The Philadelphia Enquirer Headline Reads:
Pennsylvania Takes on Online Auctions
Pa went after Mary Jo Pletz's eBay business now changes in law may come...
Read this excellent news article (link below). The story details the plight of a Trading Assistant who was unfortunate enough to be very good at what she does. The State made a very poor decision to use her as a "test case", an example, in an effort to demonstrate the need to institute new and unprecedented taxes & fees for online consignment specialists.
What it seems to boil down to in Pennsylvania is that someone thought it would be easy to get online sellers and eBay consignment people to fall in line for a new tax (in the form of a license) if, they could make an example of a successful online seller, by charging her with breaking existing laws.
Pennsylvania was simply looking for a way to get support for a new law by bending an old law to suit their temporary needs. It did not matter at all to the State or the prosecutor, or apparently any of the elected officials in Pennsylvania, that the old law did not apply. They went ahead and charged a stay at home mom who was working very hard selling over 10,000 consignment items on eBay while caring for her children during the day (one daughter with a benign brain tumor) and putting herself through dental hygienist school at night.
Could anyone have picked a worse candidate to put in front of the world and say... SEE WE CAUGHT ONE! This mom was selling on eBay... SHAME on her! We plan on fining her $10,000,000 That's right TEN MILLION DOLLARS! For what you say? uhhhhh.... breaking a law which was never written or amended to cover Internet commerce or online consignment. THATS WHAT!
Shame Shame Shame on the State of Pennsylvania... and on eBay for not coming to her aid with about 100 attorneys and 500 PR people. This case could make all of the States making noises about coming after eBay sellers take a second look at the wisdom of persecuting people like Mary Jo Pletz. How many other Mary Jo Pletz's are there in the USA in fear of being threatened with ten million dollar fines and revocation of a dental hygienist certification? I do not know, but each one who is attacked in this way has a high potential for bad press for whomever thinks it may be a good idea to prosecute.
After all, the only reason she was prosecuted in this case at all is she was good at what she did. Some people just can't handle success.
See Enquirer Article Here: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/home_top_left_story/20080130_Bidding_goodbye.html?text=med