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Attorney General Announces Second Settlement With Publishers Clearing House

CONTACT: Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5507

September 9, 2010

Nine years after entering into a court order to settle claims of consumer fraud, Publishers Clearing House (PCH) has once again had to enter into a legal settlement with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, 31 other states and the District of Columbia. This latest development follows allegations that PCH’s mailings in recent years violated the earlier order and deceptively implied that consumers had a better chance of winning a big-money sweepstakes if they bought merchandise from PCH—in effect, that you had to “pay to play.” “This company just doesn’t get it,” said Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell, “so as often as we need to take legal action to protect our citizens, we’ll do so.”

Under the new Supplemental Consent Judgment, PCH, which is based in Port Washington, New York, will need to further restrict certain kinds of through-the-mail promotions, as well as to screen more of its customers than before to make sure they are not disoriented, are not making excessive purchases in relation to their finances, and are not under a misimpression that buying helps you win a drawing.

In addition, PCH will pay the states $3.5 million, of which $300,000 will go to the State of Vermont.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.