Unregistered New Jersey-based organization misled Oregon consumers about "free" vacation offers as well as the charity's religious purpose
Attorney General John Kroger today announced a settlement that requires a New Jersey-based charity to change its misleading solicitation practices and pay Oregon $65,000.
"It is unacceptable for charities to deceive Oregon consumers," Attorney General Kroger said.
Kars4Kids solicited vehicle donations through mass advertising in flyers and by sending postcards to Oregon residents. A total of 1,433 Oregon residents donated their cars to Kars4Kids in 2006 and 2007.
The Oregon Department of Justice alleged that Kars4Kids misled Oregon donors in several ways. Kars4Kids made an unsubstantiated claim of a being a "top rated" charity. Kars4Kids also failed to disclose that its "free vacation" offer was designed to recruit people to attend timeshare presentations.
This is significant because deposits, cancellation fees and other conditions can end up costing consumers more than a "free vacation" is worth. In addition, receiving goods or services in exchange for a donation can eliminate the tax deductibility of the donation.
Kars4Kids also failed to disclose that the organization did not benefit needy children generally, but instead directed its efforts to a narrow religious purpose.
Under the settlement, Kars4Kids agreed to register as an Oregon charity, stop offering "free vacations" to Oregon donors, change its solicitations to include adequate disclosure of its religious purposes and pay the state $65,000.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org