Publishers Clearing House to pay after accusations of deceptive marketing

Sweepstakes sanctioned for misleading customers into believing purchases increased odds of winning

September 09, 2010|By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

Sweepstakes company Publishers Clearing House will pay $3.5 million to Maryland, 31 other states and Washington D.C. as part of an additional court agreement resolving allegations of deceptive marketing practices, the Maryland Attorney General's office announced Thursday.

Maryland will receive $40,000 for consumer education as part of the payment.

A supplemental consent judgment was filed in Baltimore Circuit Court Thursday, modifying the terms of a 2001 consent judgment against Publishers Clearing House. At the time, the sweepstakes company was accused of mailing promotional materials to consumers designed to mislead consumers into believing that purchases would increase their odds of winning.

The attorneys general allege that Publishers Clearing House wasn't fully complying with the 2001 order and continued to mislead consumers in the mailings.

In addition to the payment, the new judgment includes additional restrictions on the company's marketing as well as additional conditions to prevent consumers from being deceived.

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