AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn announced today the filing of a settlement with the Florida-based Kaplan Group, which conducted business in Texas as "Cash Awards Bureau" and "Disbursement Center," for violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
"I will continue to protect the rights of Texas consumers from shady companies and unscrupulous individuals who peddle lies for a living," said Attorney General Cornyn. "Unethical business practices will not be tolerated in this state."
According to the terms of the settlement, The Kaplan Group is permanently enjoined from its misleading practices in Texas. In addition, The Kaplan Group will offer full reimbursements to consumers registering complaints against the company and will pay $10,000 in court costs and attorneys fees.
The Kaplan Group misleads consumers with deceptive mail solicitations using the names "Cash Awards Bureau" and "Disbursement Center."
Those who received a "Cash Awards Bureau" solicitation were told the company was an official agency charged with locating sweepstakes winners and that the recipient had won a large cash prize. To claim their prize, the "winner" had to fill out and return what was actually a highly deceptive order form for discount coupons and a long distance calling card.
Recipients of a "Disbursement Center" mailing were informed they had won a home entertainment center. In order to receive their prize, "winners" were instructed to send $79.83 for "insured delivery." Most consumers sending payments received nothing, while others received only a 5-inch television with a built-in radio.
Texas consumers who believe they have a legitimate claim against The Kaplan Group should contact the Attorney General's consumer protection hotline at 1-800-621-0508 or access the Attorney General's web site at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/consumer.htm. This settlement was filed in Travis County District Court today and was handled by Assistant Attorney General C. Brad Schuelke of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
- 30 -