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Georgia Legislature’s Move to Redesign INFORM Hurts Small Businesses & Increases Red Tape

In June 2023, the Federal Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers, better known as the INFORM Act, went into effect. Aimed at tackling retail theft, the law created new responsibilities for online marketplaces to disclose and verify the identity of its sellers to deter the sale of stolen, counterfeit or harmful products. The legislation was the product of years of negotiating between lawmakers, stakeholders and retailers, and while it is not perfect, it is widely seen as a compromise and a way to avoid a complex patchwork of state laws related to seller vetting. 

Not even a year into INFORM taking effect, big box retailers are now looking to move the goal post and rewrite the law. In Georgia’s legislature, a bill was recently passed to redefine what is meant by the designation “high volume seller” in order to shift more of the blame on online businesses. Such efforts are disingenuous at best. Federal law already defines high volume seller—language big box retailers supported. If there exists a genuine issue with the federal statute as written, Congress must pass an amendment that fixes it and applies equally and fairly to all parties. 

Meanwhile, the Georgia legislation does nothing to address the underlying issues of ensuring law enforcement has the necessary resources to put retail thieves in jail. States should make tackling organized retail crime a priority by funding dedicated task forces to prosecute criminal rings operating in their communities. Instead, Georgia’s legislation hurts small online businesses with stricter and confusing compliance regulations, putting them at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the nation.

Online retail crime is a complex and real problem. Laws that continually target online marketplaces, which are doing their part to combat the problem, and hurt small online businesses are not the answer. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp should reject this effort and ensure that small businesses and individuals can continue to achieve economic opportunity through e-commerce. 

Read NetChoice’s letter to Gov. Kemp, asking him to veto SB 472, here