Publishers Clearing House agrees to avoid misleading customers

September 10, 2010 

The state has won an agreement from Publishers Clearing House to modify its marketing to avoid misleading consumers into thinking they are sweepstakes winners, the Department of Law said Friday.

Alaska was joined by 31 other states and Washington, D.C., in the agreement with Publishers Clearing House, the Law Department said.

The new agreement modifies one reached in 2000, the department said.

It "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 department said.

Publishers Clearing House must increase its use of consumer surveys to ensure that consumers understand that subscribing to magazines offered by Publishers does not improve their chances of winning a sweepstakes prize, the Law Department said.

Publishers Clearing House, based in Port Washington, N.Y., also is paying $3.5 million for the cost of the states' investigation, with Alaska getting $300,000 of that, the department said.

The other states involved 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.

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