WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Senators are cracking down on criminals buying and selling stolen goods on online marketplaces.
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee pressed a major internet trade group represented by Amazon, eBay and Etsy about legislation it’s introduced that would put more responsibility on online platforms to police sellers.
With just a click of a button, pretty much anything can be bought online. But U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) says in some cases, it turns out those products are fake or knockoffs.
“Often these products pose serious health and safety risks to customers, who thought they were buying the original product,” Durbin explained.
Durbin and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Inform Consumers Act. The bill would increase transparency with consumers by requiring marketplaces to verify their high-volume, third-party sellers and hold them accountable.
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) says he’s concerned the bill would hurt small businesses who may not have the resources to police its sellers.
“Could the bill end up actually help — end up helping a company like Amazon while making it more difficult for smaller businesses to operate and do so in compliance with the law,” Lee said.
Dane snowden “We don’t want to have barriers that will limit sellers from being able to get online and sell their goods,” said Dane Snowden with the Internet Association.
Snowden says his members, including Amazon, eBay and Etsy, prefer the House version of the bill. Durbin says it’s not strong enough.
“The proposals that they made over the years do not strengthen the bill, they strengthen Amazon’s hand and avoiding the bill,” Durbin said. “I, for one, am not going to stand by and watch this water down any further. We need to move on this.”