eBay Etsy INFORM Amendment

Why Are Etsy & eBay Scaring Sellers Regarding The Cassidy INFORM Consumers Act?


Over the weekend both Etsy and eBay contacted US sellers drawing their attention to proposed legislation at the US Senate called the Cassidy INFORM Consumers Act.

eBay led with the subject of their email as “Tell Your Senators Not To Harm Local Small Businesses!”. Meanwhile, Etsy has a dedicated page on its website with the headline, “Tell your senators to keep sellers’ private information confidential”

On the Etsy page, one of the main concerns it has is as follows: “Lawmakers have simply not considered how this bill would impact the privacy, safety, and security of Etsy sellers who run their businesses from their homes. That’s why they need to hear from you!”

Why The Cause For Alarm?

The core of the issue stems from a part of the INFORM (Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act) which will require contact details for sellers to be made available on marketplace platforms.

Whilst this is commonplace for larger sellers with dedicated business premises, this would be understandably worrying if you were running your business from your home and forced to divulge these same details.

I don’t think any small business would feel comfortable knowing their home address and personal phone number was available for anyone to see on marketplace listings.

If you are interested you can see the full bill on the Congress website here.

The piece of the bill which has seemed to cause this concern from eBay and Etsy is the following section which states:

“Sec 2 (b) (1): Any online marketplace shall require a high-volume third-party seller on the online marketplace to provide, and shall disclose to consumers in a conspicuous manner on the product listing or through a conspicuously placed link on the product listing, the following information:

(A) Subject to paragraph (2), the identity of the high-volume third party seller which shall include—
(i) the full name of the seller;
(ii) the full business address of the seller;
(iii) whether the seller engages in the manufacturing, importing, retail, or reselling of consumer products; and
(iv) contact information for the seller, including a phone number and working email address.”

Senate Bill 3431

The INFORM Act identifies a high-volume third-party seller as: “a user of an online marketplace who is a third-party seller and who, in any continuous 12-month period during the previous 24 months, has entered into 200 or more discrete sales or transactions of new or unused consumer products resulting in the accumulation of an aggregate total of $5,000 or more in gross revenues.”

By anyone’s standards those criteria are incredibly low to be considered a ‘High volume seller’ and we could maybe understand some hesitation on that point.

Why are eBay and Etsy Ignoring The Exceptions?

Whilst there has been some coverage of eBay and Etsy publicly getting involved in this and seemingly trying to mobilize their sellers to put enough pressure on Congress through their Senators to block this bill.

Etsy are blatantly using language aimed to scare sellers into believing their personal details will be available for everyone to see online if they are a home-based business.

For many home-based business owners, this legislation would mean sharing your personal information widely online, including your full name, home address, telephone number, and email address.

Etsy Statement

From our understanding though this is simply not true (Just to clarify here at eSeller365 we are not lawyers) but there is a very clear exception stated in the bill which surely alleviates all of Etsy and eBay’s fearmongering for sellers.

(A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subparagraph (B), upon the request of a high-volume third-party seller, an online marketplace may provide for partial disclosure of the identity information required under paragraph (1)(A) in the following situations:

(i) If the high-volume third party seller demonstrates to the online marketplace that the seller does not have a business address and only has a personal street address, the online marketplace may direct the high-volume third-party seller to disclose only the country and, if applicable, the State in which the high-volume third-party seller resides on the product listing, and may inform consumers that there is no business address available for the seller and that consumer inquiries should be submitted to the seller’s email address.

(ii) If a high-volume third party seller demonstrates to the online marketplace that the seller does not have a phone number other than a personal phone number, the online marketplace may inform consumers that there is no phone number available for the seller and that consumer inquiries should be submitted to the seller’s email address.

Senate Bill 3431

So this leaves us to ask the question of what is the real motive for eBay and Etsy to oppose the INFORM Act so strongly. Surely both parties didn’t just miss this huge section on the exception? Maybe assuming sellers wouldn’t check for themselves the wording of the INFORM Act they are hoping to use their influence to stop this getting through Congress.

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  1. James Nichols says:

    If our email is listed customers could contact us directly. Ebay would not like this.

    1. Ahhhh of course! Totally forgot about that, it isn’t about the address as this is obviously in the exception. But yes if they required an email address then this could bypass eBay’s messaging system. Nice spot James!

    2. I don’t care to give my email out but I will be damned if I am going to publish my address and phone number for the whole crazies in the world to see.

