Media FAQ

Over the years, our employees have spoken to numerous journalists, reporters and bloggers. Here you will find a collection of questions frequently asked by members of the press, and straightforward answers to those questions.

While this Media FAQ will likely answer many of your questions, we know you may have additional questions. If so, we invite you to contact us.

General PCH Questions:

PCH Prize Patrol Questions:

PCH Sweepstakes Questions:

General PCH Questions:

What is Publishers Clearing House? Headquartered in scenic Port Washington, New York, Publishers Clearing House (PCH) is a leading multi-channel database marketer of free play-and-win entertainment. We offer value-based consumer products and magazines matched to customers' unique areas of interest. PCH is nationally known for its famous Prize Patrol, and the presentation of big checks, balloons and champagne to screaming million dollar winners (with TV cameras rolling). The company offers dozens of ways for consumers to explore product offerings, have fun and enter to win prizes. Free credit and 100% satisfaction are guaranteed on all items purchased from PCH -- however, no purchase is ever necessary to enter or win. Publishers Clearing House has been in business for over 50 years and currently employs approximately 400 full-time employees. Over 40% of the company’s profits go to trusts for the benefit of charities.

How is Publishers Clearing House structured? Publishers Clearing House is a privately held business organization. Originally founded by the Mertz family in 1953, the company is currently owned by members of the family and by a number of charitable trusts established by the family. Currently, over 40% of the company’s profits go to trusts for the benefit of charities.

What happened in 1999 and 2000 with the State Attorneys General? In the late 90's, the Attorneys General of a number of states decided to establish new standards for the promotional practices of sweepstakes companies, in addition to what was then required by applicable laws and regulations. Increased prominence of No Purchase Necessary messaging, a new way of stating the odds of winning, and additional items for the Official Rules were among the changes sought. Leading sweepstakes companies, including Publishers Clearing House, Reader's Digest, American Family Publishers and Time, Inc., were approached by the states to discuss promotional practices of sweepstakes marketers at that time. PCH listened to the states' concerns, cooperated with the Attorneys General, and entered into two separate multi-state consent agreements, which embodied these new standards. Other leading companies reached similar agreements. The centerpiece of the PCH agreements required that PCH permanently continue and enhance an innovative consumer outreach and protection program, which had already been in place voluntarily. PCH has fully complied with the terms of the agreements and, as a result, Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes and promotions satisfy the highest standards in the nation.

Who makes up the leadership team at Publishers Clearing House? The leadership team at Publishers Clearing House is a talented and dedicated group of experienced executives, led by Andrew Goldberg, President and CEO. The company has a Board of Directors, made up of highly qualified, independent members and chaired by Robin B. Smith, Chairman of the Board and former President and CEO of Publishers Clearing House.

How has PCH migrated itself to the online world? PCH offers many of the same sweepstakes opportunities and value-packed deals online, as it does through the mail, plus much more! With a network of robust and highly entertaining online properties, PCH attracts a diverse group of individuals who visit our websites to test their skills, have fun, get terrific deals and enter for a chance to win big. From free online games and PCH lotto cards, to instant win and super cash prizes, PCH Online brings contagious fun to winning. Folks from all across the country come together to form this energetic online community where the fun and excitement is all about playing and winning!

How can one distinguish Publishers Clearing House from rip-offs and imitators? The Publishers Clearing House name and company logo appear on all PCH promotions and communications. At PCH, it is NEVER necessary to purchase or pay a fee to enter, win, or claim a prize in our famous sweepstakes. PCH has received reports from consumers indicating they have been contacted by scammers claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House. These scammers illegally use well-recognized, legitimate brand names, in an attempt to have people wire/send money or provide personal financial information to claim a bogus prize. Customers can visit help.pch.com for additional information and tips on how to better protect themselves. Consumers who believe they have been the victim of such a scam contact can call PCH at 1-800-392-4190.

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PCH Prize Patrol Questions:

What is the PCH Prize Patrol? The Prize Patrol is a team of PCH employees headed by Dave Sayer, Executive Director and Todd Sloane, Senior Vice President. The Prize Patrol travels across the country awarding prizes of $10,000 or more to lucky PCH winners. Prize Patrol members are easily recognized by their blue jackets with official Prize Patrol badges on display. They arrive in the famous PCH Prize Patrol van -- champagne, flowers, oversized check, balloons in hand -- and present big cash sweepstakes prizes, in-person, to unsuspecting winners.

How did the PCH Prize Patrol begin? In 1989 we began notifying sweepstakes winners in person rather than by phone. Instead of hiring actors to deliver the prizes, we created the Prize Patrol. The PCH Prize Patrol is made up of real PCH employees, who deliver sweepstakes prizes to doorsteps and surprise lucky winners live. 

