Amazon and Walmart clash over Missouri’s ‘break and grab’ bill

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St. Louis police are investigating a smash and grab incident in a “DGX ST. LOUIS” in Washington and North Seventh Street on December 16, 2021.

ST. LOUIS — A bill in the Missouri General Assembly that would attempt to stem the tide of what appears to be organized ‘smash and grab’ burglaries has some of the nation’s largest brick-and-mortar retailers and outlets online sale on opposite sides.

House Bill 2108 “Establishes the offense of organized retail theft and establishes provisions for disclosures by online marketplaces”, with the aim of preventing criminals from stealing merchandise in person only to turn around and sell the stolen items online.

Walgreens has confirmed a MissouriNet report that the company is on track to spend about $4.5 million on security in Missouri stores this year after paying $1.5 million three years ago. . He supports the bill, along with Walmart.

According to the Missouri Retailers Association, which also supports the bill, “counterfeit and pirated goods
the goods are said to be a $500 billion business while retail theft and shrinkage topped $50
billion. Retailers cannot absorb billions of dollars in theft; consumer prices reflect these losses,” the organization said in submitted testimony.

Opponents include Amazon, Etsy and TechNet, a national organization of technology executives with members from companies ranging from Google to Zoom and Zillow.

“It is in the interest of every online marketplace to maintain trust with consumers using their platforms. The sale of illegal and counterfeit products is a serious problem, and that’s exactly why online marketplaces invest heavily in technology, people, and processes that identify bad actors and remove them from their platforms. These tools are constantly being improved to ensure that they target the wrong actors on their platforms. Unfortunately, this legislation is both overly prescriptive and non-scalable, hampering the ability of online marketplaces to innovate as technology and bad actors evolve,” the organization said in submitted testimony.

Tech companies say the issue is best addressed by federal legislation currently making its way through the US House of Representatives.

The Missouri bill was not defeated by the House Crime Prevention Committee.

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