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Last Updated
Case Status
Federal Trade Commission, Plaintiff v. Publishers Clearing House, LLC, a limited liability company, Defendant.
FTC Matter/File Number
182 3145
Civil Action Number
Enforcement Type
Federal Injunctions
Federal Court
Eastern District of New York

Case Summary

As a result of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, Publishers Clearing House (PCH) has agreed to a proposed court order will require it to pay $18.5 million to consumers who spent money and wasted their time, and make substantial changes to how it conducts business online.

In a complaint against PCH, the FTC charges that the company uses “dark patterns” to mislead consumers about how to enter the company’s well-known sweepstakes drawings and made them believe that a purchase is necessary to win or would increase their chances of winning, and that their sweepstakes entries are incomplete even when they are not. The FTC also charges that the company has added surprise shipping and handling fees to the costs of products, misrepresented that ordering is “risk free,” used deceptive emails as part of its marketing campaign, and misrepresented its policies on selling users’ personal data to third parties prior to January 2019. Many consumers affected by these practices are older and lower-income.