Major retailers have gotten their wish with a bill meant to curb counterfeit and stolen productions added to the Senate’s defense spending authorization.
The “INFORM Consumers Act,” first introduced in the Senate in March 2021, would require online marketplaces to collect, verify, and disclose certain information from high-volume, third-party sellers.
The bill has the backing of the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, along with other industry groups as well as major retailers.
Amazon initially opposed the bill for its focus on online third-party marketplaces (Amazon’s marketplace is by far the largest in the U.S.). The company also said last spring that the bill favored “large brick-and-mortar retailers, at the expense of small businesses that sell online, while doing nothing to prevent fraud and abuse or hold bad actors accountable.”
By the fall, Amazon had thrown its support behind a modified House of Representatives version of the bill. Yet Amazon still knocked “big-box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot, and their respective lobbying groups” for what it described as “push[ing] legislation at the federal and state levels with the purported goal of preventing the online sale of counterfeit items and stolen goods” but that favored brick-and-mortar retail.
The latest Senate bill has the support of both Amazon and its rivals. Last week, Amazon signed a letter along with RILA, NRF, Walmart, Target and scores of other large retailers calling on Congress to add the Inform Act to the defense spending bill.
“This common-sense legislation is critical in helping law enforcement, manufacturers, retailers, and online marketplaces of all sizes work together to protect consumers from bad actors peddling counterfeit and stolen goods,” the letter stated.
The bill, as the letter notes, mandates verification of a seller’s identity as a means to deter third-party sellers from pushing stolen and fake goods in e-commerce marketplaces.
RILA on Tuesday issued a statement celebrating the addition of the Inform Act to the defense bill and said the group would “look forward to working with members of Congress to see this pivotal piece of legislation makes it to the president’s desk.”
The defense bill is currently up for debate in the Senate.