Congress recently passed a year-end omnibus package that included the INFORM Consumers Act—legislation WR has strongly supported. This bill mandates that online marketplaces must confirm the identities of third-party sellers conducting high sales volumes.
AG Bob Ferguson’s ORC Task Force recommendations for online resellers will significantly bolster the INFORM Act’s effectiveness. His recommendations for resellers include:
- Establishing a specialized retail crime team
- Establishing and making available the team’s criteria for assisting victims and law enforcement with such trafficking investigations
- Establishing mechanisms by which information and data about the suspect seller and their sales history may be shared with victims and law enforcement
- Identifying the types of items regularly sold through their marketplace that are particularly susceptible to trafficking
- Identifying purportedly new items being offered at prices substantially below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)
- Requiring sellers to provide additional information before making their offers viewable to the public
- Modifying sales terms to sellers of new and unused products to post authentic and unedited photographs of the items for sale, including depictions of items’ stock keeping unit (SKU) numbers and bar codes
- Providing retailers with periodic reports about the types of items identified as susceptible to trafficking through their platform
The approval of the INFORM Act was a crucial move in the battle against the increasing problem of organized retail crime, but additional legislation is needed.
WR supports the Combatting Organized Retail Crime Act, which was presented to the previous Congress. The bill aims to enhance federal efforts to combat crime by combining resources from state and local law enforcement agencies and retail industry specialists. The bill would also establish new methods to aid federal ORC investigations and prosecutions and assist in recovering stolen goods and proceeds.