Inform Consumers Act Passes House
The Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (Inform) Consumers Act passed the House Nov. 17, making it more likely the bill could become law during the lame duck session. The Inform Consumers Act requires high-volume third-party sellers on e-commerce platforms to disclose their names and a way to contact them. A high-volume seller is defined as someone who has made 200 or more sales in a 12-month period, worth $5,000 or more. It also requires companies like Amazon or e-Bay to create a hotline to allow customers to report postings they believe to be stolen or counterfeit goods.
The bill was voted on with six other non-controversial bills, and the bloc passed 381-39. The Inform Consumers Act will also be considered in the Senate soon, as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who leads the Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and her Republican counterpart, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., hailed the vote.
“For too long, criminals have raked in profits by selling dangerous, counterfeit, and stolen products online. Consumers deserve to shop with the peace of mind that they get what they pay for. Today, we took a stand for consumers and said enough is enough,” Schakowsky said in press release after the vote. In the same release, Bilirakis said, "This pro-consumer legislation enacts uniform, nationwide rules to promote safety, increase transparency, and provide greater accountability for online sales. It will provide a layer of enhanced protections for consumers from stolen and counterfeit goods without adding undue burdens on small mom-and-pop businesses."
Trade groups that represent intellectual property rights holders have said they are eager for the bill to finally become law. It has passed out of committee before, and even been offered as an NDAA amendment before, but hasn't crossed the finish line (see 2210260087).