Industry Organizations Pressure Congress to Stop the Sale of ‘Harmful and Dangerous’ Counterfeits Online

The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and Footwear Retailers and Distributors of America (FDRA) are among 12 trade organizations calling on Congress for the swift implementation of legislation to stop the sale of “harmful and dangerous” counterfeits online.

In a letter to Congressional leadership on Wednesday, the organizations wrote that they are specifically lobbying for the passage of the Shop Safe Act and the Inform Consumers Act, which establishes better rules for the secure and safe conduct of e-commerce in the United States to protect consumers from fakes and stolen goods sold via online marketplaces.

“Each bill introduces unique improvements in e-commerce that will immediately reduce unsafe and fraudulent consumer goods from being available and sold online to unsuspecting customers, who are unknowingly lining the pockets of unscrupulous sellers and organized criminals, and siphoning revenues from legitimate companies, workers and taxes that could go towards essential government and community services,” the organizations wrote in a letter to Congress.

According to the letter, the Inform Consumers Act requires new vetting, disclosure, and takedown responsibilities by e-commerce marketplaces for all consumer goods and establishes a regulatory mechanism administered and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and at the state level by state attorney generals.

The Shop Safe Act aims to establish a strong incentive for online marketplaces to verify and vet third party sellers. It also requires platforms to enforce effective policies to remove counterfeit listings that implicate health and safety and to terminate the accounts of repeat offenders – or be subject to contributory liability for trademark infringement, the letter stated.

“After decades of e-commerce growth in the absence of rules to ensure fair trade practices, more guidance from Congress is needed,” the letter continued. “Our members work closely with e-commerce platforms to protect our customers, but the time has come to standardize the rules across all online marketplaces to make customers just as safe online as when they purchase goods from brick-and-mortar stores.”

This letter follows last week’s push from CEOs of 20 leading retailers across the U.S. expressing urgent concern over the growing impact of organized retail crime. The leaders, which included top brass from Dick’s, Nordstrom, and Target, implored lawmakers to pass the Inform Consumers Act as a spike in retail crime has been seen all over the country this holiday season.

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