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For Immediate Release
August 25, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

CONSUMER ALERT: CONTEST ENTRY FORMS AT FAIRS AND FESTIVALS MAY LEAD TO MORE THAN A FREE VACATION

As the first full week of the Maryland State Fair gets underway, Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. took the occasion to announce that consumers should be wary of filling out entry forms for contests at fairs and festivals–especially if they don't like receiving telemarketing calls at home.

"The purpose of contests and drawings is to generate a list of names and numbers for salespeople to call, " Curran said. "If you don't want to receive telemarketing calls, it's best not to enter."

Curran said that consumers who have listed their phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry may think they no longer have to worry about receiving any telemarketing calls. However, the Registry rules allow a company to call a consumer who has made an inquiry or filled out an application, and some businesses may argue that submitting a contest entry form counts as an inquiry.

Curran also said that contest entry forms pose another risk: "We've seen forms that authorized switching the consumer's long-distance phone service, or signed the consumer up for a subscription or membership. Consumers should read the fine print on both sides of any entry form to be sure they are not authorizing something they don't want," he cautioned.

Staff of the Attorney General's Office will be at a booth at the Maryland State Fair at the Timonium Fairgrounds, Aug. 22 - Sept. 1, to hand out consumer brochures, answer questions and offer information about the Office's consumer mediation service.

 

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