April 08, 2022


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s response is to urge Congress to pass the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act. The legislation would require Amazon, Ebay and other online platforms to verify the identity of any seller who makes 200 or more sales valued at a total of $5,000 or more a year. When a seller passes $25,000 in annual sales, the online platform would have to disclose publicly the seller’s name and current contact details.

Proponents say the law would increase transparency and make criminals think twice before they use the online platforms to sell stolen goods. But it would also increase the regulatory burden on legitimate small businesses. This is a federal attempt to solve what is a state and local failing.

The Chamber also cites a finding from the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention that at least 40 states have changed the threshold to allow thieves to steal more while facing lesser charges—theft of goods worth less than $950 is a misdemeanor in California. Cause, meet effect: The National Retail Federation reports that nearly two-thirds of retailers have seen more theft in states where the penalties were downgraded.

The political assault on police has also reduced the number of cops across the U.S., even as homicides, shootings and other violent offenses have surged. That leaves fewer cops to address crimes like theft. In cities with progressive prosecutors, even repeat thieves are often freed without legal consequences.

The Chamber recommends that states change the criminal code to address organized retail theft and increase penalties. Fine with us, but cities also have to end the impunity that’s driving this stealing spree.

Read the full article here.