Building a Better World, Together | October 2023

Building a Better World, Together | October 2023

What’s at stake: Online marketplaces that offer a platform for third-party sellers to hawk their goods can be rife with counterfeits— many of which can pose serious dangers to consumers— including bike helmets, water filters, auto airbags, and even medications.

Compounding the problem, consumers often lack the basic information necessary to make smart decisions about buying products on these platforms, including the sellers’ identity, where the products are made, and what materials they’re made with.

What CR is doing about it: CR has long pushed to hold companies more accountable for the goods sold on their platforms, and to make those platforms more transparent so that consumers can better protect themselves. In 2020, for example, we testified at a House hearing on fake and unsafe products. And in 2021 we endorsed the INFORM Consumers Act, which targets the sale of counterfeit goods—and later delivered some 38,000 consumer signatures in support of the legislation to members of Congress.

The bill passed in 2022 and went into effect June 27. Among other provisions, it requires e-commerce websites to display identifying information about third parties that sell a high volume of goods on their platforms, to suspend sellers that don’t supply that information, and to offer a clear way for consumers to report suspicious conduct. CR is now pushing for additional rules that would require online marketplaces to take greater responsibility for the safety of products sold by third-party sellers.

What you can do: See CR’s tips on how to avoid buying counterfeit goods online.

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