Troubleshooter: Is house raffle legit?

February 8, 2010 3:37:08 PM PST
Last July, ABC11 Eyewitness News brought you the story of a Person County woman who was raffling off her 3,900 square foot home. The 5 bedroom custom built house overlooks a pond on 11 acres.

Click here to watch and read that story

Mary Peterson said for just $20, anyone could have a shot at owning the home and thousands bought a ticket in hopes of winning.

"It's a better chance to win this than the lottery," said Peterson.

The raffle was supposed to end December 31, but now that deadline has been extended, and ticket holders are asking us what's going on.

Peterson says she's heard from ticket holders.

"Some of them were happy because they wanted to get more tickets," she said.

But one e-mailed us wondering if this was a genuine attempt to sell a house or just a way to con $20 out of softies. Peterson says her raffle is no con.

"I have everyone's documentation plus their ticket stubs and it's all locked in a safety deposit box in SunTrust," she said.

Peterson says she's sold 3,100 tickets so far.

"I only had one person who demanded their money back," she said.

Peterson said she has refunded that one ticket holder their money. As for the rest, she said not a dime of their money is spent. It's in a specific account for the raffle. In order to pay off the house mortgage, taxes, and closing costs, she needs to sell 20,000 tickets. Any profit would go to charity.

"I'm not getting a penny I'm just getting out from under my mortgage," she said.

So what happens if she doesn't sell 20,000 tickets by June 30?

"We might do one more extension. After that, we'll just do a refund and I'll put the house back on the market," said Peterson.

Peterson would refund 95 percent of the ticket price - keeping $1 per ticket for postage and handling.

More about the raffle can be found at: www.northcarolinahouselandraffle.com

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