Buyer beware. More and more stolen merchandise is ending up on the nation's largest online shopping sites.
Several of the largest retailers in the country are calling on Congress to stop the sale of stolen items. They say organized shoplifting runs are becoming more brazen. A recent study found as much as 68 billion dollars’ worth of merchandise was stolen from retailers in 2019. Many of those items end up on sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace.
“These online platforms have to find that right balance,” Internet attorney Travis Crabtree said. “They want to make it easy for you and me to sell our used TV and take reasonable steps to make sure there’s not a proliferation of stolen goods being sold on their platforms.”
He says spotting stolen goods online has become more difficult for brick-and-mortar retailers because of the large number of everyday items flooding the web.
“Because it goes beyond just that stolen television, and it does go to the toothpaste that people are buying online, it becomes a little bit more difficult and there’s only so much resources they can put on this before it becomes so expensive,” Crabtree explained.
Online companies say they’ve invested in infrastructure to better identify stolen items. Congress is also getting involved. Some lawmakers are proposing a bill to require sellers to authenticate the goods they're posting for sale.