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Leading Home Improvement Retailers Sign On to Coalition to Combat the Sale of Counterfeit and Stolen Goods
The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Floor & Decor and Leading Home Improvement Associations Join Buy Safe America Coalition to Bring Transparency and Accountability to Largest Online Marketplaces
Washington, DC – Today, the Buy Safe America Coalition, a diverse group of retailers, consumer groups, wholesaler-distributors, and manufacturers who support efforts to combat organized retail crime and protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods, announced new members, including some of the nation’s largest home improvement companies and industry associations.
The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Floor & Decor, along with the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors, Plumbing Manufacturers International and the Power Tool Institute, will take part in the coalition, joining existing members from other industries including Walgreens, CVS Health, Ulta Beauty and Philips.
Retail theft has worsened in recent months as more Americans shop online amid the COVID-19 pandemic and criminals take advantage of the anonymity allowed on these platforms by selling counterfeit and stolen goods to unsuspecting consumers.
Transparency is the key to making it harder and less profitable to market and sell illicit goods online and making it easier for law enforcement to take on the most egregious offenders. The coalition is urging Congress to pass the INFORM Consumers Act to modernize consumer protection laws by requiring online marketplaces to collect and verify basic seller information and having sellers to provide that information to consumers.
“Organized retail crime and professional thieves continue to be a significant problem and retailers are doing all they can to harden the target and investigate these groups,” said Scott Glenn, vice president of asset protection for The Home Depot. “In order to see meaningful change, we need accountability and transparency on online marketplaces, where stolen items are often sold to unsuspecting consumers. The INFORM Consumers Act does just that and will give law enforcement more tools as we partner to dismantle these criminal operations.”
“Protecting the safety and well-being of our customers and frontline associates has always been our highest priority,” said Scott Draher, vice president of asset protection for Lowe’s. “We are pleased to work together with the Buy Safe America Coalition to continue to combat retail crime and the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods. Passing more stringent protection laws to address these crimes will not only help protect the safety of our communities but also America’s small businesses and suppliers who are being undermined by these illegal activities.”
Stories of massive theft rings targeting home improvement retailers continue to emerge regularly. A man in Knoxville, Tennessee was arrested and charged earlier this year after $50,000 worth of power tools and other equipment were located at a residence. Meanwhile in Florida, a theft ring stole at least $83,000 in merchandise from several Home Depot and Lowe’s stores between 2017 and 2019, according to police reports.
“NAW is pleased to join the Buy Safe American Coalition along with other leading home improvement companies, wholesaler-distributors and associations to press Congress for a solution that makes online marketplaces more accountable for the products sold on their platforms,” said Blake Adami, vice president of government relations at the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors. “There is increased concern to protect both consumers and federal, state and local governments from counterfeit goods, vendors leveraging stolen intellectual property, and foreign manufactured equipment deemed a threat to national security. Online marketplaces, like Amazon and Facebook, should be accountable for the activity on their platforms to ensure only legitimate goods are sold by verified sellers.”
“Organized retail crime hurts everyone in retail, most importantly, our customers,” said Andy Stofanik, vice president of store operations for Floor & Decor. “Floor & Decor is proud to join forces with the Buy Safe coalition to help combat ORC crime throughout the country.”
“Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) members care deeply about the safety and authenticity of their brands and products,” said Kerry Stackpole, PMI CEO. “Our members invest millions of dollars to design, test, and produce high performing products that comply with federal, state and local health and safety standards. Unfortunately, those efforts are undermined by current gaps in the law that allow stolen and counterfeit plumbing products to be sold on online marketplaces. Counterfeit plumbing appliances and components water down the safety factor, as well as undermine the North American system of codes, standards, testing and certification. PMI looks forward to working with federal lawmakers to advance the INFORM Consumers Act to protect consumers who are shopping online in record numbers.”
“The Power Tool Institute (PTI) has joined the Buy Safe America Coalition and supports efforts to combat the sale of counterfeit, knockoff and stolen goods,” said Frank Mannarino, President, Power Tools Group, Stanley Black & Decker, Board member and Past President of the Power Tool Institute. “PTI, whose members represent market leading brands of portable, stationary and lawn and garden products, is committed to the safe use of power tools.”
“With the increase in counterfeit and knock-off tools, batteries and chargers, consumers are put at a greater risk for personal injury or property damage,” said Ken Hefley, Executive VP, Marketing, Makita U.S.A., Board member and Past President of PTI. “Reputable manufacturers work tirelessly to design, manufacture and bring to market coordinated systems that meet high standards of safety and all applicable regulatory requirements. More stringent laws, such as the INFORM Consumers Act, are needed to protect consumers from potentially dangerous counterfeit, knockoff and stolen goods.”
Milwaukee Tool has built a strong reputation for developing break-through technologies that increase productivity and improves safety for professional trades on jobsites around the globe. "We are joining the Buy Safe America Coalition to help combat the distribution of illegal stolen and/or counterfeit products which can put end-users at risk," said Steven Richman, Group President at Milwaukee Tool. “Aftermarket and counterfeit batteries may not include all the design features or undergo proper testing and quality controls which ensure proper system performance and safety.”
Visit BuySafeAmerica.org for more information about the growing problem of stolen and counterfeit goods and solutions to better protect consumers and businesses.
The Buy Safe America Coalition represents a diverse group of responsible retailers, consumer groups, manufacturers, intellectual property advocates and law enforcement officials who support efforts at all levels of government to protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods.
The Buy Safe America Coalition represents a diverse group of responsible retailers, consumer groups, manufacturers, intellectual property advocates, and law enforcement officials who support efforts to protect consumers and communities from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods.Learn More
The marketplace today for common, everyday goods is flooded with counterfeit and stolen products. Absent reform, legitimate businesses, and consumers will continue to be harmed.Learn More
Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes a counterfeit product? Why aren’t major online marketplaces doing more? Answers to common questions around the issue of organized retail crime.Learn More