Florida Sues American Family Publishers

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The state of Florida has charged American Family Publishers (AFP), Tampa, and its celebrity spokesmen -- Dick Clark and Ed McMahon -- with using deceptive tactics to sell magazine subscriptions through its multimillion-dollar nationwide sweepstakes. Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth filed a civil complaint Feb. 2 in state court in Tampa, where the company processes sweepstakes entries. The complaint alleges deceptive tactics used by AFC include falsely suggesting a recipient must buy one or more subscriptions to win a prize or requiring those who did not order magazines to mail their entries in their own envelopes to an address in Georgia -- while those who did order were given a preaddressed envelope to mail to Tampa. "Not only is the process for nonpurchases more cumbersome, it creates the impression that such entries will receive different and possibly lesser consideration or prizes," Butterworth said. The complaint seeks up to $15, 000 per violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. AFP had no immediate comment.

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