  2. One of the big concerns for eBay has to be their huge base of Chinese sellers who often pretend to be based / shipping out of the USA to appeal to more customers. eBay has made it very clear that this is their primary drive now and the small mom and pop local sellers are not. Disclosing the location of these sellers as China would probably have a huge negative effect for them.

  3. Well, ETSY is a carefully maintained illusion of a company that supports small individual sellers and offers unique original handmade products to their stubbornly loyal customer base while at the same time their ACTUAL financial operations are solely focused on selling massive amounts of the same cheap mass produced junk as their competitor marketplaces only with an added cost that that “handmade” charm earns them on top of the entire marketplace being a huge false advertisement campaign on a global scale.

    They aggressively promote China based factories and their proxy accounts on their platform being crudely masked as accounts that are owned by individuals who live and have small businesses in the United States.

    Imagine how much trouble this would cause if Etsy had to actually disclose where their ACTUAL INDEPENDENT CREATORS THAT THEY ARE CLAIMING TO SUPPORT ARE LOCATED. Not very helpful in maintaining the integrity of their absurdly fake public image.

    Someone might notice that the most promoted and most influential accounts on Etsy that receive disproportionately high amount of favoritism on their search results just happen too be the ones that are registered in China…..
    Or that the same address is repeated over and over again…..
    And finally that the small business owners are ALWAYS unmistakably the last ones to get boost from Etsy or become featured in their catalogues that solely represent the products that are popular vs products that are unique.

    Chinese companies have developed an entire industry that targets”handmade sector” by creating a series of photos for their products that imitate “handmade” appearance of something that looks more original compared to standard product images. These work well for not so attentive buyer……Etsy allows and supports selling items that are simply made to seem handmade…… At the expense of the REAL SMALL BUSINESSES OWNED BY INDIVIDUALS.

    Etsy and their policies have to be investigated by the appropriate consumer rights protection authorities and other groups that are involved in investigating instances of unfair and biased business practices that may uncover Etsy’s years of abuse and misconduct towards the group of Etsy sellers who happen to depend upon the platform for their only source of income. I GUARANTEE THAT THE TRUTH UNCOVERED DURING SUCH AN INVESTIGATION WILL SHOCK MOST PEOPLE. People are used to being silenced and treated like someone who doesn’t matter and doesn’t deserve the same treatment as other people using Etsy platform. Particularly when it comes to deciding outcomes of disputes. Etsy almost never reimburse an Etsy seller who has been cheated on Etsy by a dishonest seller…. Why?….. I alone have a dozen of examples that scream discrimination based on my dependency on Etsy as my only income source. My experience has been horrific and I simply don’t complain anymore because I know that I will not be given the same attention as a regular Etsy buyer….or a manufacturer from China. Which Etsy do not use to boost their public appeal. If they favor Chinese brands they should SAY THAT OUT LOUD. BECAUSE THEY SUPPRESS SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS TO PROMOTE CHINESE PRODUCTS. ITS A FACT.

    I can contribute towards this effort by providing relevant information and obtaining additional evidence to support this claim.

    If you take two identical cases opened by an unsatisfied buyer on Etsy without a seller account and virtually an identical case opened by an unsatisfied buyer on Etsy who also has a seller account (income-providing seller account to be specific) you will see two different decisions made in favor of a regular buyer and a GUARANTEED UNFAVORABLE DECISION on a case opened by the Etsy customer who happens to be an Etsy seller.

    Etsy has crossed many lines of illicit business practices with the clear intent to mislead the consumer trust and manipulate the information that creates a falsely appealing public image to generate profit with a complete disregard to consumers’ confidence safety and its moral code of ethical human conduct in any situation.

    I would love to see them being held accountable by the law of this land.

    Please suggest where I can be helpful to someone who needs evidence against ETSY and their unethical business practices. I am determined to do my best to expose them even though it doesn’t benefit me personally. And I know I am not alone in this. Etsy have abused a lot of good people who deserved better. I’m not interested in any financial gain from sharing my information. It’s purely an act of seeking justice and protection for those who are not getting it right now.

  4. Basically, I was looking for any information about what I can do to help expose Etsy for the fraud that it truly is. That’s why I found this page.
    And then I got carried away writing about everything.
    If anyone has any suggestions or wants to collaborate on this project, please let me know. A combined effort is always better especially against such a huge corporation.
    And like I said, I am not looking to make any money on this.
    Just clarifying the reasons for the novel I wrote above. lol.

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