The INFORM Consumers Act is included within the 2023 omnibus appropriations bill that will be voted on in the US Senate and House in the next several days.
“After three years of working together with RILA member companies, law enforcement, and policymakers, we are thrilled the INFORM Consumers Act is included in the 2023 omnibus spending package,” said Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Senior Executive Vice President, Public Affairs Michael Hanson. “INFORM will require more transparency online, making it harder to anonymously fence stolen products on Amazon and other marketplaces, and it will empower law enforcement to prosecute organized retail crime networks across the country. Its passage is a victory for businesses, retail workers, consumers, and communities large and small who have been impacted by the surge in organized retail crime (ORC).”
The INFORM Consumers Act will require online marketplaces to verify the identities of high-volume third-party sellers and disclose basic information to shoppers and law enforcement. Removing the anonymity on these platforms by creating basic accountability measures will protect consumers from illicit goods, aid law enforcement in their efforts to track organized crime and make it harder for bad actors to build an illegal business and profit by selling stolen or counterfeit merchandise.
“We thank Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Cassidy (R-LA) and Representatives Schakowsky (D-IL) and Bilirakis (R-FL) for their never-wavering support and commitment to protecting consumers. Thanks to their dedication, this crucial piece of legislation is on track to become law. We also thank all our partners including small business owners, community leaders, state retail associations, retail asset protection leaders, state attorneys general, and more who shared their experiences and leant their voices to our advocacy efforts,” added Hanson. “With their help, we were able to secure bipartisan, bicameral support for INFORM as the common-sense solution to addressing this growing problem.”
Once enacted, INFORM will empower every state Attorney General to enforce the laws’ provisions. Many states have already taken the lead funding statewide ORC task forces to coordinate efforts between local law enforcement and retail asset protection professionals to build cases and prosecute criminal rings. As INFORM heads toward passage, retailers encourage every state to make tackling organized retail crime a priority by funding a dedicated ORC task force to coordinate local efforts and prosecute criminal rings operating in their communities.
“The issue of organized retail crime won’t be solved overnight, but with INFORM in place at the federal level and states coordinating efforts with additional resources, stakeholders will finally have a more comprehensive approach to tackling this problem in our communities,” added Hanson.