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MADISON - Attorney General Van Hollen joined 32 states and the District of Columbia to announce the filing of a stipulated supplemental judgment with sweepstakes company Publishers Clearing House, of Port Washington, New York. The “Stipulated Supplemental Judgment” was filed in Columbia County Circuit Court today and modifies the terms of a prior judgment filed in 2001.
Earlier settlements with Publishers Clearing House 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,
The states' recent investigation raised concerns that Publishers Clearing House 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 increases 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 dollars to cover the cost of the states' investigation.
In addition to Wisconsin, states participating in the settlement include Oregon, Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado, Vermont, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
A copy of the Stipulated Supplemental Judgment is available at: