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CoPIRG calls on Senate Business cmte to make it harder for online counterfeiters to evade consumer, safety protections

For Immediate Release

UPDATE 3/2/2022 - The bill passed unanimously and moves to the full Senate floor

CoPIRG is calling on the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee to pass HB22-1099, which would make it harder for online counterfeiters to evade consumer protections on everything from toys to health masks. The bill is sponsored by Senators Rachel Zenzinger and Rob Woodward.

Danny Katz, CoPIRG executive director, released the following statement:

“CoPIRG has worked hard over the years to ensure there are consumer protections in place to protect people from unsafe products. These consumer protections are undermined if a counterfeiter can sell a similar item, without the proper safety measures. 

Unfortunately, with the rise of online shopping, many counterfeiters can evade accountability by selling unsafe products because third-party online sellers are often not required to disclose who they are or where their products came from.

This lack of transparency can harm us whether we are buying toys or masks. For example, in our most recent annual toy safety survey, we found toys that had evaded basic safety testing and consumer disclosure requirements. Examples include toys that pose a choking hazard for kids under the age of 3 and toys containing harmful levels of toxics. 

As another example, in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that about 60 percent of the KN95 masks out there are counterfeit and do not meet the standards of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). That means they likely won’t offer the protection people are looking for or expecting.

HB22-1099 requires higher-volume third-party sellers on online marketplaces to disclose basic business information that allows the public to verify who and what is actually behind the products they are purchasing. 

This transparency will help limit the ability for bad actors to avoid safety and consumer protection measures. It can also help law enforcement tackle the sale of stolen goods, which can increase the cost of products for all consumers.

People expect that the products they find on store shelves or online marketplaces have met basic safety and health standards. HB22-1099 is an important guardrail to ensure we meet that expectation.”

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