NORTHRIDGE, Calif., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued by United States purchasing exchange: During the past couple of years the sweepstakes industry has experienced problems that have been generally related to inappropriate purchasing by some customers. During this time our company sent many educational letters directly to customers as well as including consumer sweepstakes information and special letters in our mailings emphasizing that no purchase is necessary and that customers should buy only what they can use. Last summer, USPE supported S.335, the Congressional effort to establish national standards for sweepstakes. Over the past year, USPE representatives met with various Attorneys General to discuss the sweepstakes issue. We paid attention to what was said at those meetings and incorporated those discussions into the unprecedented changes that we were already making in our company. Over the same period, USPE also met with attorneys who filed a lawsuit two years ago on behalf of a nationwide class of USPE customers. Settlement of the class action litigation and an Agreement with the Attorneys General were reached virtually simultaneously. The class action settlement has received preliminary court approval, and a nationwide consumer class has been certified by the court. This global settlement with the State governments and private parties will provide approximately $50 million from which refunds to USPE customers will be paid. This includes more than $30 million distributed by the states and the District of Columbia, and an additional $20 million to fund court-approved distribution to customers. The Agreement that was reached with the Attorneys General, and the settling of the Class Action lawsuit, has greatly reduced the company's resources and USPE has also recently gone through significant downsizing. However, these settlements allow USPE to continue to serve our satisfied customers with our mailings offering a variety of merchandise products. Background Information United States Purchasing Exchange has been in business for more than 40 years and sells hundreds of merchandise items in its catalogs. Since 1967, the company has also offered many different sweepstakes and premium programs. Over the years, USPE has awarded tens of thousands of sweepstakes prizes to customers throughout the United States. Consistent with all sweepstakes programs, people do not have to order items from USPE catalogs in order to enter the sweepstakes, in fact, many of the entrants do not order merchandise.
SOURCE United States Purchasing Exchange