The Goverment Continues To Attack Online Selling

As you may know, the U.S. Congress is currently considering new laws for digital marketplaces in an effort to further crack down on illegal activity, particularly anyone trying to sell counterfeit or stolen goods online. While we wholeheartedly support that goal and continue to work hard to strengthen protections for shoppers and sellers, there are some concerning aspects to the proposals being debated that could end up limiting your rights to resell your own property. Here’s what we’re doing about it, and how you can voice your concerns with lawmakers.

What is the SHOP SAFE Act?

The Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-commerce (“SHOP SAFE”) Act (H.R. 5374/S. 1843) is a bill currently in Congress. Among other things, it would require online marketplaces like Mercari to collect sensitive personal information in the form of a government ID from everyone on the platform before they list any item for sale. We would also be required to extensively pre-screen items before allowing them for sale – which could slow your sales – and in some cases, to terminate seller accounts if someone complains about the items offered.

What does SHOP SAFE mean for you?

We think these and other provisions in the SHOP SAFE Act place an unreasonable burden on legitimate online sellers to turn over sensitive personal information before even attempting to make a sale. We don’t believe that a new mother, for example, should have to submit her driver’s license to sell unused baby clothes, but that’s what the SHOP SAFE Act mandates.

We built Mercari as an online consumer-to-consumer marketplace connecting millions of people across the U.S. to shop and sell items no longer being used. Since opening our doors in the U.S. less than 7 years ago, we’ve grown to about 350 dedicated employees, all managing over 50 million downloads and 42 million individual accounts. We take pride in focusing on the everyday shopper and casual seller, rather than professional sellers. Unfortunately, laws like the SHOP SAFE Act often end up benefiting the largest online marketplaces that cater to established businesses and sellers who already have the resources and procedures in place to comply.

What is Mercari doing about it?

Since day one, our priority has been to keep dangerous, counterfeit, or otherwise illegal items out of our marketplace and we have invested heavily in our Trust & Safety program to verify identities and proactively identify and remove prohibited items. Mercari also has “Notice and Takedown” procedures and removes items escalated by brands that violate their intellectual property.

We don’t want counterfeit and other prohibited items on our platform and we take actions to deter violators. We do want to provide a safe and easy platform to help people earn money from the things they don’t need anymore from the comfort and safety of their home.

Mercari has also engaged with lawmakers and other elected officials to strengthen our laws even further against criminal activity online. To that end, we support the “Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers,” or INFORM Consumers Act. This bill being considered now in the U.S. Congress would place new responsibilities on marketplaces to verify the identities of certain sellers and share information to deter and punish criminals operating on our platforms. Unlike the SHOP SAFE Act, the INFORM Consumers Act takes a balanced approach that preserves the vast majority of users’ personal information while giving law enforcement new tools to go after bad actors. That’s why it’s supported by a wide range of consumer and business groups, including Consumer Reports and the National Association of Manufacturers.

What can you do about it?

Both the SHOP SAFE Act and the INFORM Act are currently being debated in the House of Representatives and Senate. If you agree that the laws shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to policing individual sellers and large-scale distributors, you can reach out to your elected lawmakers directly at (202) 224-3121 and encourage them to oppose the SHOP SAFE Act and support the INFORM Consumers Act. You can also use your zip code to find email addresses for your local Congressperson here or Senator here.


While I hate this kind of law, they already require my ID based on the volume I have sold on Mercari. eBay did it too.

Please note: feel free to talk about this proposed legislation but please keep the politics out of the conversation. Thanks.


I hope this means that the FBI will prosecute Comicxsposure


There is a guy on Mercari making all sorts of bootleg Frank Cho covers.

Oh yeah I blocked that guy “Brian’s Comics” long ago one of those that sell facsimiles for $100 and doesn’t mention it’s a facsimile in the listing.


So, they are trying to stop the United States 3rd party resellers from selling knockoffs, but they can’t do anything about Aliexpress and the like. This is all about making more profits. They still can’t stop China from pumping out cheaper alternatives.


How? I’m not trying to be an ass but this is literally all politics. It’s 100% lobbyists vs government overreach with government shortcomings mixed in.


Perhaps staying away from partisan tribal ‘politics’ is more accurate way of saying Anthonys point. :beers:

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Yes. That was my interpretation.

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It’s too bad the legitimate intent of this is to do away with “bootleg” goods because some of the best Star Wars action figures out there right now are fan made “bootlegs.”


It’s government cucking to corporate “donation” dollars and doing it under the guise of “protecting the consumer”.

I recall an NFL ad where they said "don’t buy counterfeit jerseys. You’re supporting slave labor and human trafficking ". Meanwhile the NFL exclusively uses Nike for their jerseys, who I am sure are paying the Honduran people $15/hr, benefits, and they get to unionize.

Rewind to early COVID lockdowns, when Bob’s Shoes wasn’t allowed to sell their goods, but Wal-Mart was. Joe’s Diner had to close down, but McDonald’s could stay open. Sheen-Estevez Nursery was closed, but Home Depot was open.

Bottom line: the corporate elite are protecting their high profits.


The number of entities that are bootlegging is smaller than those that don’t. Unfortunately, solutions by the government always impact everyone, and have never been good at isolating and correcting the problem. It used to be blunt force, which is sometimes still used. Now it is just blunt ignorance.

I agree that counterfeiting should be weeded out, but I think the online organizations should be dealing with this themselves without the help of the government.



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I see that reference. Very clever.

No, this is policy. Not politics. It’s very easy to have a policy disagreement/debate without getting hyperbolic and bringing in politics or demonizing. Please keep this in mind or this thread will likely get locked.

Now that that’s out of the way. Yes, this appears to be taking a cannon to a slap fight and will further burden small time sellers using online marketplaces. What can be done to prevent this is to put a face or a name to the argument Mercari and others are trying to make. Call your member of Congress. They will also be on a 2 week recess soon and will be in their districts. See if you can set up a meeting or go to a public event they are at to tell them about your opposition to the policy being considered and tell them about the INFORM Act. I know it doesn’t seem like that will help, but believe me it does.

These types of policies keep coming from the same…‘place’… and it’s no secret. That’s why there’s always the “keep politics out of it” disclaimer when that’s the case… to avoid putting it out in the open for discussion. I never see the disclaimer when the conversation is about an issue coming from the other… ‘place’…

If a policy is being discussed as problematic and I want to propose a solution which includes being more careful about voting for people who are likely to introduce such policies, I should be allowed to do so and not silenced with a “no politics” rule that is not applied universally.

I’m sorry but that is approaching censorship. And passive aggressive comments like “well you can do this” or “he means this” are not helpful at all.

With regard to this specific policy, I get wanting to prevent fraud or selling fakes, but overreach is never the answer.

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It certainly has that “punishing everyone” rather than addressing the root cause which is likely 0.01% of the actual population of sellers…

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That’s fine and I agree, however as per Anthony’s request, we should be discussing the legislation in question.

I think we all agree, it’s a bad bill. And believe me, nothing gets in the way of corporate interests more than thousands of angry consultants flooding the phone lines and showing up at town halls. I’ve seen my share of corporate backed bills go belly up, or corporate opposition lose out to the will of constituents. It’s all about tracking harmful legislation and understanding how to mobilize a constituency.


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