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Consumer Law

Sweepstakes Loser Finally Wins

Posted Jul 23, 2007 1:44 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Quebec businessman misled by a Time magazine sweepstakes promotion is entitled to nearly $100,000, a Canadian judge has found.

Justice Carol Cohen said Time’s sweepstakes letter violated Quebec consumer protection laws, the New York Times reports. The solicitation “had the capacity to mislead if viewed through the eyes of the average, inexperienced French-speaking consumer in Quebec,” she said.

Cohen awarded Richard $96,500.

The letter said: “It’s absolutely true: Mr. Jean-Marc Richard is now positively guaranteed to be awarded $833,337.00.” The fine print told Richard he would receive the money “if you have and return the Grand Prize winning entry in time and correctly answer a skill-testing question.”

Richard relied on the English skills of his son and a colleague at work to interpret the letter, the New York Times says. Thinking he had won the jackpot, he sent in his claim but received nothing more than a magazine subscription. Later he learned that no check would be forthcoming and there was no director of sweepstakes named Elizabeth Matthews, the person who purportedly signed the letter.

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