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Government Relations & Public Policy

ICSC applauds introduction of the INFORM Consumers Act

October 14, 2021

On October 6 the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) Consumers Act was introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). The legislation is designed to protect consumers and small businesses from illicit merchandise found on leading e-commerce platforms.

The measure, H.R. 5502, directs online platforms that allow for third-party sellers of consumer products to verify the identity of high-volume third-party sellers, with the goal of preventing organized retail crime.

ICSC and other members of the Buy Safe America Coalition applauded the bill’s introduction.

“As we look at the continued convergence of online and physical retail, we believe consumers should know who they are buying from online, just like they would in a brick-and-mortar store,” said Jennifer Platt, ICSC vice president for Federal Operations.

The INFORM Consumers Act directs online marketplaces to verify high-volume third-party sellers by acquiring the seller’s government ID, tax ID, bank account information and contact information. High-volume third-party sellers are defined as vendors who have made 200 or more discrete sales in a 12-month period amounting to $5,000 or more.

"It’s time to modernize our consumer protection laws to help stop the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods that are harming families, communities and small businesses," said Michael Hanson, Buy Safe America Coalition spokesperson. "We are grateful to U.S. Representatives Schakowsky and Bilirakis for introducing The INFORM Consumers Act. "This legislation will help shine a bright light on criminals selling on dominant marketplaces that are ripping off consumers by peddling dangerous, defective and stolen goods." 

Similar legislation, S. 936, was introduced in the Senate earlier this year and is supported by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Cassidy (R-LA), Hirono (D-HI), Grassley (R-IA), Coons (D-DE), Rubio (R-FL), Warnock (D-GA) and Tillis (R-NC).