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Fri May 29 2020 22:28:06

State Tries to Mandate Seller Policies on Marketplaces Like eBay

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is asking sellers to help in its fight against a proposed law in Louisiana that would place new restrictions on online marketplaces like its own. 

Senate Bill NO. 476 would require online marketplaces to verify the identity of each high-volume third-party seller. It defines such sellers as having entered into 200 or more transactions of new or used consumer products in any 12-month period during the previous 24 months, which result in an aggregate total of $5,000 or more in total gross revenue for the user.

Tax service Avalara summarized the bill in this May 7th post; it would require "high-volume third-party sellers" to include their name, address, email, phone number in a "conspicuous manner" on their marketplace listings.

It would also require marketplaces to indicate whether the high-volume third-party seller engages in the manufacturing, importing, retail, or reselling of consumer products.

eBay asked sellers in Louisiana to write to their legislators asking them to oppose the bill, which it called burdensome, and provided the following template:

"As your constituent and a proud supporter of small online businesses, I urge you to oppose SB 476, unnecessarily burdensome and discriminatory legislation against Louisiana small businesses. While SB 476 has the well-intended goal of protecting consumers from illegal or counterfeit goods, the effects of the bill would add harmful red-tape and onerous requirements that do little to achieve that goal. Instead, the bill targets legitimate Louisiana businesses which sell their products on online marketplaces. As a result of the burdensome verification requirements, SB 476 favors large retailers who do not need an online marketplace to connect with their customers.

"The Internet has provided a tool to enable Louisianan small businesses to sell their products across the US and around the globe in ways that many never thought possible. Small online businesses are needed now more than ever to provide a lifeline to consumers at home. At a time when the economy is struggling amidst the pandemic, businesses have been able to find success reaching customers online, providing Louisianans access to needed goods while sheltering in place. Now is not the time to be placing harmful burdens on small businesses. Instead, the Legislature should focus on helping our economy recover.

"I respectfully urge you to reject SB 476 and support Louisianan small online businesses. Thank you for your consideration."

If passed, the law would take effect on August 1, 2020.

Do you agree individual states should be able to mandate selling policies of online marketplaces like eBay?



Comments (27) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 30 05:11:32 2020

This law would absolutely put america out of business.

Anyone who runs a business knows that if their email address and phone number is published anywhere on the web it will be collected sold spammed and robodialed.

Aside from a million other reasons this would be a terrible idea, the last thing I need is my email address spammed with fake ED meds and 100 calls a day telling me my auto warranty has expired. Its already bad enough without that data public.....

If this law comes into effect ill buy a burner.......

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 30 05:50:57 2020

Yes, this is a draconian solution to a minor problem.  Even if this were a MAJOR problem the solution would need to be a NATIONAL / Sea-to-Shining-Sea sort of action/law.  State by State would just be a brand new Cluster "Mess".

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sat May 30 08:39:56 2020

THIRD Party sellers ?
No such animal.

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This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Sat May 30 11:20:41 2020

Great proposal. I'll start.

Lousiana Sucks
House #39
Karta e Perwan
KABUL, Afghanistan  

lousisanasucks@proyska.ru

+86-135-5543-5067

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat May 30 11:43:00 2020

Unless someone is a really, really, casual seller, it would be very easy to reach 200 transactions and $5K in gross revenue in a 12-month period. But I think eBay is more concerned that if this Bill passes, buyers would go straight to the sellers to buy, thereby bypassing eBay which could potentially lose millions in fees.

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by: elcheapoposters This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sun May 31 00:19:49 2020

Ha..sellers were pissed years ago when ebay disallowed email, phone numbers, or other contact info on the listings. I made TONS of OFF ebay sales by listing my contact info. Ebay is probably more concerned about that aspect than it is about anything else.

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by: ddigler This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 31 00:24:45 2020

Great idea. I will give customers who order direct a 5% discount.

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by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 31 11:37:24 2020

From what I recall, New York State already requites a physical address to be listed on the account of all marketplace sellers.  When the law passed, I found some inconspicuous place to post (so inconspicuous I can't find it now, ha!) to be in compliance with the law.  I have never had one issue complying.  I do not know if New York ever followed up or not, but I know I have it posted somewhere.  This just adds a few more lines to it- not hard to get a free email that you check weekly.  And I'm sure you can set up a secondary phone # somewhere (Skype?) which you don't actually take calls on.  I do think eBay is more concerned about losing revenue as I don't recall this outrage when NYS passed its law.

