Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Friday, January 28, 2000

CORNYN WARNS CONSUMERS:
DON'T BE SCAMMED BY 'PRIZE PATROL VAN'

Attorney General alerts consumers to Publishers Clearing House scams as Super Bowl Sunday approaches

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today warned consumers to reject scams offered by Publishers Clearing House (PCH), as the sweepstakes giant gears up for its Super Bowl Sunday media blitz.

"Guaranteeing winners in letters sent in envelopes stamped 'Urgent', and asking for a map to your home so the 'Prize Patrol' can deliver, are just some tools that Publishers Clearing House uses to trick consumers," Attorney General Cornyn said. "Their deceptive business practices are what led Texas and now 30 other states to file suit. The message is being sent loud and clear that scamming innocent consumers will not be tolerated,"Cornyn added.

The Attorney General filed suit against Publishers Clearing House last October for violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Texas' lawsuit against PCH alleges that the sweepstakes giant disproportionately targeted the elderly by leading them to believe that ordering more of the advertised products in PCH mailouts would enhance the customer's chances of winning. In some cases, customers were found to have spent $2,500 or more in a single year.

New York, California, Florida, Ohio and Illinois are among the 31 states that have now filed suit against Publishers Clearing House.

Consumers who feel they have been scammed by Publishers Clearing House or any company, may file a formal complaint with the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division. To file a complaint, consumers may call 1-800-621-0508, or they may send a complaint to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at P.O. Box 12548, Austin, Texas, 78711-2548.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050