The Buy Safe America Coalition, a diverse group of retailers, consumer groups and manufacturers that support efforts to combat organized retail crime and protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods, has revealed a slate of new members: The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Floor & Decor, as well as the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors (NAW), Plumbing Manufacturers International and the Power Tool Institute.
Existing members from other industries include Walgreens, CVS Health, Ulta Beauty and Philips, all of which signed on last month.
The Washington, DC-based coalition is encouraging Congress to pass the INFORM Consumers Act to modernize consumer protection laws by requiring online marketplaces to collect and verify basic seller information and having sellers provide that information to consumers.
“Organized retail crime and professional thieves continue to be a significant problem, and retailers are doing all they can to harden the target and investigate these groups,” said Scott Glenn, VP of asset protection for The Home Depot, based in Atlanta. “In order to see meaningful change, we need accountability and transparency on online marketplaces, where stolen items are often sold to unsuspecting consumers. The INFORM Consumers Act does just that and will give law enforcement more tools as we partner to dismantle these criminal operations.”
“Protecting the safety and well-being of our customers and front-line associates has always been our highest priority,” note Scott Draher, VP of asset protection for Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe’s. “We are pleased to work together with the Buy Safe America Coalition to continue to combat retail crime and the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods. Passing more stringent protection laws to address these crimes will not only help protect the safety of our communities, but also America’s small businesses and suppliers who are being undermined by these illegal activities.”
The two retailers have experienced wide-scale theft first-hand: In Florida, a theft ring stole at least $83,000 in merchandise from several Home Depot and Lowe’s stores between 2017 and 2019, according to police reports.
“NAW is pleased to join the Buy Safe American Coalition, along with other leading home improvement companies, wholesaler-distributors and associations to press Congress for a solution that makes online marketplaces more accountable for the products sold on their platforms,” said Blake Adami, VP of government relations at the Washington-based association. “There is increased concern to protect both consumers and federal, state and local governments from counterfeit goods, vendors leveraging stolen intellectual property, and foreign manufactured equipment deemed a threat to national security. Online marketplaces, like Amazon and Facebook, should be accountable for the activity on their platforms to ensure only legitimate goods are sold by verified sellers.”
“Organized retail crime hurts everyone in retail, most importantly, our customers,” noted Andy Stofanik, VP of store operations for Floor & Decor, based in Atlanta. “Floor & Decor is proud to join forces with the Buy Safe coalition to help combat ORC crime throughout the country…” Retail Leader