|Tue Aug 27 2013 21:29:22|
Should Flea Markets Be Regulated the Same as Pawn Shops?
By: Ina Steiner
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!