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Letters to the Editor

Pants or no pants — e-fairness is needed

Steve Schlegel September 4th, 2013

I find it laughable that Hal Stevens thinks so little of brick-and-mortar retailers that he’d call us stooges for the state government and “inefficient” presumably because we chose to base our business in the community (Letters, Hal Stevens, “Mucking up marketplace fairness,” Aug. 7, Gazette). I was insulted for myself and the other retailers who are advocating for the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) until I found out that Mr. Stevens is an eBay retailer. eBay is based around this loophole, and their lobbyists are paying through the nose to keep this loophole alive.

Under MFA, only retailers doing more than a million dollars in online revenue are expected to collect and remit sales tax. The idea that online million-dollar retailers cannot afford free software that integrates into existing accounting programs and the time it takes to print and sign checks to the states where they do business is ridiculous.

Yes, online retailers can offer free shipping and lower prices and allow you to shop in your underwear (while I prefer you wear pants to my store), but that is not why brick-and-mortar retailers are pushing for e-fairness.

Many of the products I sell are price-locked in an agreement between retailers and the manufacturers, so no authorized re-seller can offer these products any cheaper than anyone else. I can offer service, assembly, and education. They offer free delivery and pantsless shopping.

Pretty equal footing if you ask me.

The unfair advantage Mr. Stevens has over me is that 8.375 percent sales tax that I must collect. On a $2,000 mountain bike, that is $167 dollars cheaper! Plus, when they get the bike, guess who is responsible for all the warranty maintenance or assembly questions?

Not the online guy. MFA is not a money-grab by state governments. Pass MFA and get the government out of the business of picking winners and losers. Let the customers then decide what business model they want to support — value, added service and competitive pricing or pants-free click-n-ship.

— Schlegel Bicycles, Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity.

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