Lawmakers want tougher regulation over online shopping to prevent stolen, counterfeit goods

WASHINGTON — More of us rely on online shopping than ever before but sometimes you aren’t getting what you paid for.

E-commerce experts say criminals are using digital marketplaces like Amazon to sell stolen, counterfeit and at times even hazardous goods to us.

Lawmakers are tackling the issue directly with industry leaders on new ways to regulate this process.

“Consumers deserve better than being deceived into buying sham products. Retailers are tired of how easy it is for organized groups of thieves to steal their goods and resell them online. Manufacturers are sick of seeing knock-offs of their products hawked on sites like Amazon. Congress needs to do something, that’s what we were elected for,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Tuesday, Senators met with internet officials, business owners and e-commerce experts about retail crime and product protection.

Small business owner Aaron Muderick said he is often playing whack-a-mole to keep up with all the new anonymous sellers online.

He said these individuals are selling counterfeit versions of his products and once one page is taken down, more of them just pop up elsewhere.

Muderick said the concern isn’t just losing money, he said some fake products aren’t safe and could hurt you.

Lawmakers say the bipartisan INFORM Consumers Act would require more vetting for online sellers and provide more accountability.

Small business owners say it would also help if major online marketplaces were more proactive about cracking down on these shady sellers too.

“It would reduce, on the one side, the resources we need to spend sort of pounding against the wall trying to get someone to listen,” said founder and president of Crazy Aaron’s.

“It would also I think help our brand integrity, it would help consumer confidence and we would probably receive more of the legitimate sales of the product.”

Retail crime experts say additional verification for sellers would help prevent the next accounts from popping up and help police stop the ones already out there.