Can a company host a contest and give no valid way to prove there was a winner?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a company host a contest and give no valid way to prove there was a winner?

Not sure if this is technically business, but there was recently a contest that I entered and, according to the rules, my group should have won. When I contacted the company, they danced around the subject and said they notified the winner privately. My biggest concern is that the contest was a scam and just for advertisement. I believe the company never really picked a winner. Is it legal for a company to provide no valid way to prove there was truly a winner? What can I do about this?

Asked on November 5, 2016 under Business Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is no explicit requirement to provide proof of who won to other contestants, but if the contest was a scam, it is a crime and also something that you could theoretically sue over (if it would be economically worthwhile to do so). A good first step is to contact your state Attorney General's office to report the situation: the AG may investigate and/or may refer matter to a another, more approrpriate agency (like the Michigan Gaming Control Board) to investigate. If the ageny(ies) find there may have been a violation, they may take action; and if find a violation, that would bolster your case, if you were to elect to sue.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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