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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 2, 2021 04:30 PM
From: Senator Mike Regan
To: All Senate members
Subject: Combatting the Online Sale of Counterfeit and Stolen Goods
The illicit sale of counterfeit and stolen goods has become a $509 billion criminal enterprise, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, thanks to a growing network of online marketplaces that many of us use regularly to conveniently purchase goods for our homes and families.  While some retailers have taken steps to require verifiable information from third-party sellers, others have not, which contributes to the proliferation of criminal activity.
While the ideal path to address this growing problem is through Congressional action, Pennsylvania consumers and small businesses deserve protection now.  Therefore, I intend to introduce legislation to amend our Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law to require high-volume third-party sellers to disclose specific information to the online marketplace on which they are doing business.
This information includes contact details, bank account information, and a tax ID number, all of which the online marketplace would have to verify within three days and have sellers update annually.  Additionally, consumers must be provided contact information such as a name, address, or email, and an online marketplace would be required to establish a reporting mechanism for instances of suspicious activity if false information is provided by the seller.
I know I am not alone in representing a district that is home to retailers that are the target of organized retail crime.  On a regular basis, our local police are being called to investigate cases of people walking out of stores pushing carts loaded with expensive televisions, video game consoles, or even baby formula.  Many of these items are then being sold by third-party sellers through online marketplaces, and the proceeds can be funding other illicit criminal activity.
Please join me in sponsoring this common-sense measure supported by The Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association and many of our retailers serving communities in every county of the Commonwealth.  And remember, this also impacts our law-abiding consumers, as well as small businesses that want a fighting chance to survive in this growing retail market.

Introduced as SB895