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INFORM Act Goes Into Effect In Effort To Combat Organized Retail Crime

Retailers grateful for mechanism to identify criminals selling stolen and counterfeit goods online

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement to coincide with the INFORM Consumers Act going into effect. The act gives the FTC and all state Attorneys General the authority to better monitor criminal activity online.

“Organized retail crime exploded over the last few years as criminals exploited the anonymity of third-party online marketplaces to fence billions in stolen products. Retailers, members of Congress, law enforcement and the Buy Safe America Coalition labored for years to advance the INFORM Consumers Act to finally bring transparency and accountability to marketplaces,” said Senior Executive Vice President, Public Affairs Michael Hanson. “Retailers are thrilled to see the INFORM Consumers Act become a reality today because it will make it much harder for criminals to hide behind fake screen names and bogus business accounts to sell illicit goods.”

The law specifically empowers the FTC and state attorneys general to hold marketplaces accountable, with a new rulemaking authority to provide consumers additional protections and the ability to impose steep fines. It also empowers consumers by requiring a reporting mechanism so consumers can flag suspicious activity on these marketplaces. The FTC recently issued a notice of their intent to “enforce the Act to the fullest extent possible and … collaborate with our state partners to hold online marketplaces accountable.”

“Retailers are grateful for the FTC’s actions, including concise and strong statements of their support, and we are hopeful they will aggressively use the law to combat criminal networks that are targeting local businesses and duping consumers with misleading fake or stolen products,” added Hanson.

“Organized retail crime continues to be a complex challenge impacting the entire industry, in cities large and small across the country. With INFORM in effect, retailers and law enforcement will have a new mechanism for deterring bad actors,” said Senior Executive Vice President, Retail Operations Lisa LaBruno. “The industry is hopeful that requiring online marketplaces to collect, verify and disclose information about high-volume third-party sellers, marketplaces will finally evict bad actors from their platforms. In turn, consumers can shop with more confidence that the products they purchase online are legitimate.

“Retailers are committed to keeping workers and shoppers safe, and restoring vibrancy to the communities in which they operate,” added LaBruno. “While this law is not a miracle cure for organized retail crime, it’s a significant dose of help that finally holds marketplaces accountable when their platforms are used to sell stolen product. Coupled with the ORC task forces launched in multiple states and cities across the country, we’re finally beginning to see the resources, collaboration and commitment needed to turn the tide in this fight,” said LaBruno.


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