September 13, 2010
The agreement, a supplemental consent judgment, was filed in Anchorage Superior Court last Thursday and modifies the terms of an earlier judgment filed in 2000.
Previous settlements with PCH in separate state actions in 2000 and 2001 included stipulations based on allegations that PCH mailed promotional materials designed to mislead consumers into believing they were sweepstakes winners.
The states' recent investigation raised concerns that PCH was not fully complying with the prior agreement and that consumers still could 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 settlement also greatly increase consumer surveys to ensure that consumers understand that purchases do not increase their chances of winning a sweepstakes prize. In addition, PCH has agreed to pay $3.5 million to the states for the cost of the investigation. Alaska will receive $300,000.
"Our Consumer Protection Unit vigilantly monitors deceptive marketing practices that harm Alaskans," said Attorney General Daniel Sullivan. "Alaska played a lead role in this investigation and settlement. We will continue to work to protect Alaska consumers."
Other states participating in the settlement are 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 and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia is also a party.
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