WR has sent letters to Senators Murray and Cantwell, urging their support of the INFORM Consumers Act, which would bring transparency and accountability to third-party online sellers and make it difficult for criminals to harm local businesses and consumers.
The rapid growth of online shopping has provided new opportunities for criminals and fraudsters—with many of the latter located in China—to peddle cheap counterfeits and stolen products designed to undercut American manufacturers and local retailers.
Meanwhile, sophisticated rings of criminals are brazenly stealing merchandise off retail store shelves and selling these items online using fake screen names and bogus business accounts. In addition to putting retail workers and customers in harm’s way, these thieves pose a serious economic threat. Research suggests that retail theft has cost retailers across the nation $68.9 billion in losses.
Congress must address these growing problems before additional consumers, or legitimate American businesses pay the price. The common-sense measures of the INFORM Consumers Act will make it harder for criminal networks and con artists from around the globe to use the anonymity of online marketplaces to dupe consumers with counterfeit and stolen products.
INFORM would require online marketplaces to verify high-volume sellers on their platforms and provides consumers with a method to contact sellers if they suspect they have been ripped off and sold a fake, broken, or dangerous item. This bill would not inhibit the small businesses in Washington that conduct legitimate commerce on marketplaces every day, and it protects the personal information of small sellers. That’s why it has united consumer groups, manufacturers, retailers, and marketplaces that want to protect American consumers from stolen, fake, and dangerous products.
WR strongly urges Congress to support the INFORM Consumers Act and include it as part of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021.