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South Dakota sues four big online retailers over sales tax

BY CSA STAFF

South Dakota has filed a lawsuit against four online retailers, joining a growing number of other states in a battle that could well end up in the Supeme Court, according to a report by corporatecounsel.com

The South Dakota Department of Revenue filed suit against online retailers Wayfair Inc., Systemax Inc., Overstock.com Inc. and Newegg Inc. as defendants. South Dakota is the latest state to join the long-simmering controversey over whether online retailers should be required to charge sales tax in states where they don’t have a physical presence. To read more, click here

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Survey: Low-tech online fraud detection remains popular

BY CSA STAFF

Manual security remains prominent among North American retailers despite a predicted increase in fraud related to card not present (CNP) transactions.

According to the “Annual Fraud Benchmark Report,” a survey of 307 North American retailers commissioned by payment management company CyberSource Corp. (a Visa subsidiary) and conducted by Confirmit, 83% of North American businesses conduct manual reviews of online orders, and on an average they review 29% of orders manually. On average, 46% of online fraud budgets are dedicated to order review staff, compared to 32% on internally developed tools and systems and 22% on third-party tools and services.

In addition, fraud management budgets are essentially flat. The majority of respondents (61%) expect their budgets for fraud management operations to stay the same over the coming 12 months, and 7% even expect them to decline.

However, despite a frequent reliance on manual order review and flat budgets, not all online fraud news is bad. For example, 62% of respondents track fraud losses by order channel. According to CyberSource, tracking fraud losses by order channel puts businesses in a better position to tune and improve their fraud management performance in each of the channels they serve.

And online fraud rates are going down in the major CNP transaction channels of web and mobile. On average, respondents lost 0.8% of their online revenue to fraud in 2015, compared to 0.9% in 2013 and 1% in 2012. In the mobile channel, the percentage of online revenue fraud loss dropped to 0.5% in 2015, from 0.9% in 2014 and 1.4% in 2013.

However, e-commerce fraud losses represented 0.5% of respondents’ online revenue in 2015, down from 0.8% in 2013, but slightly up from 0.4% in 2012.

Retailers are also rejecting more online orders due to suspicion of fraud. Respondents rejected 2.8% of U.S. and Canadian online orders for this reason in 2015, compared to 2.3% the prior year.

The percentage of fraudulent online transactions that are discovered by banks or other payment providers, known as chargebacks, has dropped substantially to 28% in 2015 from 43% in 2012. CyberSource says this decline is due to factors including retailers encouraging customers to set up online accounts and issuing more credits to trusted shoppers.

The rate of disputed online chargebacks has remained level at 53%. In one other good piece of chargeback-related news, the percentage of disputes retailers win has slightly risen to 43% from 41% in 2013.

The study also looked at rates of adoption of online fraud detection tools. The most-used solutions include address verification service (86%), card verification number (86%), postal address verification services (67%), and Google Maps lookup (64%). Only 1% use biometric indicators, such as a fingerprint or retina scan.

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Lighting Rebate Trends

BY CSA STAFF

About two-thirds (64%) of the United States is covered by prescriptive lighting rebates, according to BriteSwitch, a rebate fulfillment company. These rebates can significantly reduce the installed cost of new lighting in existing buildings and improve payback by 20%-25%, which would reduce a two-year payback to about 1.5 years.

Despite the proliferation of the LED source, traditional lighting product rebates remain available.

The most popular rebates are for high-pressure sodium, ceramic metal halide, pulse-start metal halide, high-bay T8 and T5HO and induction lighting upgrades.

After the phase-out of a majority of linear T12 lamps in 2012, the baseline has switched from T12 to T8. Funding has moderated, but rebates are available that can cover a significant portion of the installed cost, resulting in a satisfying payback for installing these solutions.

In 2016, many rebate programs have begun to focus more heavily on LED products. The most popular rebates cover downlights, track lighting, high-bays, garage luminaires, linear luminaires, outdoor pole luminaires and linear replacement lamps.

Linear replacement lamps previously covered by custom rebates are now being increasingly covered by prescriptive rebates.

Average rebates are continuing to decline as LED product costs fall. In 2015, the average LED product rebate declined 20-30%, according to BriteSwitch. The company expects a more modest 5% decrease in 2016.

Controls
Lighting controls continue to be included in the large majority of prescriptive rebate programs. In contrast with other technologies, average rebate dollars have remained somewhat stable, declining just 10% over the past five years. Average rebates cover a significant portion of the installed cost.

The most popular rebates cover remote, luminaire-mounted and wallbox occupancy sensors; light sensors; and daylight dimming systems. Many programs are removing their requirement that controls be hardwired, allowing wireless controls.

We are at the beginning of a new phase on prescriptive rebates for lighting controls, which is inclusion of networked lighting controls. In addition to determining energy savings, rebate programs are currently working out whether to treat them as individual components or as complete systems. The result is we may see networked lighting controls begin to enter a significant number of programs in 2017.

Craig DiLouie, LC, is education director for the Lighting Controls Association.

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