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Time Inc. Expected to Settle Charges of Deceptive Sweepstakes Marketing

August 24, 2000|EDMUND SANDERS

Magazine publisher Time Inc. is expected to announce a settlement today with regulators in California and about 40 other states over allegations that it used deceptive marketing practices in its sweepstakes programs.

The settlement follows a similar announcement Tuesday by Publishers Clearing House, which agreed to refund $16 million to consumers and abide by tougher disclosure rules.

Time, Publishers Clearing House and other sweepstakes promoters, including Reader's Digest and American Family Enterprises have been the target of multi-state investigations since 1998. Critics say the companies prey on seniors and other consumers, enticing them to buy magazine subscriptions and other products in the hope that they might win multimillion-dollar cash prizes.

Industry officials, called to testify at U.S. Senate hearings last year, denied any wrongdoing.

Officials at Time, a unit of New York-based Time Warner Inc., could not be reached for comment. Representatives for state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer declined to comment Wednesday on the proposed settlement.

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