Amazon, online retailers must provide seller details under bills - Crain's Detroit Business

Summary

The bills, which the House approved 91-14 and 89-15 on Tuesday, would update the state's consumer protection law to regulate online marketplaces such as Amazon, Facebook, eBay and Etsy. The industry initially lined up against the measures but dropped many objections following changes to align the bills more with pending federal legislation.

"If you don't get the product that you wanted or it's not authentic or it's defective, some of these online marketplaces, there's no way to contact the seller. So this is just basic consumer protection," said state Rep. Mark Tisdel, a Rochester Republican and sponsor of one measure. "It's just trying to apply some of those more traditional consumer retailer contact points to make them available on the internet as well."

The bills, which the House approved 91-14 and 89-15 on Tuesday, would update the state's consumer protection law to regulate online marketplaces such as Amazon, Facebook, eBay and Etsy. The industry initially lined up against the measures but dropped many objections following changes to align the bills more with pending federal legislation.

"If you don't get the product that you wanted or it's not authentic or it's defective, some of these online marketplaces, there's no way to contact the seller. So this is just basic consumer protection," said state Rep. Mark Tisdel, a Rochester Republican and sponsor of one measure. "It's just trying to apply some of those more traditional consumer retailer contact points to make them available on the internet as well."

The legislation also would help target to organized shoplifting rings, he said. Stores like Home Depot, Lowe's, CVS Health and Walgreens increasingly are finding their private-label goods listed in online marketplaces for a fraction of the retail price.

"With a lot of our smaller businesses like CVS, Walgreens, they're seeing people come through and just swipe a whole bunch of products and reselling them online. There's no way of kind of tracking the sellers. This is one layer of consumer protection to help people," said the sponsor of a second bill, Democratic Rep. Samantha Steckloff of Farmington Hills.

A third-party seller that makes at least 200 sales totaling $5,000 or more in gross revenues in a 12-month period would have to disclose certain information to the online marketplace, which in turn would be required to verify it. The information would include a bank account number or, if the seller does not have one, the payee's name; and contact information such as the seller's name, a copy of an ID for someone acting on the business' behalf or the seller's working email address and phone number; or other specified details.

The online marketplace would be required to disclose the information to the consumer in an order confirmation message and account transaction history.

Amazon, online retailers must provide seller details under bills - Crain's Detroit Business
Photo Credit: Crain's Detroit Business

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