eBay and Etsy sent urgent emails to sellers over the weekend about legislation in Congress that the marketplaces say would harm small sellers and that Etsy says would put sellers’ safety at risk.
eBay warned, “Tell Your Senators Not To Harm Local Small Businesses!” in the subject mail of its email, and it said:
Under the bill, sellers would have to:
- provide online marketplaces with extensive personal information, including tax ID numbers and government-issued identification cards in order to be verified to sell on an online marketplace;
- certify annually – at the risk of account suspension – that their information has not changed; and
- publicly display their full name and contact information, including address, email and phone number, on each product listed for sale.
Etsy’s email also asked sellers to contact their senators about the bill that it said would put the privacy, safety, and security of home-based sellers at risk.
On a page on its website, Etsy stated:
“The US Senate is considering new legislation called the INFORM Act, which would require Etsy to collect, verify, and display seller contact information on product listing pages. For many home-based business owners, this legislation would mean sharing your personal information widely online, including your full name, home address, telephone number, and email address.
“Lawmakers have simply not considered how this bill would impact the privacy, safety, and security of Etsy sellers who run their businesses from their homes. That’s why they need to hear from you!”
An EcommerceBytes reader forwarded the email that sported the subject line, “Etsy sellers: Protect your privacy by opposing the Cassidy INFORM Amendment.” The seller wrote, “I’m thinking of contacting the Senators sponsoring this and asking for their home address and phone number. Think they’ll comply?”
Both emails linked to pages on the respective marketplaces’ websites that allowed sellers to easily contact lawmakers about the issue through an online form.