House Bill 272 spearheaded by State Rep. Haraz N. Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) passed the Ohio House Wednesday with strong bipartisan support. The legislation requires high-volume, third-party online, sellers to disclose certain pieces of identifying information to protect consumers.
“The goal of this bill is simple, to ensure that high-volume third-party online sellers are playing fair and that consumers have adequate revenues of recourse when those sellers do business in less than honest ways,” said Ghanbari.
Specifically, the bill defines a high-volume third-party seller as a participant in an online marketplace that, in any continuous 12-month period in the previous 24 months has entered into at least 200 discreet sales for new or unused consumer goods resulting in at least $5,000 of gross revenue. The required identifying information for sellers on product listings would include details such as name, email address, or business tax I.D. number and would further require the online marketplace to verify such information within ten days of the seller qualifying as high volume.
Ghanbari noted having this information available will allow consumers to be able to contact these sellers if necessary. Additionally, the bill allows the Attorney General to adopt rules to enforce the bill’s provisions. Ghanbari also notes House Bill 272 will help combat organized crime as he identified that crime rings find a source of revenue through the online selling of stolen or counterfeit goods.
“Another benefit to passing this bill is that it will deliver a major blow to organized retail crime here in the state of Ohio,” Ghanbari added. “It’s common practice for individuals to enter into brick-and-mortar businesses, rob them and then sell these items, these stolen products, on the online marketplace and use the ill-gotten gains to further their criminal enterprise.”
Ghanbari acknowledges the dedication of law enforcement on this issue and recently rode with officers from the Perrysburg Township Police Department and a national news crew reporting on the efforts to combat online retail crimes occurring within the Northwest Ohio region. The representative continues to support law enforcement and launched a nationwide initiative known as the #RideAlongAndLearn challenge to encourage elected officials to engage with their local law enforcement and first responders.
Ghanbari was joined by State Rep. Phil Plummer as a joint-sponsor of the bill that passed in the House with a bipartisan vote of 75-20-4. House Bill 272 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.