Home Depot and Lowe’s join fight against stolen goods
The fight against counterfeit and stolen goods has brought together two giant home improvement competitors – Home Depot and Lowe’s – under the flag of the Buy Safe America Coalition.
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.