The American Apparel & Footwear Association applauded this week’s introduction of the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) Consumers Act, thanking U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) for introducing legislation to protect consumers and small businesses from illicit merchandise found on leading e-commerce platforms.
The INFORM Consumers Act aims to increase online marketplace transparency and accountability to combat the rapidly growing problem of counterfeit and stolen goods sold through these channels. A Senate version was already introduced with bipartisan support from 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).
The INFORM Consumers Act would modernize 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.”
With holiday shopping starting earlier this year due to supply chain slowdowns, AAFA is working to educate all Americans about the risks associated with counterfeits online.
AAFA is a proponent of consumer safety and brand protection, and also supports the SHOP SAFE Act which advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee last week.