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Refund Process in Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scam Begins This Week; Michigan Attorney General Granholm Urges Consumers to Respond to Notices.

LANSING, Mich. -- Attorney General Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that Michigan citizens victimized by sweepstakes scams will share a $1.1 million payout to be distributed this fall. Granholm said that important letters notifying consumers of their individual settlement amounts will begin arriving via U.S. mail this week. Consumers must respond to the letters in order to receive settlement checks in the fall. The settlement is part of the Attorney General's lawsuit against sweepstakes giant Publishers Clearing House (Publishers). Granholm, along with 25 other Attorneys General, sued the company in 1999 for misleading customers into believing they had won a prize or that making purchases would increase their chances of winning.

Granholm said: "In getting at least some of their hard-earned money back, Michigan consumers are the big winners after all. To make the deal even sweeter, Publishers has pledged that deception and disingenuousness will no longer be part of its business as usual in our state."

Granholm's office will work with a court-appointed administrator to distribute the settlement funds. Michigan consumers entitled to a payment will receive letters from the Attorney General's office in June. Consumers do not need to apply for the refund, but it is important that consumers promptly reply to the letters to ensure accuracy of address information so that checks can be mailed in a timely fashion. Consumers who do not respond to the settlement letters will be removed from the settlement list. Checks will be mailed in October 2002.

The states filed the lawsuit against Publishers in October 1999; and in June 2001, a $34 million national settlement was reached. Currently, 5,718 Michigan consumers are entitled to a portion of Michigan's settlement.

Because Granholm also recovered $127,648 from Publishers to reimburse the state's litigation expenses, the lawsuit has been argued and won at no cost to taxpayers. The administration expenses of mailing notices and processing checks will also be incurred at no cost to Michigan taxpayers.
 (All Attorney General news releases may be found at www.ag.state.mi.us .)
 Frequently Asked Questions:
 Who is eligible for a partial refund?


Publishers Clearing House has provided Gilardi & Company, the refund administrator, with a list of all customers who spent more than $1,000 in 1997, 1998, 1999, or 2000. The administrator has mailed a notice containing a letter from Attorney General Granholm and a Refund Acceptance Form to each of the persons on this list. The persons identified by the notices are eligible for a partial refund.

How do I request a refund?

Simply sign the Refund Acceptance Form, noting any change in address, and use the business reply envelope provided to mail it to the settlement administrator.

How much money will I receive?

The amount of each refund will depend on how much a customer spent with PCH in the years 1997-2000, and the total volume of refunds requested. Each customer who requests a refund will receive a pro rata share based on the amount they spent out of the total $19,000,000 settlement. Because the amount of requested refunds will likely exceed available monies, only partial refunds can be issued.
 Will I be eligible for a refund if I have already received refunds
 directly from PCH or from the class action settlement?


If you received a notification about the Attorneys General settlement, you can assume you are eligible to request a partial refund. Only Michigan consumers who were determined to be eligible under the Attorneys General settlement were mailed notifications.

Will I have to pay anything to get my refund?

No, claiming your share of the Attorneys General settlement will cost you nothing, not even postage. You merely have to sign and return the Refund Acceptance Form using the business reply envelope with prepaid postage provided to each eligible consumer.

Do I have to return any merchandise to get a refund?

No. You may keep the products you have purchased from PCH.

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Contact: Genna Beaudoin Gent of Michigan Attorney General's office, +1-517-373-8060 (office), or +1-800-429-3503 (pager)

Website: http://www.ag.state.mi.us/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 13, 2002
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