Attorney General MacDonald and Department of Revenue Administration Commissioner Beardmore Warn of Deceptive Tobacco Settlement Advertising

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New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald and Revenue Commissioner John T. Beardmore warn of recent deceptive advertisements related to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. These advertisements mislead consumers into believing they are eligible to receive tobacco settlement money.

The online advertisements lead consumers to believe that they can claim thousands of dollars per month from the tobacco settlement through a special program. The advertisements, which promise a tax-free portion of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, misleads consumers into believing they are eligible for guaranteed money backed by the government. The advertisements emphasize the receipt of these funds when in reality at the end of the advertisement, consumers are prompted to purchase a subscription in order to learn more about how to receive these funds. Once a subscription is paid for by credit card, it may be difficult to cancel.

In 1998, the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was signed by the four largest U.S. tobacco companies, 46 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. The settlement resolved several lawsuits against the tobacco industry for tobacco-related health care costs. The settlement monies were used for various purposes amongst the states including in New Hampshire. There is no provision for payments to individuals.

Consumers with additional questions or concerns about this or other consumer protection issues, can call the Attorney General’s consumer hotline at 888-468-4454 or by filing a written complaint.  That complaint form is found at: http://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm.

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