The Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (CLEAR), a non-profit, non-partisan national association comprised of law enforcement and retail loss prevention professionals, issued the following statement in response to what they state is Amazon’s deceptive claims about the INFORM Consumers Act.
“Retailers and law enforcement officials work hand in hand to combat the organized criminal rings that target local businesses. To date, that same level of commitment has not been made by Amazon despite the flood of stolen goods that are fenced by criminal networks on their marketplace,” said Ben Dugan, CLEAR president. “Despite the obvious need for greater transparency on e-commerce platforms to identify fraudulent sellers and criminal elements, Amazon has chosen to ignore the problem, and fight legislative efforts that make it harder for criminal networks to operate in the shadows of the Internet.”
In a blog post published on Amazon’s website in April, the company made several questionable assertions about the INFORM Consumers Act, namely its impact on third-party sellers. Throughout the post, Amazon offered bolstering resources for law enforcement officials as a potential alternative to the marketplace transparency. However, in order for law enforcement to track criminal activity lurking online, the anonymity that allows criminal networks to hide behind fake businesses information and changing screennames needs to be addressed.
Amazon’s record of cooperating with law enforcement is also dubious at best, as was illustrated in a recent $50 million organized crime operation last year.
“Amazon is right when they say law enforcement should be given additional resources to stem the flow of fraudulent merchandise. But resources without transparency simply puts more pressure on law enforcement, without providing them with basic tools to better track criminal elements. It’s why law enforcement supports the INFORM Consumers Act, and why we urge Amazon to join us if they truly care about stopping illicit goods sold on their platform,” added Dugan.
In a recent interview with Fox News, Lisa LaBruno with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) also urged Amazon as well as other online marketplaces to join retailers and law enforcement to stop bad actors from selling stolen and counterfeit goods on their platforms.
“We can’t arrest and prosecute ourselves out of this problem. The retailers are carrying their weight. They’re doing their level best to address this problem. Law enforcement is doing their best to address this problem. The other key stakeholder in this is the online marketplaces,” LaBruno said.