US Mint seeks to prevent deception

Treasury officials want new authority to fine companies that use the name and emblems of the United States Mint in confusing, misleading and deceptive advertising to sell coins and coin products.

The U.S. Mint is soliciting public comment on the proposed regulation, which the Treasury secretary maintains will help protect consumers and the coin-collecting hobby.

The rule would make it harder for dubious companies to profit from questionable advertisements that falsely suggest the U.S. Mint or the Treasury Department approved, endorsed, sponsored or was in any way associated with the products.

Treasury officials said the rule would not affect the vast majority of individuals and businesses that sell coins or coin products. It would only affect private commercial firms that capitalize on confusion about their relationship with the U.S. Mint, they said.

In November, a Westchester County company was found guilty in an Albany County court of deceptive and misleading advertising in connection with the marketing and sale of a medallion commemorating Sept. 11, 2001.

The company, the National Collector’s Mint Inc. of Port Chester, was permanently prohibited from engaging in all of the fraudulent and deceptive business practices the court said it engaged in during the marketing of its “2004 Freedom Tower Silver Dollar.”

National Collector’s Mint advertised the Freedom Tower Silver Dollars as “legally authorized government issue.” However, the U.S. Mint cautioned, “Congress did not authorize the National Collector’s Mint product, and the United States Government does not endorse it.”

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Cannizzaro said the company’s ads “clearly are deceptive.”

Treasury officials call them the type of ads they would like to stop with the new regulations.

You have until next Friday to send written comments about the proposal to Daniel Shaver, Chief Counsel, Office of Chief Counsel, United States Mint, 801 9th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20220; or visit the agency’s Web site (www.regulations.gov)

(via NY Daily News)

Category - Informative
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