In recent years, retailers have shouldered ever-increasing costs to do business in Oregon even as their traditional businesses have shrunk. Over a very short period, meanwhile, retailers have invested heavily in new technology and service delivery models to continue to serve their customers. Government should seek to help retailers make these difficult transitions rather than imposing additional costs on the delivery of services and supplies. OBI’s primary objective for the 2023 session will be to limit new regulations and taxes that increase the burden on retailers.
Consumer Protection: OBI supports consumer protection legislation that addresses narrowly defined, specific, and empirically proven dangers with measures that would make a meaningful difference. Any such legislation should be focused on preventing harm to customers rather than creating complicated regulations that may not enhance consumer protections in any meaningful way.
Consumer Privacy: OBI supports policies that support the retail industry’s need to protect consumer privacy while providing the flexibility necessary for the innovative use of data. OBI’s key principles when evaluating privacy legislation will be:
- Enforcement by the attorney general, not private rights of action
- Right to cure before enforcement action is taken
- All entities responsible for consumer data should have the same obligations
- Preserve customer service, convenience, and benefits, including rewards and loyalty programs
- Regulations should be linked to risk of harm
- Consumers should have reasonable choice, access, correction, and deletion rights with respect to their personal information
- Retailers should be given flexibility and options for compliance measures.
Credit and Finance: OBI will oppose efforts to inhibit the flow of information necessary to render appropriate decisions for every customer and meet their preferences.
Online Sales: OBI will support legislation and systems to verify that products sold through online marketplaces have been obtained by legitimate means.
Third-Party Sellers: OBI will support legislation and systems to verify the identity of third-party sellers and require high-volume sellers to disclose contact information to consumers.
Counterfeit Goods: OBI will support legislation that would increase penalties for people who manufacture or sell counterfeit merchandise to consumers. Not only do counterfeit goods affect the bottom line of honest merchants, but certain products also pose a serious health threat to consumers.
Organized Retail Crime
Organized retail crime has become a dire problem for retailers in Oregon. The phenomenon involves highly organized groups of people committing theft on a broad scale.
Task Force: OBI supports efforts by the Organized Retail Crime Task Force to coordinate retailers, employees, law enforcement, district attorneys and the state attorney general.
Task Force Recommendations: OBI will support recommendations for legislative change that emerge from the Organized Retail Crime Task Force.
Dedicated Prosecutors: OBI will support legislation that would create dedicated prosecutors to address organized retail crime.
AG Task Force: If needed, OBI will support legislation stablishing a formal attorney general task force to combat crimes related to stealing, embezzling, and obtaining retail merchandise by fraud, false pretenses or other illegal means.
Shared Resources: OBI will support legislation establishing shared resources and information across federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to combat retail crime.
Funding: OBI will support additional funding for law enforcement and prosecution of organized retail crimes.
General Retail Positions
OBI and the Oregon Retail Council Support
- The use of biometric data for drivers’ licenses
- Manufacturer responsibility for electronic product stewardship recycling
- A security freeze on credit for victims of identity theft
- Increased penalties for shoplifting
- Business flexibility and expanded timelines for implementing new policies
- Appropriate timelines for implementation of new regulations or statutes.
OBI and the Oregon Retail Council Oppose
- Expansion of the Unlawful Trade Practices Act
- Market controls such as policies about price discrimination
- Point-of-sale purchasing requirements
- Policies that limit retailer conveniences for customers
- Bans of specific classes of retailers
- Packaging bans
- New labeling laws
- Pesticide sales reporting
- Broad manufacturer and retailer product stewardship programs
- Additional tax burdens on businesses, particularly retailers
Deborah Herron, Walmart