Amazon, eBay fight legislation that would unmask third-party sellers

Boxes move along a conveyor belt at the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey.

Enlarge / Boxes move along a conveyor belt at the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey. (credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Amazon and a who’s who of online-only retailers are trying to kill proposed federal and state legislation that would make the companies disclose contact information for third-party sellers.

The bills would force Amazon and others to verify the identities of third-party sellers and provide consumers with ways to contact the stores. The proposed legislation is pitting brick-and-mortar retailers—including Home Depot, Walgreens, and JC Penney, which support the bills—against online retailers like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Poshmark, and others, which argue that the legislation would harm small sellers. 

The bills come as brick-and-mortar retailers lost ground to online retailers throughout the pandemic—in 2020, 20 percent of consumer retail purchases were made online, compared with about 14 percent in 2019. But the legislation is also being proposed in response to a slew of counterfeit, stolen, and dangerous items that have appeared on marketplace sites. 

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