Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma, 18 Other States Sue Publishers Clearing House

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma, 18 Other States Sue Publishers Clearing House

Article excerpt

Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed a lawsuit against Publishers Clearing House Monday, alleging that the sweepstakes company's promotional activities are deceptive, misleading, have targeted vulnerable consumers and violated Oklahoma law.

Oklahoma was among 19 states scheduled to file lawsuits against the giant sweepstakes company Monday, joining nine other states that previously had filed suits. Settlement negotiations between the states and PCH broke down last week, prompting Monday's filings.

Arizona, Texas, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Washington and Wisconsin had already sued the company.

"We've alleged that, in an effort to sell more magazines, Publishers Clearing House has repeatedly exaggerated promises to consumers," Edmondson said. "Their direct mail pieces make people believe that they have won or are about to win huge sums of money, when in fact they almost never do. They have succeeded in convincing consumers that, for the price of a magazine subscription, the Prize Patrol is going to appear with a solution to all of their financial worries."

Oklahoma's lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma County District Court, also said that PCH has made numerous misrepresentations to consumers, including that the consumers had won or were likely to win a substantial sweepstakes prize.

The suit also said that the company exaggerated amount of the prize to be awarded to winning consumers.

The lawsuit claims that consumers are advised that "they have already won" or that they are a "guaranteed winner" of a "valuable" prize.

"In reality, if a prize is forthcoming, it is almost always of little value," Edmondson said. "But consumers receive such a blizzard of mail from PCH suggesting that they are about to become wealthy, that they begin to believe it is true."

The suit alleges that PCH wrongly suggests that deadlines exist for consumers to mail sweepstakes entries, thereby creating a false sense of urgency to participate. …

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