dallas (AP) — Consignment stores around the country are being forced to stop selling consignment-style items and instead offer online purchases of smaller, more affordable items.
The Federal Trade Commission says that while some stores are still selling consignments on their sites, others are doing so through the consignment store websites.
Consignment stores are a common way to resell items that you want to sell but you don’t have enough inventory to fulfill the needs of your customer.
But, with the rise of online sales, many consignment shops are closing or reducing the size of their inventory to make room for online sales.
Consignments, also called gift cards, can be purchased at stores and online through consignment websites.
These online stores often charge a flat fee, and they charge for the items they sell.
Consumers are increasingly buying consignment goods online, said Robert DeMarco, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Consigning, or selling an item, typically involves buying or selling a smaller quantity of the same item and then selling the item for a higher price, which may not be reflected in the store’s advertised price.
Online retailers like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Etsy.com allow customers to purchase items online without having to go through a consignment shop.
Consultant and consumer-focused retail analyst Robert De Marco says that some of the new online retailers are selling items online to make up for their lack of inventory.
But others are selling smaller items online, and consumers are buying these smaller items, he said.
The FTC said that it received more than 4,000 complaints about consignment businesses in the first half of 2016.
Conservation companies like the conservation group Friends of the Earth and other conservation groups have been urging Congress to pass legislation to prohibit online consignment and consignment retailers from selling consigned goods.
Consisting of several hundred conservation groups, Friends of Nature is among the largest conservation groups in the United States.
In January, the group announced that it was suing Walmart for selling consigning items on its website.
Walmart said it was unaware of the lawsuit.
Conservations groups have also complained about the way that some online consigners are charging for items sold online, as opposed to through consigner websites.
The website of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation says that prices for consign items can be higher than on consignment sites.
Consiguities, which are not regulated by the FTC, have reported increasing numbers of consignment business closures.
Last year, a group of conservation groups called Conservation Working Group filed a lawsuit against Costco and Walmart on behalf of endangered animals, saying they had closed the sale of endangered species products online.
Costco did not respond to a request for comment.
Consigneur, a company that sells endangered species goods online and consigns consigned items, says that it has been closed three times in the last two years.
It did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The group that filed the lawsuit against Walmart is also working with other conservation organizations to raise awareness about the issue.
“Consigners need to be aware that the prices they are charging on their websites and consigning sites are higher than their online sales prices,” said Sarah Smith, a spokesperson for Conservation Working Groups.