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Statement on Signing the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act

December 12, 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 lookalike" 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.


The White House, December 12, 1999.

NOTE: S. 335, approved December 12, was assigned Public Law No. 106-168. This statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 13.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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