Online Marketplaces Under Fire from Big Box RetailersBy Roy Mark | Print
Online marketplaces like eBay and online retailers say proposed laws aimed at stemming the flow of fenced goods for sale on the Internet are blatantly discriminatory against online business models. Big box retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy are looking to get the OK to skip law enforcement agencies and directly send take-down notices to online marketplaces.
If you sell any of your products online, you may be the target of a new legislation being pushed by big retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, Best Buy and Walgreens they say is aimed at stemming the flow of stolen goods sold online. In response to the proposed legislation online marketplaces are claiming those retailers are attempting to cripple their Internet competition.
Big box retailers claim the goods showing up online are part of efforts by organized retail crime groups to expand their black markets beyond pawnshops, flea markets, garage sales and classified advertising.
"Clearly, these [online] products have been either stolen or fraudulently obtained," the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime told the House Judiciary Committee last year.
Retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, Best Buy and Walgreens want Congress to pass legislation that would allow the retailers to skip law enforcement steps and simply allow the retailers to issue take-down notices to sites such as eBay.
The legislation, which is a package of three bills (H.R. 6713, 6491 and 3434) that will be debated at a Sept. 22 hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, would also require online sellers who gross more than $12,000 a year to keep detailed records on those they do business with. "Granted, most sellers utilizing Internet auction sites are honest individuals who are not trafficking in stolen or fraudulently obtained goods, but a significant number of sellers are clearly not reputable," maintains the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime. "If just a very small percentage of sales from Internet auction sites involve stolen or fraudulently obtained merchandise, that's thousands of illicit transactions each and every day of the year, which illustrates the magnitude of this problem."