Publishers Clearing House — deceptive marketing practices!
In 1994 Publishers Clearing House sent mailings telling recipients they were all "finalists", which led to a lawsuit involving the attorneys general of 14 US states. Later that year, Publishers Clearing House denied wrongdoing, but agreed to pay a settlement of $490, 000 and to change their practices. Under the agreement, Publishers Clearing House said it would define terms like "finalist" and disclose the chances of winning.
In 1997, a contestant of competitor American Family Publishers flew to Tampa, Florida thinking he had won, though he had not. The resulting publicity caused more lawsuits for both companies. Publishers Clearing House reached a $30 million national settlement in 1999. In 2000, another $18 million settlement was reached with 24 states, after the company sent mass mailings that said "You are a winner!" and used mock personalized checks. Publishers Clearing House agreed to avoid similar mailings in the future, and add a "sweepstakes fact box" to mailings.
State attorneys spoke out against the national settlement from 2000 and additional lawsuits were filed by individual states. Another $34 million settlement was reached in 2001 in a lawsuit involving 25 states. As part of the settlement, Publishers Clearing House was required to avoid terms like "Guaranteed Winner, " add disclaimers to mailings saying that the recipient has not won and that purchasing merchandise won't increase their chances. Publishers Clearing House reached settlements with all fifty states and agreed to work with a "compliance counsel." Publishers Clearing House apologized in the settlement and said it would contact customers who had spent more than $1, 000 on merchandise the prior year".
Publishers Clearing House also reached an agreement with Iowa in 2007. In 2010 the company paid $3.5 million to the Attorneys General of 32 states and the District of Columbia to settle possible contempt charges that it had violated the terms of the 2001 agreement. The company denied wrongdoing, but agreed to work with both an ombudsperson and a compliance counsel who would review its mailings quarterly.
In April 2014, an investigation by the Senate Special Committee on Aging concluded that Publishers Clearing House had "pushed the limits" of prior agreements and that additional legislation may be needed.
Lawsuits total to date: $85, 990, 000
More Publishers Clearing House Complaints & Reviews
- Publishers Clearing House - received a package I never ordered!
- PCH Lotto - scam
- PCH Lotto Scratch Off - matched and did not win!
- Publishers Clearing House - having to search for a product to buy before I can enter
- Publishers Clearing House - merchandise not ordered & a return
- Publishers Clearing House - scam?
- Publishers Clearing House / PCH.com - Too much candy being delivered
- Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes - drowning me in their daily malings
- Publishers Clearing House / PCH.com - a fake federal program from pch
- Publishers Clearing House - did not order item