This week House lawmakers passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (America COMPETES Act). The bill is aimed at ensuring the U.S. economy is equipped to compete with China’s.
Knowing introduction of this package was coming, RILA and the Buy Safe America coalition aggressively advocated with House leadership to include the INFORM Consumers Act in the package. INFORM is a bipartisan and common-sense solution that will help protect unsuspecting consumers from purchasing counterfeit and stolen goods online.
Why it mattersIn today’s environment, bad actors – often based in China – can use online third-party marketplaces, i.e. Amazon and Facebook Marketplace, to anonymously sell unsafe, defective, or poisonous knockoff goods to U.S. consumers. That’s because these platforms consistently lack the basic transparency and accountability mechanisms that all legitimate retailers have in the U.S. Not only does this put consumers in danger, but it damages American brands large and small by infringing on their intellectual property and stealing their would-be legitimate sales.
And, that same lack of transparency has created a business opportunity for criminal networks in this country, who are using the anonymity of marketplace platforms to peddle billions in stolen product. The result has been a surge in organized retail crime, whereby criminals rely on third-party marketplaces to quickly fence products brazenly stolen from stores.
The INFORM Consumers Act would establish transparency and accountability standards for online third-party marketplaces, making it more difficult for domestic criminals or foreign con artists to hide behind fake screennames to mislead consumers with fake or stolen products.
U.S. consumers deserve to shop safely, and U.S. businesses must be able to compete fairly in today’s marketplace.
House leadership has said they intend to pass the bill before March 1. This date may slip because Congress is focused on passing a continuing resolution to fund the government. The Senate passed its version of America COMPETES, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, last June. Differences between the two bills will need to be resolved before it can be sent to the president for his signature.
We are grateful to Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) for championing this legislation in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, respectively. INFORM as an important component of protecting domestic retailers, brands, manufacturers, and consumers. RILA will continue to advocate with lawmakers for this commonsense solution and will keep members informed of any developments on this important legislation.
Keeping Communities Safe
Organized Retail Crime