The Retail Industry Leaders Association is pleading for help after smash and grabs crimes have ravaged stores. A letter was signed by 20 retail executives urging Congress to pass legislation to protect buyers from illicit products being sold online. These products could be sold as counterfeits or stolen goods from stores.
On Thursday, the letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) The CEOs of Best Buy, Target, CVS, and Dollar General were among the 20 executives to sign.
The act the executives hope to be passed is called the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) for Consumers Act. Part of the act will make it more difficult for stolen goods to be sold through online marketplaces, like those run on Facebook.
The letter stated:
“While we constantly invest in people, policies, and innovative technology to deter theft, criminals are capitalizing on the anonymity of the Internet and the failure of certain marketplaces to verify their sellers.”
“This trend has made retail businesses a target for increasing theft, hurt legitimate businesses who are forced to compete against unscrupulous sellers, and has greatly increased consumer exposure to unsafe and dangerous counterfeit products.”
If the bill passes, it will mandate that companies with online platforms verify their seller’s identities.
The executives continued:
“In the current environment, criminal networks and unscrupulous businesses have exploited a system that protects their anonymity to sell unsafe, stolen, or counterfeit products with little legal recourse. This lack of transparency on particular third-party marketplaces has allowed criminal activity to fester.”
The letter ensures that the act would be bipartisan and make it easier for consumers to know exactly who they are buying from. It also makes it harder for criminals to hide behind fake screen names and false business information. The letter stated, “The legislation has unified retailers, consumer groups, manufacturers, law enforcement, and all those serious about stopping the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods sold online.”
Best Buy’s CEO noted that the increase in crime has hampered the company’s profits and traumatized the staff. Some of the staff have permanently left the industry due to the ongoing violence. This is increasingly hurting the retailers as they already deal with staff shortages.