On August 14, 2019, Eric Berman was featured in an AdExchanger Q&A regarding state attorney general offices and their role in regulating, investigating, and enforcing against noncompliant marketing practices. The following is an excerpt:
What triggers a state AG to open a case?
It can start in any number of ways, the most common being consumer complaints. That's true at both the state and federal level.
There's a lot of information sharing going on. The FTC, for example, keeps a huge database of consumer complaints called the Consumer Sentinel, which all state AGs have access to, and roughly half of the states are now sharing their own complaints with the FTC. Sometimes, cases are referred from one law enforcer to another or a state is asked to collaborate with the FTC.
But also remember that regulators are consumers themselves. They listen to the radio, they see TV ads, and get the same emails as anyone – and sometimes they take off their consumer hat, put on their law enforcement hat, and start digging. They have tremendous investigative authority if they have reason to believe something illegal is going on.