Summary of Settlement
USPE has signed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with stringent injunctive terms requiring substantial changes in USPE's business practices and further requiring payment by USPE of approximately $35 million dollars. $30 million of that is dedicated for restitution to customers residing in all states participating in the settlement; the remainder is for the cost of distributing restitution to customers and for attorneys' fees and investigative costs. Texas' share of those attorneys' fees is approximately $31,000.00.
The changes in business practices include:
The AVC further prohibits USPE from:
Any consumer who paid more than $1,870 to USPE in 1997, 1998 or 1999 will be eligible for restitution. The specific amount each consumer receives will be determined on a pro rata basis based on the number of claims received by the Settlement Administrator who will soon be appointed to manage the payment of restitution.
The Settlement Administrator will be sending you a simple notice and verification form advising you that you are eligible for restitution. At that point you will need to fill out the form and return it according to the instructions which will be provided. You are not required to, but you may wish to, file a consumer complaint with this office regarding your participation in USPE's sweepstakes.
If you are eligible for restitution, the Settlement Administrator will be sending you a simple notice and verification form. You should receive that notice in the next six months and checks in 60 to 90 days after that. This office will be working with the Settlement Administrator to assure that all Texans eligible for restitution receive their notices and their money.
Once the Settlement Administrator is appointed, we will post a contact name and address at this web site with additional information.
The focus of this enforcement effort was to bring about changes in this company's business practices. The restitution effort focused on providing relief to high volume customers who suffered the greatest economic losses. You may wish to contact a private attorney who can advise you regarding what options you may wish to pursue.
While sweepstakes may be a legitimate marketing tool, some companies utilizing this type of marketing engage in misleading and deceptive acts or practices. If you receive a solicitation for a sweepstakes that you believe has a tendency or capacity to mislead consumers, you may file a consumer complaint with this office.
You have four options: