We owe it to consumers to stop counterfeiting

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As a working parent, our home became a school and office; Day turned into night and we had to find ways to make everything work. As a result, many of us turned to ordering online to save time, and many brands invested heavily in meeting consumers where they felt most comfortable.

What is worrying, however, is the astounding prevalence of unsafe counterfeits lurking on a number of trusted and emerging e-commerce platforms. governmentAgency after Agency continue to send warning signs about the dangers of counterfeiting. In fact, the US Department of Homeland Security shot down oneISIS website promotes fraudulent masks during pandemic.

The American Apparel & Footwear Associationrecently worked with an international inspection firm to examine 47 seized counterfeit products, including purses, cloth face masks, accessories, shoes, clothing and more. Of these products, 17 are failed a basic chemical test and tested positive for lead, arsenic, phthalates , or other dangerous toxins. We are still analyzing the data and more details will follow.

AAFA members go to great lengths to ensure the safety and quality of products and to protect consumers’ financial information. They work around the clock to ensure manufacturers comply with labor and environmental requirements. The counterfeiters are not interested in any of this.

Small brick-and-mortar stores are required by law to only sell legitimate and safe products, otherwise they will be held liable. In the meantime, third pageONLINE marketplaces SHALL NOT BE LIABLE if they sell counterfeit products that endanger the health and safety of consumers and their families.

are counterfeiters criminal . A brand protection manager recorded in a TED talk how counterfeit handbags fund terrorism and organized crime. A recently report foundthat the accounts of active counterfeiters on social platforms were mainly based in China, Russia and Turkey. One thing is clear: “The black economy, be it in the form of human trafficking, arms smuggling, fake Money laundering, cybercrime or the illegal wildlife trade is a force that steals stability from communities, causes corruption, affects national security and destabilizes the lives of so many people around the world.” We must take away the opportunity for criminals to sell fakes onlineby debunking and removing fakes from third party online platforms.

Unsafe counterfeiting goes beyond clothes, shoes and counterfeit bags. Fakes stretch across toys, car parts,Industry sectorsandinternational borders. Criminals selling counterfeit goods online steal financial information from consumersgovernments much-needed revenueanddestabilize societies . Counterfeiting threatens the health and safety of American consumers, steals American jobs, increases consumer costs, and hampers American innovation and creativity.

Estimates show that fakes almost steal$131 billion from the US economy, with $22.3 billion in lost income for American workers, 325,542 fewer American jobs, $5.6 billion in lost federal tax revenue, and nearly $4 billion in lost state and local tax revenue.

In short, counterfeit goods are un-American and hurt America’s bottom line.

Ecommerce and social media platformscan and should set and determine priorities algorithmsProtecting consumers from advertising and selling counterfeits on the Internet. Fortunately, policymakers have the opportunity to make real and impactful changes to protect consumers and brands.

Two supplementary anti-counterfeiting acts are before Congress – the SHOP SAFE Act (SHOP SAFELY) and the INFORM consumer law. Both bills are bicameral, non-partisan and have received broad support. Here’s why everyone matters and wears different protective measures:

  • SHOP SAFE and INFORM require online retailers to comply with the same long-established federal health and safety regulations that apply to small mom-and-pop retailers.
  • SHOP SAFE makes scalable requirements based on e-commerce platforms and annual sales generated.
  • SHOP SAFE requires screening for illegal goods in e-commerce, improved third-party transparency and accountability for online platforms selling unsafe goods. It is most important holds online platforms jointly responsible if they do not follow best practices to prevent the sale of counterfeit products that endanger the health and safety of the consumer.
  • SHOP SAFE expressly includes an exception for small or personal sales.
  • INFORM is modernizing the country’s consumer protection laws and better equipping law enforcement officials to deal with organized thief rings that have made a business of selling counterfeit goods online.

Without SHOP SAFE, e-commerce platforms are not properly liable. Without INFORM, law enforcement agencies lack important tools to track criminals. Both are required.

We call on Congress to move forward with these important pieces in the America COMPETES Act.No seller – or platform – of legitimate products should oppose ANY effort to stop the sale of dangerous counterfeits, especially now.

Jennifer Hanks is the principal intellectual property advocate and spokesperson for the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and trademark protection Topics and personal liaison with AAFA’s Brand Protection Council. AAFA represents more than 1,000 world-renowned brands, three million US employees in the apparel and footwear industry and its contribution of more than $350 billion in annual US retail sales.

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