Publishers Clearing House has agreed to pay an $18.5 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission after accusations of deceptive business practices.
The famed sweepstakes marketing company started by selling magazines and later became famous for offering customers the chance to win large cash prizes. Over time, the organization incorporated more technology.
The complaint accused Publishers Clearing House of using digital technology to mislead entrants into believing that buying more products would increase their chances of winning. It also accuses PCH of failing to disclose high shipping and handling fees, and not making their personal data policies clear.
The Federal Trade Commission, which settled the case, said the deceptive marketing "manipulated older consumers and others."
The case came as part of the FTC's broader crackdown on illegal digital marketing practices. Personal finance company Credit Karma and eye-care provider LCA Vision also recently settled with the FTC as part of these investigations.