New Agreement Reached with Publishers Clearing House
Las Vegas, NV- Nevada has joined 31 states and the District of Columbia to announce the filing of a stipulated judgment with sweepstakes company Publishers Clearing House of Port Washington, New York. The “Supplemental Consent Judgment” which will be filed in Clark County District Court modifies the terms of a prior judgment filed in 2000.
Earlier settlements with Publishers Clearing House (“PCH”) filed by numerous states in separate state actions in 2000 and 2001 included specific conditions aimed at resolving the states’ allegations that PCH engaged in deceptive marketing practices by mailing promotional materials designed to mislead consumers into believing that purchases would increase their odds of winning.
“It’s important that consumers understand the terms of the sweepstakes mailings,” said Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. “The materials must make it clear that purchasing products will not increase the consumer’s chances of winning.”
The states’ recent investigation raised concerns that PCH was not fully complying with the prior agreement and that consumers could still be confused by the nature and language of some of the company’s subsequent sweepstakes promotional mailings.
The supplemental judgment includes stronger provisions than the prior agreement and also includes additional conditions to help ensure that consumers are not further misled or confused by the company’s sweepstakes promotions. The terms of the new settlement also greatly increase consumer surveys to ensure that consumers understand that purchasing does not increase their chances of winning a sweepstakes prize. In addition, the company agreed to pay $3.5 million to cover the cost of the states’ investigation.
Of the $3.5 million Publishers Clearing House will pay, $40,000 will go to each participating state. However, as one of the eight members of the Executive Committee, led by Oregon, that worked on this case for the past four years, Nevada’s share will be $300,000.
A total of 32 states and the District of Columbia have joined the settlement. They include: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.