The National Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to Congress urging them to support the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) for Consumers Act, as a part of the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act.
As the letter notes, this legislation was developed in a bipartisan way to ensure that American consumers know who is selling the products they purchase online, and that buyers have the ability to identify and contact the seller if there is a problem with their product. The bill creates a solution for a current and pervasive problem in e-commerce—the fact that large numbers of goods sold by third parties on online marketplaces are counterfeit, stolen, or unsafe to consumers.
Lat year, the US Trade Representatives reported that the rapid growth of e-commerce platforms has helped fuel the growth of e-commerce platforms has helped fuel the growth of counterfeit and pirated goods into a half trillion dollar industry.
“These criminal parties can easily create an account with an online marketplace like Amazon, sell high volumes of stolen or counterfeit merchandise, and then terminate the account if anyone grows suspicious or files a complaint,” the letter said.
The INFORM Act would require online marketplaces to verify the identity of high-volume third-party sellers through information such as the seller’s name, tax ID, bank account information, and contact information.
“The FOP believes these simple and common sense steps will help deter and curtail criminal third parties from abusing online marketplaces for illicit purposes,” the letter continued. “We strongly support the inclusion of the INFORM Consumers Act in H.R. 4521 and urge you and the members of the conference committee to ensure its retention in the final bill text.”
FOP National President Patrick Yoes and Executive Director Jim Pasco signed the letter on behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The Buy Safe America Coalition issue the following statement in response to the letter: “Support from the nation’s leading law enforcement organization is a huge endorsement for INFORM, and it sends an important message to congressional leaders working on the America COMPETES Act,” said Michael Hanson, Buy Safe America spokesperson. “Law enforcement officials are doing everything they can to stop violent organized retail crime rings and counterfeiting operations. However, today’s criminals have become even savvier, using the anonymity granted by third-party marketplaces like Amazon and Facebook to dupe consumers with fake products and fence millions of dollars in stolen merchandise.”