Attorney General Hardy Myers today alerted Oregonians to the importance of treating telephone solicitations and sweepstakes offers with caution. In connection with this reminder, the Department of Justice announced a settlement agreement with Special Data Processing Corporation, a Florida-based company that does business as National Magazine Exchange. By signing an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance under Oregon's Unlawful Trade Practices Act, the company admits to no violation of the law.
The company sent out mail pieces directing consumers to call a toll-free number about a sweepstakes. Once the call was made and the consumer was registered in the sweepstakes, a salesperson tried to sell magazine subscriptions and credit card protection.
Investigators found that the company failed to provide adequate information to consumers regarding the goods and services it was trying to sell and, more importantly, the company was not registered as an Oregon telemarketer. The Department of Justice received over one hundred consumer complaints since 1997.
"It is critical that Oregonians exercise great caution in responding to sweepstakes offers, particularly when the offer is associated with a solicitation for goods or services. It is equally critical that those companies offering such goods or services provide adequate and meaningful information upon which consumers may make an educated decision," Myers said.
The terms of the agreement require Special Data Processing Corp. to not operate as a telephonic seller in Oregon unless it registers as a telemarketer. The company also agreed that it would provide certain information to consumers when conducting telephone solicitations. The company also paid $25,000 to the Department of Justice Consumer Protection and Education Revolving Account and will provide refunds to consumers who request one and contact the Department of Justice, the Better Business Bureau, or the company itself.