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Amazon faces massive retailer attack on 3rd-party defective merchandise

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On Friday, the newly launched Buy Safe America Coalition — which includes some of America’s largest retailers like like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart — announced a ongoing attack on Amazon’s policy of not policing its third-party merchants.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, the Toy Association, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association and other industry groups also joined the coalition on Friday.

The issue is that some third-party merchants use the platform to sell defective, fake, counterfeit or otherwise unsuitable merchandise, and that Amazon makes no effort to control their activities.

The announcement of the group comes a day after a California appeals court ruled that Amazon is legally liable for defective items sold through third-party entities on its platform. The case concerned an Amazon user who sued after buying a laptop battery that she alleged exploded and caused several burns.

The goal is “to continue to raise awareness about counterfeit and stolen goods,” among lawmakers in Washington and statehouses around the country, said Michael Hanson, senior executive vice president of public affairs for the Retail Leaders Industry Association, in a statement on Friday. “Now, with the growth of people buying online because of this pandemic, it seems that this is getting worse.”

“The time has come for dominant online marketplaces to collect and verify third-party seller information so consumers are protected and law enforcement is informed. This is a problem that has festered unchecked for too long. These products would never be allowed on a store shelf or a retailer’s website,” the statement continued.

The coalition is backing the passage of the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers (INFORM) Act, which would require online marketplaces to collect and verify the identity of high-volume third-party sellers by obtaining their government ID, tax ID, bank account information and contact information. The bill is currently in the Senate and reportedly has bipartisan sponsorship.



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