News Release

Statement: Sen. Baldwin’s COOL Online Act brings more transparency to online marketplaces

For Immediate Release

MADISON, Wis. — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, led by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rick Scott (R-FL), introduced the COOL Online Act Wednesday, which requires web retailers to clearly state the country of origin of products sold on their online platforms. The bill also requires clear disclosure of the country where the seller of a product is located. It is cosponsored by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA).

WISPIRG Director Peter Skopec issued the following statement in support of the bill: 

“We applaud Sens. Baldwin and Scott for their bipartisan effort to bring more transparency to online marketplaces, which is an important component of effective consumer protection. The COOL Online Act will give online shoppers more ways to spot potentially dangerous products that don’t comply with U.S. safety standards. 

“The proliferation of online retail through platforms like Amazon has created new risks to consumers’ health and safety. While Amazon technically requires all products sold on its site to comply with U.S. safety standards, it does not require testing or quality control for the products it distributes. This means that many products sold by foreign manufacturers on the site may not meet U.S. safety rules, which can lead to toxic or otherwise dangerous products slipping through the cracks, as detailed in a recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal.

“For more than 30 years, WISPIRG has warned consumers of potentially unsafe products in the marketplace. As e-commerce proliferates, policymakers and retailers have to do a better job at alerting consumers to potential new threats. The COOL Online Act will help do that.”

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The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in democratic society.

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