November 02, 2021

Durbin Delivers Opening Statement in Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Cleaning Up Online Marketplaces

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled, “Cleaning Up Online Marketplaces: Protecting Against Stolen, Counterfeit, and Unsafe Goods.” Durbin spoke about the massive amounts of illicit and dangerous consumer products sold by third party sellers that operate with inadequate transparency and oversight on online marketplaces like Amazon. Durbin discussed the INFORM Consumers Act, a bill he and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. introduced, which would promote verification and transparency for high-volume third-party sellers on online marketplaces.

Key quotes:

“Back in 2008, I introduced my first bill to address the problem of illicit products sold on online.  And the marketplaces told me: don’t worry, we’re taking care of this, you don’t need legislation. Well, here we are, thirteen years later, and this problem hasn’t gone away.  It’s gotten much, much worse. When you buy products from third-party sellers on online marketplaces, you’re really rolling the dice.”

“And stolen goods continue to be offered online by sellers who pop up, disappear, and pop up again.  Retailers lose $45 billion each year in these schemes.”

“After-the-fact, one-off investigations aren’t stopping the problem.  We need to take steps to deter shady sellers from using these marketplaces in the first place.”

“Consumers deserve better than being deceived into buying sham products.  Retailers are tired of how easy it is for organized groups of thieves to steal their goods and resell them online. Manufacturers are sick of seeing knock-offs of their products hawked on sites like Amazon. Congress needs to do something, that’s what we were elected for.”

“Verification.  Transparency.  Accountability. No more bait and switch.  These are principles we should follow as we work to clean up online marketplaces. I’ve introduced a bipartisan bill with Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, that promotes these principles.  It’s called the INFORM Consumers Act… We’ve negotiated and worked hard on this bill to achieve consensus, and I hope we can make it a law soon.”

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.

-30-