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.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: ebay

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Retailers Still Want New Laws Blaming eBay For Shoplifting; Law Enforcement Isn't So Sure”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Legal Eagle says:

It's legalized...

Gambling is already legalized in most states… it’s called the lottery…

Let’s face it, if people want to gamble, they’re going to do it.

How much healthcare can $42 billion buy?

As far as drugs and prostitution, that’s a slippery slope. I believe it would definately curb illegal drug use – one, by offering a legal alternative without the fear associated with getting caught doing illegal drugs. Second, the abundance of legal drug cafes will drive the price of illegal drugs down to a point where the profits may not be worth the efforts for many drug dealers – after all, if they have less demand (since there are legal alternatives) and lower prices, the profits will be MUCH lower – plus, some of the money from the regulation of the drugs can go into illegal drug enforcement.

Prostitution is an interesting prospect. Despite the moral/religous ramifications, legalization would be VERY beneficial to both the working girls and their John’s.

The girls benefit because they will likely get regular check-ups, possible benefits and other perks of being part of a REAL business. Not to mention, their safety factor improves a hundred-fold. Not only that, but now they are paying taxes (on some of it at least) so that’s more income – taxing both the business and the individual.

There will still be a stigma with being a prostitute and being one will now be a matter of public record if you have to be licensed, so that may actually discourage some girls.

Licensing would also cut back on underage prostitution and the forcing of foreign women into prostitution.

It would also cut back on illegal prostitution since the legalized prostitution businesses will be advertising in legitimate corners, the illegal business will be easier to pickout on things like craigslist, etc.

Billions and billions of income – we’d have our debt “worked off” in no time… pun intended.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...