As science fiction writer Frank Herbert said, “The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.” Well, MD retailers seem to have just one course of action – to shut-down competition from e-commerce.
Yesterday in Annapolis we testified against a bill that would prohibit Maryland residents and businesses from selling common consumer items such as cosmetics, non-prescription drugs, food products, and baby formula on any internet auction.
While traditional retailers suggest that this legislation is a matter of consumer protection, it’s more accurate to view it as competition prevention. Namely, to prevent internet auction sites from helping Maryland consumers and businesses compete with traditional retailers in the sale of new or used food and drug items.
The law is set up so that Maryland sellers will be confused and discouraged from using internet auctions to sell excess inventory, liquidated freight, surplus goods, or unwanted gifts and to punish them with convictions and fines for using online auctions.
If enacted, this would impose extraordinary and discriminatory restrictions on Internet auctions and the thousands of Maryland consumers that use them every day.