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W.V. AG joins bipartisan coalition against illegal online alcohol sales

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined a bipartisan coalition of 46 state and territory attorneys general in calling on Facebook, Craigslist and eBay to take proactive measures against unlawful alcohol sales on their platforms that frequently violate state laws.

“If you’re going to sell alcohol online, it should be with the same safeguards and restrictions that come with brick-and-mortar sales,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “That means no backdoor sales to minors, and the products people buy online can’t be counterfeit. These major Internet companies have it within their power to protect consumers, and they need to do so.”

The attorneys general sent each company a letter Tuesday. They note the 21st Amendment vests the right to regulate the sale of alcohol to each state. They also explain their concern that unlicensed, unregulated and untaxed alcohol sales are taking place on digital platforms.

The attorneys general argue some of the products sold online may be counterfeit or tainted, sometimes with harmful health effects. Furthermore, they explain consumers may not know that this method of selling alcohol 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,” the attorneys general write. “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 existing website content and remove illegal postings for the sale and/or transfer of alcohol products.
  • Develop and deploy programming to block and prevent 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 collaborate and form a working group of various stakeholders to explore how to establish practical and effective protocols for preventing illegal alcohol sales.

Read the letter and the full list of participating states and territories at http://bit.ly/32DJhI2.



Tyler Barker

Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can Follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com


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