Attorney General McCollum Signs Advertising Agreement With CVS To Modify Practices Over ‘Extra Care Rewards’ Program – Consumer Law

TALLAHASSEE, FL – LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that CVS Pharmacy has agreed to change its business practices in Florida, protecting consumers from potentially misleading advertisements. The agreement calls for the Rhode Island-based company to modify its advertising practices and other aspects of the Extra Care Rewards program so that prices will be clear and conspicuous and advertised rewards will not be confusing. The company cooperated with the state’s investigation and will work to ensure that consumers are not in any way misled when using the rewards program.

“Our citizens, particularly our seniors, need to have confidence that we are protecting their best interests as they shop, and I believe this settlement will be very beneficial in that respect,” said Attorney General McCollum.

“AARP congratulates Attorney General McCollum and CVS on reaching a solution that helps Floridians 50+ attack scams,” said Lori Parham, Florida State Director for AARP. “Older consumers can be the targets of vicious scams. But as Attorney General McCollum is demonstrating, older Floridians also can be valuable allies in the fight against fraud.”

After receiving complaints from Florida consumers, investigators with the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division determined that certain provisions of the company’s Extra Care Rewards Program might be considered confusing and misleading. Consumers complained that they could not access their account balance for accumulated savings and that advertised prices were not always available at checkout. Complaints also included allegations that points or “bucks” were not available until several days after purchases.

As part of the agreement, CVS agreed to clearly and conspicuously alert potential customers of the conditions and limitations of any offer, including, but not limited to, membership requirements, program terms, mail-in rebates, instant rebates, specific items to be purchased, or quantity of items to be purchased. In addition to modifying its practices, the company will make a $30,000 contribution to the Seniors vs. Crime program, a program created to give senior citizens a venue to report fraud or potential scams to an organization of their peers.

Since the program’s inception, Senior Sleuths around the state have handled several thousand complaints, resolving the vast majority of them to elder citizens’ satisfaction. In six years of operation, Senior Sleuths have recovered more than $5.3 million for seniors and have been directly responsible for well over 100 criminal charges being brought against companies and individuals.

According to the company’s website for investors, CVS has 6,233 stores as of July 28, 2007. Of those stores, 669 are in Florida, the highest number for any of the 44 states with CVS stores. The agreement will cover all of the company’s Florida stores.

A copy of the agreement with CVS is available online at:$file/CVSAVC.pdf

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