Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Monday, April 23, 2001


HB 2530 Would Rein in Publishers Clearing House, Others

AUSTIN - State Rep. Robert Junell (D-San Angelo) will bring a bill to the House floor for final debate and vote Tuesday that would prohibit many deceptive practices commonly used by sweepstakes companies such as Publishers Clearing House (PCH) that prey on the elderly and other Texas consumers. The bill is HB 2530 and its Senate sponsor is Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston).

Texas Attorney General John Cornyn's office has cooperated with Rep. Junell in documenting the types of abuses that have occurred. Cornyn has had some experience in such cases and filed a lawsuit against PCH in October 1999 alleging a "web of trickery" and consumer deception on a "massive scale." That case is still pending.

Meanwhile, Junell, whose family was victimized by one of these types of companies, plans to turn up the heat with this bill. If enacted, HB 2530 would prohibit sweepstakes companies doing business in Texas from falsely communicating the nature of the program or repeatedly tying promises of winnings to the continued purchase of goods and services.

"It's time for Texas to step up to the plate and take action to stop companies like Publishers Clearing House from targeting the elderly with false implications of great monetary gain," said Rep. Junell. "I appreciate Attorney General Cornyn's efforts to defend the unsuspecting elderly of Texas against large corporations that prey on them."

Sen. Ellis agreed, saying, "All too often seniors fall prey to the deceptive and high-pressure claims of sweepstakes companies. This legislation will send a message to sweepstakes companies that they had better clean up their act or get out of Texas."

Attorney General Cornyn said, "I am honored that Rep. Junell, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Ellis, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, have taken the torch forward on behalf of those who have fallen victim to companies like Publishers Clearing House. "If the bill passes, we pledge to enforce it to the fullest extent to right some egregious wrongs."

The bill would give the Texas Attorney General's Office the authority to bring such cases and would allow for civil penalties between $5,000 and $50,000 for each violation.

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Contact: Mark Heckmann, Tom Kelley or Jane Dees Shepperd at (512) 463-2050.
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