PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ralph K. Durstein, Deputy Attorney General
Consumer Protection Unit
Phone: (302) 577-8510
Date: July 9, 2003
ATTORNEY GENERAL ENTERS INTO AGREEMENT WITH READER’S DIGEST
(Wilmington, DE): Attorney General Jane Brady announces that she has entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. (RDA) over its sweepstakes advertising tactics. Delaware, along with 32 other states and the District of Columbia, contended that advertising of RDA’s sweepstakes contest was deceptive, misleading and in violation of consumer protection statutes. Because of RDA’s advertising practices, consumers were misled as to the chances of winning and the effect of a purchase on those chances according to the states.
Attorney General Brady stated, “Like our enforcement action in the Publishers’ Clearinghouse case, this resolution assures fair and honest representations to consumers about their chances of winning and a clear indication that no purchase is required to enter nor will it increase the chances of winning.”
Under the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC), RDA will be required to:
· Include in its advertising “sweepstakes facts” such as “buying won’t help you win”, “entry is free” and “you have not yet won” as well as a statement of the odds of winning the contest
· Identify “high activity customers” who have spent substantial amounts of money in response to RDA’s solicitations and advertising
· Pay restitution to a special Consumer Protection Fund in the amount of $18,731. These funds will be distributed to approximately 20 Delaware consumers identified by RDA as “high activity customers”. A mechanism for identifying high volume purchasers eligible to apply for restitution and a process for distributing checks to Delaware consumers is addressed in the AVC.
· Pay costs and attorneys fees in the amount of $75,000