Can I take a business to court for hosting a sweepstakes and not sharing how a winner is picked?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I take a business to court for hosting a sweepstakes and not sharing how a winner is picked?

A business is hosting a sweepstakes, and entries can be obtained by purchasing their products, or sending in postcards. In advertisements, they claim the winner will be chosen in an automated drawing and notified they have won. However, the official rules and fine print state that the potential

winner will be chosen before the actual drawing is completed, and only if they do not claim the prize will a winner from the drawing be selected. This seems extremely deceitful and unlawful and I want to know if there is legal action I can take.

Asked on May 14, 2018 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can only sue a person for a loss which you can prove you in fact suffered due to their wrongful act caused *you*. What loss have you provably suffered due to the lack of information? Not the loss of the prize, since you can't prove you would have won it. If you were to take legal action, you might get the cost of your product purchase back (if you also return the product in good shape--you can't keep their product, which presumably has its own value, without paying for it) or the postage on the postcards you sent in--that's all. It is not worth taking legal action in a case like this, without provable losses.

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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