back to article Brit competition regulator will soon be able to seize rogue traders' domains – and even Amazon accounts

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will soon acquire new EU-derived powers allowing it to seize control of rogue traders' eBay and Amazon accounts, and even their entire websites, if it thinks "consumer interests" might be being harmed. New legal amendments coming into force in June will let the CMA apply for " …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Broad terms..

    These seem like some really broad terms. Threatens consumers interests?

    I'm what way? Cowboy builders? Counterfeit goods? Lowball prices? High prices? Inadequate computer security? Tax fraud? Not using amazon?

    We need some clarification on this.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Broad terms..

      Not only broad terms but nothing (at least not in the article) to indicate any legal definitions of a rogue trader, obviously anything that contravenes set standards for H&S and passing off copies as the real thing, or is it anything they don't like the look of?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Broad terms..

        Unlawful anti-consumer behaviours are codified in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (which stem from EU Directives), so I'd guess that'd be a start ...

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Broad terms..

          A start for a creative leap maybe in interpretation? Well, governments have a habit of doing that sort of thing.

    2. chuBb. Bronze badge

      Re: Broad terms..

      Try looking up what trading standards consider a rouge trader, then look at the gap in legislation between the same practices and how they can be dealt with online vs offline.

      Currently lot of court ordered actions available to use against traders with a physical presence, bugger all for warehouses with 100+ front accounts on amazon and ebay, and as the warehouse "isnt" the trader best that can be done is the account gets suspended and possibly if the stock is dangerous enough a seizure of goods, suspect the ability to get a court order now allows for related accounts to be searched for as well

  2. taxman
    Pint

    So by saying...

    "........ that the new powers are entering UK law as a result of changes made at EU level.", does that mean that if the UK had not been in the EU that this would have gotten onto the statute books?

    If so then perhaps a good job things were delayed a tad.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: So by saying...

      Bloody EU. Coming here and looking out for our cirizens!

      1. RuffianXion
        Joke

        Re: So by saying...

        Stewart Lee fan? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cgeXd5kRDg - NSFW (language)

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: So by saying...

        The government gaining more power for itself rarely benefits the little guy and the involvement of government in the regulation of tech rarely leads to a pleasing outcome.

        One of the things this covid malarky has taught me is that there is a world of difference between "protecting citizens" and "protecting citizens' rights."

        1. chuBb. Bronze badge

          Re: So by saying...

          Yeah because adding laws to trading standards giving them the same powers they have offline online is such a regulatory burden, those poor bootleggers will have to go out early on cold mornings and goto deserted markets to sell there kevin clean boxers, extension leads you can touch live contacts in and toys covered in carcinogenic paint....

        2. d2

          Re: So by saying...

          check out inspired GrrrGraphics★BenGarrison's covid Phony Baloney :

          https://grrrgraphics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/covid_baloney-1536x1155.jpg

          plus

          cogent analYsis by Kelly Brogan et al: 'Why We Stay Asleep When Covid-19 Is Trying to Wake Us Up'

          https://kellybroganmd.com/why-we-stay-asleep-when-covid-19-is-trying-to-wake-us-up/

  3. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    No need for a trial

    This looks like civil asset forfeiture or just abuse of power...

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: No need for a trial

      You missed the bit about a court order. And please explain how you get some dodgy person in China, Russia or the US to kindly pop to the UK and face trial for flogging a USB charger that bursts into flames 5 minutes after being plugged in?

      1. Fizban64

        Re: No need for a trial

        Ahh, I see an optimist amongst us! If the police could only limit their power to such worthy tasks, but alas when you hear terrorist laws being used to enforce bin habits, you should be wary of giving police such powers. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  4. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

    So

    I read Uncle $am cocked up seizing a domain-name but would not be held accountable for the results of the cock-up.

    Carrying a big stick and to never use it, only to abuse owning that big stick.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: So

      Yup. And the part where the ad agency had to sign a waiver is typical bullying. Oh, we made a mistake, you lost money, but unless you promise to not sue, you're screwed.

      Liberty and Justice for all my ass.

      1. phogan

        Re: So

        The correct response is to immediately go to court instead of signing. If no one stands up to abuse they start thinking they can get away with it.

        "Liberty and Justice for all my ass."

        Definitely not if you just bend over every time. Law enforcement will get away with what it thinks it can. The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit convinced several registrars to hand over domains with little more than strongly worded demand letters in 2013. Forcing EasyDNS and other to dispute transfers through ICANN.

        https://easydns.com/blog/2013/10/08/whatever-happened-to-due-process/

        1. phogan

          Re: So

          Oops missed some incorrect wording, "Law enforcement will get away with what it thinks it can." should be "Law enforcement will try to get away with what it thinks it can.

        2. chuBb. Bronze badge

          Re: So

          If only fighting back wasnt rigged against you to be ruinously expensive to do so, especially when its a government you are fighting, how many times do we have to see people "winning" the case by loosing it all to get there....

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Trust?

    "A BEIS spokesman told The Register: "Consumers should be able to trust online markets,"

    What? Like the trust in the UK Govs Digital Marketplace?

  6. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Go after YouTube

    For the last 6 weeks or so, the video adverts on youtube have been 90% scams. - Some outright lies, but mostly of the "I earn £3,000,000 a second from home, you can too" type.

    Don't they have laws to follow here? They are all UK-targetted ads.

    1. chuBb. Bronze badge

      Re: Go after YouTube

      Oompa Loompas are an endangered species there just aren't enough of them in the wild or captivity to actually check what ads are being served, just enough to check that money is coming in faster than its going out, and just when is the perfect time to kill a service which has started to gain enough traction to have other businesses based around it...

  7. DCdave
    Mushroom

    Because the US is well known for respecting other countries' courts

    I think we all know what will happen the first time a seizure of a .com address is attempted....

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Because the US is well known for respecting other countries' courts

      .com is not US only, so we do not all know.

    2. phogan

      Re: Because the US is well known for respecting other countries' courts

      While .com is controlled by Verisign, a U.S company, there are registrars operating in various jurisdictions giving out .com domain names under contract with Verisign. Any jurisdiction with such a registrar could order them to transfer a domain to that government. Indeed, Verisign it's self has offices outside the U.S.

      A seizure would have to be the topic fairly serious contention for either the U.S government or Verisign to get involved. The domain most governments would want seize are probably a long way from that level.

  8. The Dogs Meevonks

    Won't make much difference until...

    When you start holding companies like ebay and Amazon liable for enabling the sale of fake/fraudulent goods... they have no incentive to do anything that will harm their profit margins.

    The ONLY thing these companies ever understand is their bottom line... so the ONLY way to get things done is to hurt it... and hurt it in such a way that it simply become too unprofitable to continue to operate in that manner.

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