The retail industry claims it loses $30 billion a year from organized retail crime—rings of professional shoplifters who sell their goods at flea markets, pawn shops, and online through auction sites like eBay—so they’re asking online sellers to help by posting serial numbers of products and by providing more information on high-volume sellers. Right now all they can do is ask, but there are politicians in Washington who are making noises about pursuing a legislative solution.
The main issue is how much (or little) online retailers cooperate with loss-prevention investigators at brick and mortar stores. Currently, they don’t: they provide information on sellers to law enforcement authorities, but not to corporate investigators.
“We need to take a new approach,” said Brad Brekke, vice president for assets protection at Target Corp. “Internet auction sites could make simple changes, making high-volume sellers identify themselves and provide unique product identities.”
Robert Chesnut, senior vice president of rules, trust and safety at eBay Inc, said it was reasonable “to think about what we could do about high-volume sellers.” But he said sellers are generally nervous about posting their names, addresses and telephone numbers on product listings.
“U.S. retailers want online sellers to fight theft” [Reuters]