What is the history behind the Prize Patrol Van? The PCH Prize Patrol often travels long distances to deliver sweepstakes prizes to our winners. Naturally, a vehicle large enough to accommodate PCH Prize Patrol members, a Big Check, balloons, roses and champagne was needed. A mini-van with a big, yellow Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol sign was the unanimous choice. The van quickly became a brand icon, which is often seen in PCH TV campaigns today.

Was Ed McMahon ever affiliated with Publishers Clearing House? Contrary to popular belief, the late Mr. Ed McMahon was never affiliated with Publishers Clearing House. He formerly worked for a competitor, American Family Publishers, which is no longer in business.

Do you really surprise winners at their door? Yes, the winning moments you see on TV are real. They are filmed at the actual moment we award the prize –- totally unrehearsed and completely un-staged. We don’t notify winners who will be visited by our Prize Patrol in advance; we simply knock on their door with the video cameras rolling. If the winner is not home, we go to great lengths to find them -– at work, at play, on vacation -– and rarely have to make a return visit. The famous "Publishers Clearing House Winning Moment" is reality TV at its finest, and our winners are the stars.

How did Dave Sayer and Todd Sloane get their jobs on the PCH Prize Patrol? Easy — Dave and Todd invented the Prize Patrol. We wanted our audience to see that real people really win! So, instead of filming prize winners in 'scripted' TV commercials after they have won, the PCH Prize Patrol surprises unsuspecting winners with TV cameras rolling, capturing their real winning moments live. Dave is currently the Executive Director of the PCH Prize Patrol and Todd Sloane is Senior Vice President at Publishers Clearing House.

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PCH Sweepstakes Questions:

How does PCH adhere to U.S. sweepstakes laws? As the most trusted name in sweepstakes and a well-respected leader in the direct marketing community, PCH takes compliance with the law very seriously. All promotions are reviewed by internal and external legal counsel prior to distribution to the public. In addition, PCH engages a Special Compliance Counsel to ensure adherence with special sweepstakes regulations and state consent decrees regarding sweepstakes communications.

Does PCH really award all that prize money? All prizes are guaranteed to be awarded as stated in our Official Rules. Since 1967, when the PCH sweepstakes began, we have awarded over $223 Million Dollars in prize awards to winners all over the country.

Does buying help you win? There is no purchase or fee necessary to enter and win the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. All entries have an equal chance of winning and buying won't help you win. This information is prominently displayed in our Official Rules and in a separate Sweeps Facts disclosure included in every PCH sweepstakes promotion.

Where does the money come from to pay for all the prizes? Publishers Clearing House is a multi-channel marketer and all prizes are funded by company revenues derived from the sale of merchandise and magazine offers and partner advertising on our online properties. Funding the sweepstakes is an expense of running the business, just like advertising or promotion costs are considered an expense.

How much money and how many prizes do you give away each year? Reporters and consumers alike are often surprised that PCH awards a multitude of big cash prizes annually. “I thought there was just one million or ten million dollar prize a year,” some folks tell the PCH Prize Patrol deputies. That’s not the case. While the number of prizes may vary by year, at Publishers Clearing House there are many ways to win and many prizes awarded. In our daily drawings we have prize winners every day with prizes ranging from $1.00 Amazon gift cards up to $2,500.00 cash. Twice a year, hundreds of prizes of $1,000.00 are awarded to lucky entrants in each of 210 TV-Viewing Areas across the country. Major prizes of at least $10,000.00 are awarded nearly every month. PCH SuperPrizes ranging from $1 million to $10 million are awarded at least once a year. In total, Publishers Clearing House awards anywhere from nearly $3 million to just over $13 million in prizes annually.

Are Publishers Clearing House winners real? All prizes are guaranteed to be awarded as stated in the Official Rules. Since 1967, when the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes started, over $223 million in prizes has been awarded.

What are the odds of winning? The odds of winning depend on the prize offered and how many entries we receive. The odds of winning PCH online gift card giveaways from $5.00 to $50.00 are estimated to be 1 in 223. Some giveaways, such as our "first name" or "initials" contests have odds of winning estimated at 1 in 80,000. PCH SuperPrizes tend to have odds of winning in the hundreds of millions. The estimated odds of winning are listed for each giveaway promoted in the Sweepstakes Facts included with every sweepstakes communication.

How does one enter the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes? You may enter by mail or online. To enter by mail, simply respond to one of the PCH Bulletins mailed to you or write to: Publishers Clearing House, 101 Winners Circle, Port Washington, NY 11050. To enter online, go to http://pch.com/.

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