New lobby group rises to push Amazon, e-commerce sites to tackle sale of counterfeit goods


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Washington: More than a dozen trade groups are launching a new coalition aimed at forcing e-commerce companies such as Amazon.com Inc. to take stronger measures to fight stolen or counterfeit goods sold on their platforms.

The industry associations, which represent Walmart Inc., Target Corp., and Best Buy Co. Inc. among other companies, announced on Friday they are founding The Buy Safe America Coalition to back legislation that would require digital marketplaces to verify information about third-party merchants.

The lobbying push by retailers will only add to the scrutiny facing companies such as Amazon and EBay Inc. over their role in allowing counterfeit products from bicycles to jeans to be sold around the world. Lawmakers, President Donald Trump and companies have all been exploring ways to curb the deluge of fake goods online.

The goal is “to continue to raise awareness about counterfeit and stolen goods,” among lawmakers in Washington and statehouses around the country, said Michael Hanson, senior executive vice president of public affairs for the Retail Leaders Industry Association, one of the coalition’s founding members. “Now, with the growth of people buying online because of this pandemic, it seems that this is getting worse.”

In addition to RILA, the Toy Association, American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association and other industry groups are also joining the coalition.

Together they are backing the so-called INFORM Consumers Act, which would require digital marketplaces to collect information about some third-party sellers such as their government ID, tax ID and bank account details.

The legislation also would direct companies to disclose to shoppers their high-volume sellers’ names, phone numbers, business addresses and emails. The bill defines high-volume sellers as firms that make 200 or more sales in a year amounting to $5,000 or more. Senators Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, and Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, introduced the bill in March. Democratic Representatives Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Kathy Castor of Florida introduced a companion version in July.

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