A new law passed in Louisiana has made it illegal for consumers to pay for second-hand goods with cash, in a ruling that has a substantial effect on the many flea markets in the state.
House Bill 195 states that “Anyone, other than a non-profit entity, who buys, sells, trades in or otherwise acquires or disposes of junk or used or secondhand property more frequently than once per month from any other person, other than a non-profit entity, shall be deemed as being in the business of a secondhand dealer. A secondhand dealer shall not enter into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of junk or used or secondhand property. Payment shall be made in the form of check, electronic transfers, or money order issued to the seller of the junk or used or secondhand property.”
What This Means for Vendors
The bill will make operations for trading posts and flea markets far more strenuous in an attempt to stop fraud, as customers will be forced to use checks or money orders for transactions. The definition of the bill is broad enough that it also could be used to stop sales through Ebay or Craigslist. State Representative Rickey Hardy, who co-authored the bill, said that the paper trail will make it more difficult for criminals to sell stolen items for quick cash. “It’s a mechanism to be used so the police department has something to go on and have a lead.”
Attorney Thad D. Ackel, lead counsel at Ackel and Associates LLC, writes on the firm’s blog a detailed description of what would be necessary for every cash sale. “For every transaction a secondhand dealer must obtain the seller’s personal information such as their name, address, driver’s license number and the license plate number of the vehicle in which the goods were delivered. They must also make a detailed description of the item(s) purchased and submit this with the personal identification information of every transaction to the local policing authorities through electronic daily reports.”
In Ackel’s legal opinion, the law is adding unnecessary steps to simple, everyday transactions. “This legislation amounts to a public taking of private property without compensation,” he writes. “Regardless of whether or not the transaction information is connected with, or law enforcement is investigating a crime, individuals and businesses are forced to report routine business activity to the police. Can law enforcement not accomplish its goal of identifying potential thieves and locating stolen items in a far less intrusive manner?”