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CCCA endorses consumer protection legislation

The Communications Cable & Connectivity Association (CCCA) has joined with the Buy Safe America Coalition, a diverse group of retailers, consumer groups, wholesaler-distributors and manufacturers, in declaring support of the INFORM Consumers Act – legislation to increase transparency and accountability for online marketplaces amid the growing problem of illicit goods sold online.

Throughout the pandemic, US e-commerce grew by 44 percent as more families shopped online, according to Digital Commerce 360 estimates. At the same time, criminal networks targeted unsuspecting customers with the sale of stolen, counterfeit, expired, dangerous and defective products. Criminal enterprises use the anonymity of online marketplace platforms to market fake products or quickly move stolen goods.

The INFORM Consumers Act, which was introduced in March by US senators from both the Democratic and the Republican parties, would modernize consumer protection laws and require online marketplaces to collect and verify basic business information from sellers, in addition to requiring high-volume sellers to provide contact information to consumers. The online marketplace would also provide a hotline to enable customers to report suspicious activity. The bill's requirements would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, and violations would be subject to civil penalties.

CCCA strongly endorses and recommends passage of this vital e-commerce initiative in the US Senate, to help create barriers and consequences for online perpetrators of dangerous and unsafe counterfeit and non-compliant goods, said David Kiddoo, CCCA executive director. This especially pertains to the safety and integrity of cabling and connectivity infrastructure components that are vital to meet today's communications and connected technologies, which are increasingly essential to our healthcare, education, commerce and personal social networks. CCCA encourages people in the ICT industry to contact their senator to express their support of the INFORM Consumer Act.

The legislation is important to CCCA because of the amount of non-compliant, counterfeit and under-performing cable being sold, particularly via online distributors. Cabling improprieties such as low-quality cable are common causes of network downtime. Even worse than network failure is the serious safety risk due to a cable's poor design, substandard material makeup and/or manufacturing deficiencies. Improperly constructed cables running throughout a structure can act as a fuse that accelerates the spread of fumes, flames and smoke.

The INFORM Consumers Act is expected to take a step in opening up the transparency of online sellers, so they will not be able to remain anonymous. Creating basic accountability measures will protect consumers from illicit goods, aid law enforcement in their efforts to track organized crime, and make it harder to build an illegal business and profit by selling stolen or counterfeit merchandise.