Retailers Still Want New Laws Blaming eBay For Shoplifting; Law Enforcement Isn't So Sure
from the anti-competition dept
A group of brick-and-mortar retailers have been pushing for years to pass laws that put liability on online sites, like eBay, if stolen goods are sold through the sites. This really has nothing to do with preventing theft from their stores, as they claim. Instead, it's really an effort to attack online competitors and second-hand sellers to try to boost the primary market. Studies have shown that the number one source of theft in stores is actually employees. If the retailers were serious about cracking down on theft, they would do more to watch their own employees... but instead, they've been trying to create a moral panic by claiming that the use of eBay leads to crime because people get so addicted that, after they run out of their own stuff to sell, they start ripping off stores just to keep that eBay high going. Just look at their own words:
"Thieves often tell the same disturbing story: they begin legitimately selling product on eBay and then become hooked by its addictive qualities, the anonymity it provides and the ease with which they gain exposure to millions of customers. When they run out of legitimate merchandise, they begin to steal intermittently, many times for the first time in their life, so they can continue selling online. The thefts then begin to spiral out of control and before they know it they quit their jobs, are recruiting accomplices and are crossing states lines to steal, all so they can support and perpetuate their online selling habit."Uh huh. Only problem? Actual stats show that such retail theft is on the decline. But, of course, that won't stop the lobbyists from these stores from pushing -- and that means we've now got the fourth such law introduced just this year to deal with. With the introduction of the new bill, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings with law enforcement officials who did claim that retail theft was a problem, but according to Thomas O'Toole, they also said no new laws were needed. What are the chances of that happening? Apparently, the law enforcement folks said that the online websites like eBay are actually quite cooperative, and the only problem is they need more money and resources -- not more laws. Somehow, that seems unlikely.