Identity verification may be required for online sellers in Florida


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) – High-end smash-and-grab robberies are plaguing retailers across the county and here in Florida where a high end handbag retailer in Palm Beach lost $1.5 million in merchandise in December alone.

State lawmakers may soon require online merchants to know more about who is selling on their platforms.

The Florida Retail Federation says organized retail theft is skyrocketing in Florida.

“Sixty-nine percent increase across the board, and it’s not just big box retailers.  It’s all retail. And these are organized entities. This is not shoplifting,” said CEO Scott Shalley.

Senate Bill 944 would require Ebay and other middle men between remote sellers and buyers to verify identify and contact information for anyone who sells more than $20,000 a year on a platform. Senator Dennis Baxley is sponsoring the bill.

“Registration of the marketplaces on line will allow us to detect stolen merchandise much quicker,” Baxley said.

Walgreens and Home Depot voiced support. Ebay lobbyist Jim Daughton asked lawmakers to wait for a federal solution.

“Obviously we prefer the Federal bill to pass,” said Daughton.

But a Senate Committee decided the state couldn’t wait for something that might not happen at all.

“So, SB 944 is reported favorably,” announced Committee Chair Ed Hooper

Following the vote, Baxley told us, “Florida is leading the way. We’re saying we’re not going to tolerate that. We’re going to interrupt the sales process.”

Think of this online registry as a traditional pawn shop that collects information about  who is selling what and often recovers stolen property.

The Florida Retail Federation believes the registry will get results.

“This is about individuals who are selling high volume, high volume goods that are still in the box brand new. If you get two blends for your wedding gift and you go to sell them online, that certainly makes sense. If you get twenty five in a year, that’s a little suspicious. So we’d like to be able to track those individuals,” said Shalley.

Online facilitators who don’t follow the law could face fines of up to $10,000.

The law is set to take effect in July, but Ebay says it would like more time if it passes.



Jyoti Upadhyay is a young digital marketing executive with an avid interest in content writing. She believes that there is something new to learn every day and from everyone. You can find more details about her, here.

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