Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Aug 27 2013 21:29:22

Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

EcommerceBytes has covered in depth the issue of regulation (and regulatory attempts) on consignment sellers and eBay drop-off stores, but did you know the retail industry was lobbying legislators to pass similar regulations that apply to flea markets?

If you regularly attend flea markets and collectibles shows, you may be familiar with fly-by-night operators who travel around the country selling stolen, counterfeit and pirated goods. The retail industry is lobbying legislators to pass regulations to help reduce what it calls "organized retail crime," which includes theft by shoplifters and employees for resale.

In a Boston Business Journal article titled, "Retailers return to State House to push bill that would crack down on organized crime," I read with great interest that legislators had stripped out certain elements of a bill - "such as a proposed ban on the sale of certain items in flea markets,..."

I could not find the original bill, but found this article about legislation in Indianapolis enacted last year that subjects flea markets to the same rules as pawn shops.

According to the article, flea market operators must be licensed if they sell certain types of products and are required to collect information from anyone who sells them such items, similar to regulations already in effect for pawn shops.

"The law requires flea market operators to collect a thumb print from the seller, and keep records of the person's driver license or other photo identification. It also requires a ledger be kept with a description of what the person looks like and the license tag on the vehicle they were driving. Finally, the law requires that "regulated items" cannot be sold until 10 days after the information about the seller and the item is submitted to a police database."

What do you think of the push to crack down on the sale of stolen and counterfeit goods at flea markets? It's not just a matter of harm to manufacturers and retailers - product safety is at issue, such as the case with baby formula. But on the other hand, flea markets are the ultimate free market enterprise.

Share your thoughts, especially if you buy or sell at flea markets!




Comments (32) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 27 21:47:35 2013

More regulations are not what the last free market needs. What we do need is to exhibit more common sense.

There are a number of items which should not be purchased at flea markets; baby formula is one of them. There will never be enough law written to protect those who are not bright enough to know the difference.

More bureaucratic limitations will do nothing more than stifle the market place. Let the customers use their own best judgment and leave the governing out of the process.

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 27 21:53:56 2013

On top of that, if they sterilize flea markets by governing them, the last free enterprise will lose the one thing which makes them fun and unique. The element of risk and excitement of getting a onetime special deal.

Surely they will be adding more tax collection while they're at it.

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: JoyfulA This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 00:06:54 2013

I suppose yard sales are next.

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Aug 28 00:18:20 2013

@Xander,

You should not be able to buy stolen goods at a flea market either; if there is logic in requiring bricks and mortar pawn shops and the like to be licensed (and keep records), it is even more logically so that fly-by-night professional sellers at organized flea markets should also be required to be licensed; then, when you find that the goods you have bought were stolen goods, you might have some recourse; of course, needless to say, eBay will be fighting tooth and nail against any such law, they being probably the greatest purveyor of stolen goods and calculated facilitator of wire fraud that has ever been let loose on the consumers of the world … I’m for licensing …

“Man, we’ve got something special [at eBay]. Don’t screw it up.”—Maynard Webb (2003)
And then, along came John Donahoe ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 01:57:26 2013

I must not be going to the "right" kind of fleas .
if I haven't seen BABY FORMULA being sold

Now who in their RIGHT MIND would buy BABY FORMULA at--a flea market???   Sham wow and Fiesta Ware--yes.  Baby food--no.

Done.

And as a seller--what exactly do they MEAN by "The seller of the item needs to give a thumb print and then (someone) needs to get their LICENSE PLATE?"

Um--I am--beyond confused.  Does this mean--If I go  to a flea market and want to BUY something--I have to give my thumbprint?  Etc?


Or---if I buy an item from say a garage sale to sell AT a flea market---do I then need to get the thumb print  of THAT seller and THEIR car license plate?  

When you go to a PAWN SHOP you DO have to provide some proof of who you are etc---ditto for selling gold etc (or at least in NY and NJ where I have worked in those business types and also sold to them).  But---these are business' where you as the store OWNER are approached "blind" by the PUBLIC. And you are being asked to --yes-- operate as IF the items were possibly stolen  .  And sadly sometimes they have been.

At a flea market--or at least the few I have sold at in the past---I brought my stuff.  I set it up,  I sold it--and I went home!   I did not have people coming to ME to sell stuff from under their trench coats!  


OR--are they talking about a SELLER at a BOOTH with--stolen baby formula?  

I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around who is getting and who is giving that thumbprint and drivers license and description and car tags.  Do you have to chase them into the parking lot for those tags?  What if these highly skilled baby formula thieves take objection to this and shoot you?

But--in a word or less--NO.  This is the COPS job and should not be handed over to Joe Vigilante.  WE saw how well THAT worked in Florida now didn't we.  

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Wed Aug 28 02:08:27 2013

What the problem is the every day items that people use and there are people that sell them at flea markets. Many times these items have been stolen from retail stores and it has been going on for a long time. This is nothing new and everyone knows about it.
A friend of mine is a manager at a Walgreens in a small community 80 miles NW of Chicago. In the last quarter they lost over 30K in Baby formula from shoplifting. If it goes on in that small area you can imagine how much goes on in other stores in much larger areas.
Where does the items show up? In Flea markets just like Ina describes in her article above.
Like I said it is nothing new since years ago they would jack a truck load but now that is difficult because of communications so they hit the store and have their operatives doing the shoplifting for them.

Bill

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Aug 28 02:26:54 2013

No. Not until adequate regulations are in place to protect us from the retail stores whose probable principle motive is to stop people from reselling their items at a lower price.

I think they use "product safety" as a cover story and are far more concerned with their profitability.

There's no regulation or law in the statute books that can prohibit or eliminate stupidity.

