New Legislation Targets Improved Consumer Transparency of Third-Party Sellers Online

March 16, 2020 | The Toy Association supports new bipartisan legislation introduced last week by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) that would require ecommerce marketplaces vet “high volume” third party seller information and make seller information visible on product listings.

The Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) Consumers Act, expands on requirements in the Stop All Nefarious Toys in America Act (SANTA Act), which specifically target children’s product third-party sellers.

If passed, the INFORM Consumer Act would put into effect Toy Association recommendations made in its Intellectual Property Committee’s white paper, “The Real Threat of Fake Toys,” including increased vetting of third-party seller information and improved consumer transparency.

"The Toy Association applauds Senators Cassidy and Durbin for introducing the INFORM Consumers Act so that consumers are empowered with information to make smart online buying decisions – whether shopping for toys or other goods," said Rebecca Mond, vice president of federal government affairs at The Toy Association. "Like the SANTA Act, the bill calls on marketplaces to shoulder additional responsibility to verify sellers and make this verified information public to consumers. These steps will help keep illicit sellers off marketplaces and illicit products out of consumer hands. The INFORM Consumer Act represents yet another important step forward in The Toy Association’s ongoing advocacy in the fight against illicit, knockoff and counterfeit toys in the marketplace.”

Other organizations supporting the bill include the Retail Industry Leaders Association, U.S. PIRG, Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council, Public Citizen, and The Household & Commercial Products Association, among others.

The Toy Association continues to advocate in the fight against fake and illicit toys sold online through various roundtable meetings and hearings with top government officials and enforcement agencies, and by communicating and advocating directly with several marketplace platforms. Earlier this month, the bipartisan SHOP SAFE Act was introduced and a hearing on the proliferation of deceptive and dangerous products on online marketplaces was held by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, for which The Toy Association supplied testimony. The Toy Association also joined 17 trade associations and organizations in submitting a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging legislation that would increase liability for online marketplaces. In 2019, the Association testified before Congress about the dangers of counterfeits and participated in a roundtable discussion with top White House officials on regulatory and legislative actions to combat the online sale of illicit toys and other children’s products. The Toy Association’s Intellectual Property Protection Fly-In advocacy event is planned for June 3 to 4.

Toy Association members who would like to learn more or get involved with the Association’s IP Committee are encouraged to contact Rebecca Mond, vice president of federal government affairs.