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by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 31 12:46:25 2020

Hmmmm .....  Does not eBay currently enforce one of their draconian rules whereby sellers get suspended for providing any type of contact information to a buyer or potential buyer?

eBay's community boards were full of shocked sellers who were suspended for giving a paid buyer their email address or phone number to answer product inquiries or help with installation.

Passage of this bill by the Louisiana legislature would poke a big old hole in eBay's iron fisted control over seller / buyer communication rules enacted to prevent off site sales.    

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by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 31 16:31:41 2020

Remember when eBay made a half hearted attempt to stop the internet sales tax? They were already planning back then to monetize it. If they can't make money on it, they will fight it, but if they can they let it slide.

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This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove
Web Site

Mon Jun 1 00:27:26 2020

OK - is no one really seeing the obvious thing here?  ebay is terrified this will result in sales "off of ebay".  It's absolutely nothing other than that.  Then they can't be the "seller of record".  The only "burden" is that they might miss out on a fee when someone makes a phone call or finds the listing elsewhere.   It's really simple folks, if you are so scared of being "spammed" publish a google voice or skype number, and keep an email address specifically for this purpose.  hundreds of thousands of businesses already have phone numbers and email published online, and don't get destroyed by spam.

Write your legislators and SUPPORT this bill.  Don't willingly fight to hand over your identity to ebay.  It's literally all you have left.  Buyers should be free to shop around.  eBay needs to sell the commodity of TRUST to their customers, not absolute and total control.  They want every sale on their site to be from "ebay".  This is nothing to do with "burdening" poor small businesses.  Eyes open.

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 1 01:16:13 2020

Once Ebay implements Managed payments there are no third part sellers on Ebay. Ebay becomes the seller, and the we become the suppliers. You cannot be the seller for an item that you do not collect the money. You become the consignee at best, but the seller is Ebay.  

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 1 01:17:07 2020

In that case, give them Ebay's address and phone number and be done with it.  

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by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 1 10:24:35 2020

As I read it, per Avalara,''high-volume third-party sellers'' would have to include their name, address, email, phone number in a ''conspicuous manner'' on their marketplace listings. I am not and never will be a ''high volume third party seller'' in any state - even my own. Although I imagine some of you posting here may meet the definition - in which case, GREAT NEWS for you because as long as you are the Seller, eBay would have to allow your contact information in your listings !!!

But Tiffee Jasso is right, once you are stuck in Managed Payments, eBay becomes the Seller of Record and we all know darn well they will only provide information and access to a broom closet in some remote area.

I doubt our take on this proposed bill will get much attention as eBay is already trying to stifle the CORRECT interpretation getting out ...  the sheep will believe them and oppose it.

 

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by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 1 10:29:08 2020

Government intrusion is always wring in a free market. Vote Libertarian

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by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 1 10:42:27 2020

@papergoy - I am in New York also and hoping you can offer further information about New York State already requiring a physical address to be listed on the account of all marketplace sellers.

I am not clear on this - where are you ''posting'' your information - you said ''accounts'' not ''sale listings.'' I have gone through the new sales tax law for NY and can't find anything about posting a physical address anywhere in the new ''Marketplace Seller'' requirements.

It has ''always'' been NY state law that if you sell more than, say, a couple of garage sales, you MUST register with the state and report sales income.  You don't even have to sell the stuff yourself, it counts if you arrange for someone else to handle actual sales on your behalf (e.g., dealers renting space in a group shop).

But I can't find anything in any ''new'' sales tax legislation that addresses whether a Marketplace Seller must ''post'' contact information anywhere ?  
I would like to know to make sure that I am in compliance myself, thanks!!

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by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 1 11:22:13 2020

I will try to find it. It came out...oh I don't know, ten years ago if I had to guess. Certainly not "new" by any means.  I'm flummoxed on how to even search for it- I know they required it because they were afraid of scammers so if you provide a physical address that would 'stop" that (like you couldn't just put any address down as I am unaware of them ever checking or verifying). Another of those laws that is there to hang you with "just in case". I'll try to find it later- like I said it's been in force for many many years.

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This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Mon Jun 1 11:34:51 2020

eBay has failed to adhere to marketplace facilitator reporting requirements to sellers. Why would they comply to this requirement?

