Florida state

As Organized Retail Theft Soars in Florida, State Lawmakers Seek to Regulate Online Retail Platforms

To follow the latest local news, subscribe to our TV20 newsletter HERE and receive news directly to your email every morning.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAP NEWS/WCJB) – High-end armed robberies are plaguing retailers across the state.

The Florida Retail Federation says organized retail theft is skyrocketing. In December alone, a high-end Palm Beach handbag retailer lost $1.5 million in merchandise.

To counter this trend, state lawmakers may soon require online merchants to know more about who is selling on their platforms.

“69% increase across the board, and it’s not just big-box retailers, it’s all retail,” said CEO Scott Shalley, “And it’s organized entities, it’s not is not shoplifting.”

Senate Bill 944 would require eBay and other intermediaries between sellers and remote buyers to verify, identify and contact the information of anyone selling more than $20,000 a year on a platform. Senator Dennis Baxley is sponsoring the bill.

“Registration of online marketplaces will allow us to detect stolen goods much faster,” Baxley told us.

Walgreens and Home Depot expressed their support. eBay lobbyist Jim Daughton urged lawmakers to wait for a federal solution.

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

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

“So SB 944 is reported favorably,” committee chairman Ed Hooper said.

After the vote, Baxley said, “Florida is leading the way. We say we are not going to tolerate this, we are going to interrupt the sales process. »

The online registry would act like a traditional pawnshop that collects information on who is selling what and often recovers stolen goods.

The Florida Retail Federation believes the registry will get results.

“These are individuals selling high-volume, high-volume products that are still new in the box. If you get two blends for your wedding gift and are going to sell them online, that certainly makes sense. If you get twenty-five a year, that’s a bit suspicious, so we’d like to be able to track those individuals,” Shalley said.

Online facilitators who fail to comply with the law could face fines of up to $10,000.

The law is expected to come into effect in July, but eBay says it wants more time if it passes.

TRENDING STORY: NCFL Counties See Unemployment Drop in Latest Jobs Report; Florida posts job gains for 14th straight month

Copyright 2022 WCJB Florida Partners. All rights reserved. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.