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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2000
Attorney General Announces Teen Consumer Education Contest


(Note: The "Tuff Customer" page has been removed.)

OLYMPIA - February 17, 2000- Attorney General Christine Gregoire today launched a statewide Internet-based educational initiative to help Washington’s teenagers become smarter consumers.

"Tuff Customer" is a scavenger hunt on the Web that allows teens to uncover answers to consumer-related questions. The questions cover topics of interest to teens, such as mail order music clubs, Internet purchasing, credit cards and buying used vehicles.

"Teens have enormous buying power and are the target of many marketing efforts," said Attorney General Christine Gregoire. "They are just as susceptible to consumer fraud as their parents."

As part of National Consumer Protection Week Feb. 14-18, Attorneys General across the country are making "Tuff Customer" available to schools in their states and asking teachers to educate their students about consumer issues.

"This program will help teens locate useful consumer information in an environment where they are already familiar," said Gregoire. "Throughout 'Tuff Customer,' teens will be presented with tools for recognizing and avoiding potential consumer pitfalls."

Teens taking the "Tuff Customer" quiz will be faced with questions such as: "Describe the return policies of two national chain stores and two locally-owned stores in your area," and "What are your return rights when the car you bought 'as is' breaks down the first week you own it?"

The quiz questions will lead teens to consumer-related Internet sites to find the answers. They will learn how interest accrues when only minimum monthly credit card payments are paid. Negative options, which are popular with music clubs, warranties and service contracts also will be a focal area of "Tuff Customer."

The "Tuff Customer" campaign also includes a contest component through the schools. Students will be asked to write an essay on a consumer topic.

The contest will run until March 31. A panel of judges will select four winners statewide who answered ten quiz questions correctly and completed one of four essay questions. The Grand Prize winner will receive lunch with the Attorney General and a $200.00 cash prize to be shared with his/her school, and three runners up will each share $100.00 cash prizes with their schools.

Educators, parents and teens interested in learning more about the "Tuff Customer" contest should visit the Attorney General’s Website at www.atg.wa.gov.

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