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NASE Voices Serious Concerns on INFORM Act

In a letter to Senate leaders, the NASE, voiced serious concerns related to the Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) for Consumers Act.

The NASE along with 10 leading small business organizations, specifically, identified three areas in which the bill raises serious concerns for small businesses who operate online:

1) Public Disclosure of Personal Information Would Violate Seller Privacy: As drafted, the INFORM Act would require small business owners who sell via online marketplaces to publicly disclose their full names, business address, phone number and emails even if personal. Disclosure of this kind of personal information could open up small business owners to risk of discrimination, harassment or in the worst case scenario, violence.

2) Requirement of a Government Issued ID Would Limit Access to eCommerce Marketplaces: The INFORM Act would require small business owners who are utilizing an online marketplace to authenticate their identities via government issued identification, in addition to publicly disclosing their full names, business addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. This requirement can prove to be a barrier to access for millions of Americans who do not have government-issued IDs. For instance, 11% of Americans do not have government-issued photo IDs and nationally, up to 25% of African Americans of voting age do not have government issued photo IDs. Strict government ID requirements can also serve as a barrier to the elderly, the undocumented population and communities of color to sell online. 

3) High Volume Third Party Seller Threshold is too Low: As drafted, the INFORM Act would require “high volume third party sellers” to publicly disclose their full names, business addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. The bill defines a “high volume third party seller” as one who exceeds $5,000 in transactions of new and unused goods or has 200 or more in discrete sales for 12 continuous months months in a 24 month period. This threshold falls on the lower end and risks capturing small business owners who may only sell a handful of high value goods or who sell a large quantity of inexpensive goods.

Read the full letter here.

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