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by: Bparty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 1 12:22:14 2020

It is not just that 200 items for me is a good weekend, all under 3.00 for the most part.
There are many problems with this bill.
1- walmart, amazon who are my main concerns - I have no control over, nor any way to put my name and address on other sellers listings.
2 - I do not want to put my name and address on 5000 listings for 7 websites, even if I wanted to I could not achieve this in under 2 months.  Not to mention I get enough spam phone calls, my warehouse address is not the address of record it is my home and I do not want it plastered all over the internet. Yes I see they except for that but since it is my business address, this will be hard to prove and on walmart it is not supposed to be a personal phone so that is a catch 22 there.   The state of louisiana already sold my phone number to the scammers long ago.  I mean really, almost immediately after registering my company with them the phone started ringing for bs stuff. And this was my business only number, not the one I give out for quotes, purchases, etc... At that time, walmart had not yet mandate it be posted.
3 - I cannot in any way shape or form attest to any registered trademark etc being properly obtained.  I buy nearly everything from large wholesalers who supposedly obtain the proper authorizations to sell the licensed products to businesses.  I am supposed to now research this for the trademark holder.  I am supposed to now police whatever trademark someone may have on thousands of items?   This is so crazy I cannot even image even amazon being able to actually do this. As a matter of fact, I know they either won't or can't because they don't now. They just take the word of any complainer even if you show them the trademark that differs from the one in question.  
4- I do not want to give my drivers license to these websites.  so they now have everything they need to steal my identity.  great.
5 - Remove any copyrighted photo - most of my photos are stock photos, if they are copyrighted, I have no idea.  I do not even know how to find out.  Again, I have no control over in some cases, nor could possibly know or have the time to delve into  the origin of every one of the photos provided by these manufacturers. It would take me years to re photograph every item to fix to specifications of each site and then list not to mention the expense involved.

As for ebay, they just suppress the listing for anyone not following the terms, the state doesn't say the marketplace can't kick us off or suppress our visibility.

I have no idea what is wrong with the legislators in Louisiana.  Their last bright idea was to give huge marketplaces and out of state sellers a big advantage on sales total price by providing a reduced sales tax rate for them. I am not eligible for this tax break so cannot pass it on to my buyers.  But any buyer who buys from a outside LA company will get a break of as much as 2% over buying from a local state company.  Example 8.45% tax if you buy from amazon but 9.45 to 10.95% tax if you buy from me. Of course, the marketplace could just keep that extra percentage if they want to.

I don't see this as ebay trying to keep my name off the listings for their own good; they will already do that with the catalog and suppression without input from the state.   Ebay will be the easiest as far as the name and address thing, I can bury that in my terms of sale already on the listings just by adding to each listing.  However, I see this as my going out of business because I cannot comply with these regulations if not because they are nutty, but also because the marketplaces won't just let me update all their listings which I do not own and are not in charge of, and if they did I could not possibly do this feat that has taken me 20 years to achieve in 2 months.  It would be easier for me to move and that is what I will be doing.

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by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 1 12:47:44 2020

@papergoy - Don't worry about searching, I had thought this was something new.  On the Certificate of Authority a business is issued, our street address is printed (we are supposed to post this document at our home base and also bring and post it at trade shows and other events where we collect sales tax).  Also an ST120 sales tax exemption form (given to a seller so you don't have to pay tax) wants your street address.

Since I do not receive USPS mail at my home I filed with the state and was given the OK to use my PO Box as a mailing address and that's how they send me correspondence now; I sometimes use that instead of an actual home address depending on the situation.

Those and income tax/sales tax filing documents are the only places I can think of where I'm required to include a home address.

Years ago, NYS issued two types of ''certificates'' issued to allow one to not pay sales tax on purchases - one type for individuals using their social security numbers; a second type for registered businesses, using their separate federal Employer Identification Numbers.

Thankfully NYS at last did away with using SSNs for ID! it was scary having to give out your SSN to some sellers, and it was also scary for people who had to post their licenses close enough for customers to be able to read their home addresses.  

I own a limited liability company with its own federal EIN number, so I am out of the loop when it comes to individual people registering to sell, or business people using another type of ID (ex., corporations or DBAs) .  

Thanks papergoy, for clarifying this isn't something new connected to the internet sales tax.


 

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