Update: The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Sept. 28 that proposes to set up a unit within the Department of Justice to fight organized retail crime. The measure now will go to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on an eBay-supported bill that would establish a specialized unit within the Department of Justice to fight against organized retail crime.
Known as H.R. 5932, the bill would establish an Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Unit, define organized retail theft, require the attorney general to submit reports and recommendations on preventing these crimes, and allot $5 million per year until 2015 to the new unit.
eBay and other retailers have backed the bill, which was introduced in July.
"We believe this bill is key to protecting both retailers and consumers against the massive economic costs and very real public health and safety risks posed by organized retail crime," notes Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection adviser for the National Retail Federation.
According to the FBI, merchants lose between $15 billion and $30 billion every year because of organize retail theft. And an estimated 89 percent of retailers say they have been victims of this in the last year.
Criminals typically swipe "everyday" products that are in high demand and then resell them in pawn shops, flea markets or online, officials say. But these crimes don't just hurt retailers, they also hurt consumers, who may have to pay higher prices to offset retailers' losses. eBay and other retailers have supported this bill.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.