The US has introduced the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) Consumers Act, legislation aimed at increasing online marketplace transparency and accountability to combat the rapidly growing problem of fakes and stolen goods sold through these channels.
The INFORM Consumers Act would modernise consumer protection laws and require online marketplaces to collect and verify basic business information from sellers before those entities can sell online. It would also require high-volume sellers to provide contact information to consumers. Removing seller anonymity on these platforms will create basic accountability measures that will help protect consumers from counterfeit goods and make it harder for criminals to profit from selling stolen or counterfeit merchandise.
“Consumers – and trusted brands – need this legislation to effectively slow down the criminal networks targeting unsuspecting customers with the sale of stolen, counterfeit, expired, dangerous, and defective products. Right now, the onus is placed on consumers to avoid knockoffs, but it would be much more effective if e-commerce sites would take on this responsibility,” said AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar. “American businesses need this legislation to protect their intellectual property, and to allow them to hire more American workers. We look forward to working with House leadership on advancing this legislation into law.”
Fake products now account for 3.3% of global trade, which is negatively impacting economies, brands and individuals according to figures published by testing, inspection and certification company SGS with clothing and footwear the most heavily bootlegged industry.