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Aug 28 02:35:23 2013

All that baby formula being stolen—Wow! Maybe these people are simply habitual breeders and can't afford to buy enough of the stuff ...

“The beatings will continue until morale improves”—Anon …
... unless you are supplying eBay with lots of FVFs on sales—real or faux ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: sundance This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 03:11:59 2013

It wouldn't bother me to go through some sort of check or registration to sell at flea markets.  It would protect me as a seller, to cull out the folks who sell illegal goods. I'd get more business which my bank account would like.  ;)  

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 03:17:38 2013

We have been in the used and antique retail business for over 26 years at the same location.

As has been pointed out already, people need to use common sense. It isn't very difficult to ascertain when something someone is trying to sell you has possibly been stolen. If we are suspicious, we say, ''No'', especially if we don't know the person. The only police we ever deal with are our customers and friends.

Coming down hard on retail stores is not going to solve the problem of shoplifting and employee theft. The stores need to have the security to deal with it while it is happening, not after the fact.

My first thought, like Ming, was that stores are desperate to stop the resale of items at a lower price. If a person has bought something and no longer needs it, they should be able to sell the item to someone else, without government regulation.

Sometimes I honestly am amazed at how stupid people can be. Who the heck would buy baby food or formula from a flea market or used goods store? Or, food of any kind.  

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: Puamelia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 03:18:06 2013

When did John Donahoe become a legislator in Indianapolis?

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

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

Wed Aug 28 05:07:04 2013

I think regulation of any kind will end up hurting all sellers. It will not produce an influx of income for the those who are naive enough to believe that if you kill off all the competition, you will get the lion's share of the market. History shows that if you deplete the income of mom & pop sellers, housewives, elderly, etc., who's left with to spend money? The wealthy? That's doubtful as they generally shop at better department stores and in general are not looking for cheap widgets or collectibles.  

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

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

Wed Aug 28 06:01:42 2013

I had a large antique store for years - and, I was such a gracious owner and I always walked outside with a client who sold me items. Just a chatty frienndly host who, also, quietly took down the license number of the vehicle and added it to the other information I collected. Just common sense for a shop owner doing doing due dilligence.  Being responsible for knowing the source if your product - seems to me that that falls under being a responsible shop owner. Why would that be an issue to any Vendor?

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Aug 28 07:03:28 2013

If they are so concerned, surprised retail is not asking flea markets to do as many of them do (per local news story):  Cameras to follow a path through the store and facial recognition to anticipate what buyers want in advance;) Or so they say.

It is a bit incredible that folks buy formula at a flea market, but then, buying breast milk online is equally astounding to me! (another local news story)

Next perhaps will be the rental of nursing she-wolves to solve your baby's hunger problems, a la Romulus & Remus.  

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 07:38:18 2013

How about passing a law to REQUIRE common sense?  That is what is lacking.
Please tell me how to know the difference of an item that has been stolen and one that wasn't.? To walk out of your store to hopefully get a tag number is asking for problems. Guess it only works if you have a number of employees. If you are the only one there - an easy prey to get robbed. Same applies to a flea market. Leave your booth unattended and just hope that your neighbor will keep an eye on it - get real. I have done many flea markets-no way to get a tag number.
If someone is at a flea market with a booth full of Walgreen or = merchandise, then it is up to the market operators to notify local police to check. Odds are the local police will not  bother.
Anyone that buys baby formula or any food type item at a flea market is where the expression '' Buyer Beware'' comes to mind.
As far as getting a thumb print and tag number is not feasible.
The best you can do is to restrict certain items - like weapons.  
The local CVS has certain OTC items behind the counter to prevent shoplifting. Easy system for those stores to cut down on shoplifting.
More than once I have purchased electronic items from a pawn shop on ebay (not sure if it just name or legal pawn shop) where the serial numbers have been removed. Correct me if I am wrong but I thought that was pretty much illegal in all states.
 

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: Artchick This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 08:44:33 2013

I don't think it should be regulated by any formal presence, but buyers should be able to do some kind of database search on the spot for items with serial numbers- for electronics items in particular.
As for the baby formula... I have NEVER seen it for sale at a flea market, and would be highly suspect of it if I ever did see it. It is probably being shoplifted for use in making methamphetamine, and I am surprised that it is not behind the pharmacy counter in that walgreens like it is in many stores for that reason.

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 09:49:20 2013

Th last bastion of free markets under attack. This would eliminate traveling sellers bot legit and dishonest. Also stop people with records from being able to sell. The USA has too much regulation today. ENUFFFFFF

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

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

Wed Aug 28 10:05:44 2013

THIS STATEMENT IS INCORRECT for antique shows (you may be familiar with fly-by-night operators who travel around the country selling stolen, counterfeit and pirated goods ) Whoever thinks that is the biggest BUBBLE HEAD! That does occur at flea markets now and then but NOT antique shows for the most part. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but more often then not it just isn't the way. I have traveled to antique shows and flea markets and 99.9% of us are honest hard working people. How dare someone make such an absurd statement as that! Why don't they say half the stuff on ebay is stolen? thats where a lot of counterfeit and or stolen stuff ends up. NOT at shows.


The only thing that should be regulated at flea markets are the GOLD and SILVER buyers that don't pay to set up  and walk around buying it.

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

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

Wed Aug 28 10:22:31 2013

This bill is all about govt. control of the people. NOTHING MORE. The government wants everyone to be controlled by them. They HATE free thinking free enterprising people or groups. Government wants FULL control!

Perminate Link for Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?   Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 28 10:54:03 2013

The local flea market has become just like ebarf ... originally it was a place for average people to sell their used goods , now it is full of sleazeballs selling mass produced and knockoff chinese goods.

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.