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07/19/2022

New law in Michigan protects against online fraud

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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meijer team
The Meijer team and Michigan Gov. Whitmer at the INFORM Act signing.

Meijer and other Michigan retailers are celebrating the passage of legislation that protects physical retailers as well as consumers from organized online retail fraud.  

Meijer partnered closely with government officials, other retail partners and the Michigan Retailers Association to pass the Michigan INFORM Act, cracking down on retail fraud conducted through online marketplaces. The law is part of a concerted effort by retailers, consumer advocates and government officials to enact state-level versions of the INFORM Consumers (Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers) Act introduced in the U.S. Senate in March 2021. Ohio and Illinois passed similar state-level bills earlier this year.

The INFORM Acts require online marketplaces to collect certain information from high-volume third-party sellers to verify the authenticity and legitimacy of the seller and its goods. Prior to the INFORM Acts, online marketplaces weren’t required to verify the authenticity and legitimacy of large third-party sellers, creating a safe-haven for criminal enterprises selling stolen or counterfeit goods online. This particularly impacted small, brick-and-mortar stores by incentivizing bad actors to steal products from their shelves to sell online with few checks and balances to detect it.

“We’re pleased to have played our part in educating and supporting state officials in the passing of the INFORM Acts in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois,” said Paul Jaeckle, VP of asset protection, Meijer. “We know the fraud that will be prevented by these Acts will positively impact brick and mortar retailers and consumers across Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.”

In addition to holding online marketplaces accountable for the goods they sell, the INFORM Acts also require online marketplaces to share seller information with customers. This increased transparency protects consumers from unintentionally purchasing stolen and counterfeit goods. It also gives law enforcement the tools necessary to protect consumers and identify and stop organized retail crime groups.

“By continuing to lend our voice to this important issue in partnership with our fellow retail leaders and customer advocacy groups, we hope to bring these same protections to customers and brick-and-mortar retailers in states across the Midwest,” Jaeckle added.

Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Meijer operates 262 stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.