There have been some notable developments on retailer led legislation, the INFORM Consumers Act, that would increase requirements for marketplaces to collect, verify and disclose seller information. While the original federal and state versions of the legislation would have imposed burdensome and discriminatory collection requirements that would have harmed legitimate small businesses and entrepreneurs who sell on online marketplaces, eBay has led efforts to vastly improve the bill to increase transparency across all marketplaces and protect seller’s privacy. We are pleased that in working with lead legislators in the US House and Senate, eBay supports the updated federal INFORM language. And while we remain opposed to a state-by-state patchwork of differing requirements, it has been productive to see many states adopting the federal compromise framework. More details on federal and state activity is below.
Last September, US Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) introduced a new and compromised version of the INFORM Consumers Act last fall. The new version of INFORM increases transparency, protects sellers’ privacy, and will provide one federal compliance standard for online sellers. We are grateful that Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have supported updated INFORM language that mirrors the House version. This compromised bill language has broad support across industry stakeholders and consumer groups. The bill was included as part of a broader legislative package that passed the US House in February and may be included in a final deal on American innovation and competitiveness. We will continue to push for enactment of the federal legislation to create a national framework and avoid a patchwork of state laws.
The states have also seen considerable action on this issue in 2022. At least 28 states have considered INFORM legislation this year. While most state bills have generally aligned with the federal legislation, several states have adopted laws imposing requirements for marketplaces and sellers, at the behest of big box retailers and their state retail associations, that deviate from the consensus federal legislation. These differing state laws underscore the need for a uniform federal approach to avoid burdening millions of small businesses and entrepreneurs using online marketplaces to reach customers. Fortunately, most of the harmful legislation based on the older version of INFORM considered in states was rejected or substantially amended after legislators heard directly from thousands of eBay sellers located in their districts about the valid privacy and safety concerns posed by the legislation.
eBay is committed to ensuring its platform is a trusted and safe marketplace for buyers and sellers. As such, we will continue to work with legislators to oppose harmful state legislation and support enactment of the federal INFORM bill.