by Kathy Pierce, NPA Government Relations Liaison
May 18, 2023
At its inception in 1995, eBay was mostly a platform for selling Beanie Babies where, if ever a problem arose, we had a direct phone line with customer service. Fast forward 28 years, eBay sales were $9.7 billion in 2023 and it is one of the largest online marketplaces in the world.
With growth, also came problems: authentication, fraudulent sellers and buyers, and USPS decline from email to growth in online sales from eBay and Amazon.
There have been several changes to eBay in the past few years, and pawnbrokers are questioning if it’s worth staying on the selling platform. The biggest changes involve the Inform Consumers Act that was passed last year, which takes effect June 27, 2023.
The Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act (INFORM Consumers Act) requires that online marketplaces verify their online sellers via banking accounts, copies of business owner identification, Tax ID, proof of address, and phone number. These requirements are for “high volume sellers with an aggregate total of $20,000 or more in annual gross revenues on such online marketplace, and that uses such online marketplace’s platform, to provide the information described”.
The Federal government also defined a high-volume third-party seller as: “a participant on an online marketplace’s platform who is a third-party seller and, in any continuous 12-month period during the previous 24 months, has entered into 200 or more discrete sales or transactions of new or unused consumer products and an aggregate total of $5,000 or more in gross revenues.”
Violations of compliance requirements: “The online marketplace shall, after providing the seller with written or electronic notice and an opportunity to provide or disclose such information not later than 10 days after the issuance of such notice, suspend any future sales activity of such seller until the seller complies with such requirements.”
Enforcement of this act falls under the Federal Trade Commission and the State Attorneys General. It will be considered a violation of the Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices authority that the FTC and States have.
Most pawnbrokers who are active on eBay, Reverb, Or Etsy received notice late last year or early January for verification to maintain compliance with the new INFORM Consumers Act. If you have not started this verification paperwork, now would be a great time to do so before there is an automatic 10-day notice from your online marketplaces in your email.
Change is part of the business plan for all of us. How we adapt is the key.