petition that will be presented to the N.C. Consumer Protection Division Monday morning.
For his part, Murray says the dollar sign was inadvertently left off by the Houston-based advertising agency his company uses, so that the copy that went to newspapers offered 1000 cars at the bargain price. Murray says the dollar sign would have given the correct meaning -- that cars worth$1000 would be sold for $99. And he had but seven vehicles being sold at that price.
Murray discovered the error in Friday morning editions, and during the day tried to adjust broadcasting copy to ensure that the correct message was sent. Still, loads of would-be buyers came to his dealership, some of them driving long distances. When they couldn't find the thousand cars at the rock-bottom price, tempers flared.
The seven people who managed to buy a bargain car are happy.
The crowds who drove back home in the same cars in which they arrived are mad.
And Murray probably still has an Excedrin headache.