Stop Targeting Online Consumers with Higher Prices and Taxes

Target: Senator Pat Toomey, Chairman of the United States Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection

Goal: Do not impose extra fees and tax burdens on online consumers.

Online consumers could be punished thanks to new harmful regulations. The online marketplace is booming like never before, with consumers purchasing goods and services online in increasingly unprecedented numbers. Certain controversial new and proposed regulations, however, will very likely punish consumers who prefer to take their business online: punishments in the form of increased fees and taxes.

The most high-profile measure, which went into effect in early June, involves the end of net neutrality: guidelines that were designed to keep the internet free and open for all businesses and consumers. This dictate prevented service providers from creating “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” that would favor certain sites and discriminate against others. Now, with the end of net neutrality, providers have free reign to essentially control a user’s experience by creating plans that charge extra for faster access to certain sites. These providers could also potentially threaten popular sites like Facebook and Netflix with a slowdown if increased fees are not paid by these companies; these fees would probably be passed on to consumers. While advocates of this move claim it will boost free enterprise and increase competition, the action could actually harm smaller businesses that do not have the privilege of occupying a “fast lane”… thus strangling these businesses’ potential for profit and in turn forcing them to either shut down or charge more to consumers.

Online consumerism will also take a hit if the Supreme Court determines in a closely watched case that states can tax internet-based small businesses. This would reverse a previous ruling that proclaimed businesses would only need to levy a sales tax if they were physically present in the relevant state. A change in this custom would once again punish the consumer most and potentially dissuade these consumers from giving their support to smaller business: an outcome that proponents of this tax ironically seek to prevent.

Sign this petition to let our government leaders know that stifling the online marketplace will only kill progress and hurt the very consumers that empower our economy.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Toomey,

As the Senate chairman on the committee that oversees consumer protection and e-commerce, you are likely well-versed in the two highly contentious issues this summer that are of imminent interest to online consumers: net neutrality and the prospect of a state sales tax for small online businesses. Many consumers and consumer advocates have already united in voicing their opposition to the latter, and many of your colleagues have united in passing a Congressional Review Act measure against the new rule overturning net neutrality.

We urge you – as a consumer advocate – to stand with these concerned individuals in condemning harmful actions that will ultimately pummel our online marketplace. Without net neutrality, internet providers will be given unprecedented power to control the online experience for millions of consumers. Although they promise they will not abuse this new authority, the lure of increased profits could very likely lead to a future where internet “fast lanes” are for sale to the highest bidder, leaving competition and the consumer behind. Further, imposing an additional tax on faithful customers of small online businesses will only punish these entrepreneurs and their loyal following while favoring larger, more influential retailers.

America has always stood for freedom and free enterprise. Do not strip these long-standing values from the American consumer and the entrepreneurs who drive the American dream.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here}

Photo Credit: Robert Couse Baker

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One Comment

  1. gen agustsson says:

    stop it!

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