Consumer Law

Publishers Clearing House Will Contact Big Purchasers Under New Settlement

Publishers Clearing House has settled a probe into its mailings for $3.5 million and an agreement to hire an ombudsman to review its solicitations.

The company, which did not acknowledge wrongdoing, will boost efforts to make sure consumers are informed that a purchase does not increase their chances of winning, according to stories by the Associated Press, and the blog Boomer Consumer. The company will also send a letter to consumers who spend more than $1,000 on magazine orders in a single year, Boomer Consumer says. The letter will inform these big purchasers that most contest winners did not order magazines.

The agreement settles a probe by 31 states and the District of Columbia. Washington State’s attorney general begins its press release on the settlement this way: “If dreams of instant riches have you buying stacks of magazines in the hope that the Prize Patrol will soon knock on your door, you may be disheartened to know that the only thing you’ve gained over other prize contestants is some reading material.”

The settlement (PDF) modifies a 2000 consent judgment.

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