Toy Association Applauds Introduction of Legislation to Protect Consumers from Counterfeit Products Sold Online

inform-consumers-actMarch 23, 2021 | The Toy Association applauds today’s introduction of the INFORM Consumers Act. The legislation aims to increase transparency and accountability for online marketplaces amid the rapidly growing problem of illicit goods sold online.

Throughout the pandemic U.S. e-commerce grew by 44 percent as more families shopped online. At the same time, criminal networks targeted unsuspecting customers with the sale of stolen, counterfeit, expired, dangerous and defective products. The INFORM Consumers Act, which was introduced by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Cassidy (R-LA), Hirono (D-HI), Grassley (R-IA), Coons (D-DE) and Tillis (R-NC), would modernize consumer protection laws and require online marketplaces to collect and verify basic business information from sellers, in addition to requiring high-volume sellers to provide contact information to consumers.

“Toys sold in the United States must comply with strict standards and undergo stringent testing to ensure they are safe,” said Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association. “Unfortunately, when consumers are shopping online, they don’t always know who exactly they are buying from and run the risk of unknowingly purchasing unsafe, illicit products. By collecting verified information from sellers before they make it onto online marketplaces, we can help ensure consumers are making informed purchasing decisions and buying safe toys, games, and other products from legitimate sellers.”

The Toy Association’s advocacy against counterfeit toys is ongoing. The team continues to work with congressional offices to reintroduce Intellectual Property (IP)-related bills, including the SHOP Safe Act and the SANTA Act, in addition to the INFORM Consumers Act. These bills incorporate recommendations from The Toy Association’s 2020 IP White Paper, Taking Fake Toys Offline: A 2020 Focus on Proactive Measures to Reduce Counterfeits and Unsafe Toys Sold on Online Marketplaces, which highlights the importance of increased seller vetting and consumer transparency that third-party marketplaces should have in place to protect families from potentially dangerous counterfeits sold online.

The Toy Association is also a member of the Buy Safe America Coalition, which represents a diverse group of responsible retailers, consumer groups, manufacturers, intellectual property advocates, and law enforcement officials who support efforts at all levels of government to protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods.

Looking ahead, The Toy Association will be collaborating with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other agencies on anti-counterfeiting measures to help toy brand owners protect their IP and reduce the number of fake products entering the country.

“We are pleased to see progress on this critical issue, but so much more still needs to be done,” added Desmond. “Stopping toy counterfeits from entering this country and winding up in innocent children’s hands continues to be a top priority for The Toy Association and its members.”

Toy Association members who want to become involved in these advocacy efforts are encouraged to reach out to Leigh Moyers, senior manager of federal government affairs at The Toy Association, for more information.