Online marketplace transparency legislation, often referred to as “INFORM,” has been introduced in Washington as HB 1614 and SB 5533. Both bills address online marketplace consumer product theft and safety protections, but they stalled prior to the end of this last session. Specifically, our bills would require online marketplaces to obtain and verify contact, banking, and tax information from high-volume third-party sellers. Data disclosure, use, and security requirements are also addressed.
Last week, the Pennsylvania senate passed its version of INFORM legislation to help rein in online sales related to organized retail thefts. The Pennsylvania bill is on its way to the state’s governor, and Michigan’s INFORM legislation is close to being enacted. Both of these bills owe their success to their respective retailer associations.
As the graphic above depicts, in addition to the legislation passing both houses in Michigan and Pennsylvania, INFORM legislation has been introduced in 10 states, passed one chamber in 8 states, and enacted in 10 states. Twenty states have yet to have a similar bill pass either house. On a federal level, Senate bill S.936, the INFORM Consumers Act, has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. led to increased prices for consumers and a loss of almost $270 million in sales tax revenues.