"Price Is Right" winner claims new car a wreck

LOS ANGELES Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:40pm EST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The price was all wrong for one contestant on "The Price Is Right," who claims the TV game show and its authorized auto dealership tried to pass off a rehabilitated wreck as a new car she won.

Donna Tillman said she won the 2004 Pontiac GTO Coupe during her June 28, 2004, appearance on the game show. But she was told after she paid the taxes and license fees that the vehicle that appeared on the stage had mechanical problems, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday in Los Angeles.

When the car was delivered about eight weeks later, it was not the model that had been displayed on the show and it had more miles on the odometer than the car she had been promised.

Several months later when Tillman took her prize for a service at a dealership in her hometown of Puyallup, Washington, she learned the car had major damage to its frame that had been repaired and concealed, the lawsuit said.

Tom George, the owner of Pontiac dealership Thorson Motor Center, said Tillman received "a brand new car" and only claimed it had been previously damaged after she wrecked it herself.

"There is no record of it being in a wreck," George said.

A spokesman for Tillman said her minor fender bender led to discovery of the previous damage.

"It had been reconstructed underneath to look like a new vehicle but it was not," said law firm spokesman Geoff Dulebohn. "What is clear is that she did not receive a new car."

A spokeswoman for "The Price Is Right" had no comment.

"The Price is Right," which airs on the CBS television network, ranks as America's longest-running game show and was hosted for 35 years by Bob Barker.

Actor-comedian Drew Carey took over as host of the show, in which contestants win prizes by guessing the cost of consumer goods, after Barker's retirement in June.

Reuters/Nielsen