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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 13, 1999


Today I have signed into law S. 335, which contains the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act. Too often, consumers -- especially the elderly -- either understand sweepstakes mailings to mean that they have won large prizes or else spend their savings on unwanted merchandise and publications in the hope of increasing their chances of winning. Too often, mailing and sweepstakes practices seem designed to mislead.

This legislation will protect Americans against those who use sweepstakes and mailings to deceive and exploit the unwary. It will establish standards for sweepstakes mailings, skill contests, and facsimile checks; restrict "government look-alike" documents; and allow individuals to have their names and addresses removed from sweepstakes mailing lists if they choose. Disclosures will make clear that no purchase is necessary to enter a sweepstakes and that a purchase will not improve a consumer's chances of winning a prize. The legislation also creates strong financial penalties for companies that do not disclose all terms and conditions of a contest. Individuals will be able to request a stop to certain mailings that come to their homes, and companies will face liability if they do not honor these requests. The United States Postal Service will have enhanced authority to investigate and stop deceptive mailings, and companies will face greater penalties for failing to comply with a Postal Service "stop order."

I am proud to sign S. 335 into law today to establish a "right to know" for sweepstakes mailing recipients and protect Americans against misleading mailing and sweepstakes practices.

                                 WILLIAM J. CLINTON
                                 THE WHITE HOUSE, 
                                 December 12, 1999.

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