Winning Dream Car Turns into Nightmare: Hello Lifestyle Australia Under Investigation

A giveaway company is under investigation by Queensland’s gambling regulator after a woman who won her dream car in their charity raffle had it repossessed.

Amelia Conway, 22, could hardly believe her luck when she discovered she was the winner of a luxury $100,000 4WD.

The hairdresser from Colac, Victoria, had bought $120 worth of tickets to enter the raffle organised by Hello Lifestyle Australia.

She was flown to Queensland to pick up the modified Widebody Y62 Nissan Patrol in July but her joy was short-lived.

When she attempted to transfer the vehicle into her name and get it registered in Victoria, it turned out the car was still under finance.

On February 1, it was repossessed.

Now, the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation is carrying out an investigation into the company, which is registered to an accountancy business in Brisbane’s Bowen Hills, the Courier Mail reports.

Victoria Police is also investigating the matter.

“Randomly, without me knowing anything, at 8pm last night, a guy showed up to repossess the car,” Ms Conway said after her car was taken.

Her attempts to contact Hello Lifestyle Australia for clarification about transferring the vehicle to her name and paying all on-road costs fell on deaf ears.

“Promotional games” don’t need a license or permit, unlike other raffles or lotteries run by not-for-profit organisations or clubs, which are subject to stringent rules.

Ms Conway’s ordeal has left her out of pocket by about $1000 in on-road costs and without her dream car.

“It’s not fair on myself or anyone else that has won anything through this company. It’s just heartbreaking,” she said.

Hello Lifestyle advertised itself as “proudly supporting” the Christian youth charity Red Frogs via regular giveaways of customised four-wheel drives, Ducati motorcycles, and overseas holidays.

Red Frogs’ chief operational officer, Steve Davies, confirmed that Hello Lifestyle Australia had hoped to donate $150,000 but had fallen far short. “They did pay us a small amount on that [first] raffle but that was all we ever got off them,” he told the ABC.

“They did subsequent raffles, and we never got anything.”

The company that customised the vehicles that were raffled off, but had no involvement in running the raffle, reportedly alleges that Hello Lifestyle Australia owes it tens of thousands of dollars for unpaid work.

Hello Lifestyle Australia has since disappeared online, with its website and all social media channels shut down. The company has not commented on the matter.

Originally published as Investigators target ‘heartbreaking’ car giveaway

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