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MailTribune.com
  • Charity misled donors, AG says

  • A New Jersey-based charity is being required to change its solicitation practices and pay Oregon $65,000 as part of a settlement agreement with the Oregon Attorney General's Office.
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  • A New Jersey-based charity is being required to change its solicitation practices and pay Oregon $65,000 as part of a settlement agreement with the Oregon Attorney General's Office.
    The unregistered organization, Kars4Kids, misled Oregon consumers about "free" vacation offers as well as the charity's religious purpose, Attorney General John Kroger said in a press release announcing the settlement today.
    "It is unacceptable for charities to deceive Oregon consumers," Kroger said.
    Kars4Kids solicited vehicle donations through mass advertising in fliers 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, Kroger said. 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.
    — Sanne Specht
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