Attorney General Curtis Hill Joins Bipartisan Coalition Raising Concerns About Illegal Online Alcohol Sales

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Attorney General Curtis Hill today joined a bipartisan coalition of 46 state and territory attorneys general in calling on Facebook, Craigslist and eBay to take proactive measures against alcohol sales on their platforms that frequently violate state laws.

“We have rules and regulations for many reasons,” Attorney General Hill said. “When making purchases like these online, you never fully know what you’re getting. It could be extremely dangerous and detrimental to consume alcohol that might not be tested and regulated by the appropriate agencies.”

In a letter, the attorneys general note that the 21st Amendment invests the right to regulate the sale of alcohol to each state and points out concerns that unlicensed, unregulated, and untaxed alcohol sales are taking place on digital platforms. The consumer may not know that this method of alcohol sales is illegitimate or that these black-market products could pose health risks.

“We believe that everyone has an ethical and moral responsibility to protect consumers, especially those who are most vulnerable to fraud,” write the attorneys general. “Self-regulation and self-policing to prevent illegal and unfair trade practices and ensure consumer safety are minimum responsibilities for your respective companies. You have the technical prowess and power to accomplish basic protections against illegal sales.”

The letter asks Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay to take the following specific actions:

  • Review the current content posted to the companies’ websites and remove illegal postings for the sales and/or transfer of alcohol products.
  • Develop and deploy programming to block and prevent your platform users from violating state law by posting content for the sale and distribution of alcohol products on their websites.

The attorneys general also invited the companies to join with them to form a working group with stakeholders from government and industry to further explore how to establish practical and effective protocols for preventing illegal alcohol sales.

A copy of each letter is attached: