Early this week a California couple was sentenced to more than a year in prison for selling stolen toys on eBay. The couple might have never been caught had they not boasted about their exploits on the popular TV show "Dr. Phil" in 2008.
Today they're behind bars, and if eBay's new partnership with the National Retail Federation goes as planned, more retail criminals will be caught and punished in the near future.
Retail crime is a growing problem, reports the NRF. In a recent NRF survey, 73 percent of retailers polled said organized retail crime has increased in the past year. And 92 percent of those retailers said they had been victims of organized crime. The total cost of these schemes is an estimated $115 billion a year, according to reports.
In partnership with eBay, the group aims to decrease these numbers through regular meetings to discuss ways to prevent online crimes, identify criminals and collaborate on new technologies that will help reduce the number of crimes, and by working on new legislation to increase the number of resources allotted to fight organized retail crime.
"For years we have engaged online marketplaces, including eBay to partner with our retail members and take an aggressive stance against these illegal operations," notes Joe LaRocca, the NRF's senior asset protection adviser, on the organization's blog.
NRF and eBay are putting criminals on notice that they will no longer be able to… abuse the online marketplace for profit
"NRF has done a great job of shining a spotlight on the issue of organized retail crime, but retailers cannot fight this problem alone," says Paul Jones, eBay's global director of asset protection. "Through this partnership, NRF and eBay are putting criminals on notice that they will no longer be able to steal from retailers and abuse the online marketplace for profit."
The partnership will also allow for more information sharing among the two organizations to help law enforcement apprehend criminals.
"eBay has invested in a number of new resources and is making tremendous strides to assist retailers and law enforcement with tracking illegal behavior," LaRocca continues. "The partnership between NRF and eBay will create standards and best practices to stop criminals from fencing their stolen goods."
Relations between eBay and NRF have not always been harmonious. Recently, the two organizations were at odds over legislation aimed at thwarting online fencing activity—bills eBay asserted were more anti-competitive than anti-crime.
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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.