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Collecting grand prize ends up being a less than grand hassle for contest winner

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Tammy Porter has been a Smurfs fan since high school. So she was excited when she learned that it was possible to own your own Smurfs mobile. All she had to do was win the Smurf-tastic Smurfs Vehicle Giveaway by Sony Pictures.

The Smurfs mobile is an all-electric car custom designed by West Coast Customs. Sony had four of them made to promote the release of last year's Smurfs 2 movie. Each car is in different Smurf colors and comes with a special Sony sound system that plays the Smurfs 2 soundtrack.

Porter, of Independence, never thought she'd be lucky enough to win. But she, along with two other people, did. They each won one of the three Smurfs cars being given away. She got the good news via email in January. She thought her car would arrive within a few months, but nine months later she was still left waiting.

Every time she called:
"It was always six more weeks, six more weeks, six more weeks," Porter said.

A quick search of the Internet shows the cars popping up last year at Hollywood parties. They made appearances on YouTube at premieres around the world for the Smurfs movie. Their final appearance was in Italy at a red carpet event.

Porter tried to be patient while waiting for her car to arrive, but in June the news went from bad to worse. West Coast Customs, which was handling the promotion for Sony, told her she wasn't getting the car.

"I got really silent," she said in disbelief.

She asked, "Why?" She said she was told the cars, all four of them, were missing. What happened? Did the ship bringing them back from Italy sink? It's a mystery. Although they are small cars, they are cars and not all that easy to lose.

West Coast Customs said she would be eligible for the cash equivalent prize of $10,000. That was more than a month ago.
Every time she called to find out where her money is, she can't get a definitive answer.

"I really don't want to go through this anymore," Porter said. "Either give me the car or give me the money and I'll go away."

It's a grand prize horror story one the good-natured Smurfs would be shocked to hear. That's why Porter finally called FOX 4 Problem Solvers, and we called Sony Pictures where a person who wanted to remain anonymous told us Sony was equally confused about the fate of the four cars. The person put the blame squarely on West Coast Customs.

FOX 4 called West Coast Customs to hear its side of this Smurf snafu, but never got a call back.

Here's the good news, Sony and West Coast Customs did send Tammy Porter her $10,000 check the week after FOX 4 called. It's not as cool as a Smurfs car, but Porter said it will do.