Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi this week put the spotlight on some of the most popular online retailers, asking them to explain why they will not ship to Puerto Rico arguing among other things that the island must abide by the same federal trade and consumer protection laws as all of the 50 states.
According to an analysis conducted by his office, about 80 percent of the top 100 U.S.-based e-retailers currently ship their products to Puerto Rico. However, companies such as Overstock.com, Microsoft, Dell, Staples, Sears, Sony, FTD Group, Kohl’s, Hewlett-Packard, Avon Products, Buy.com, Nutrisystem, NBC, Nike, and Yoox, exclude the island from the places they will ship their goods.
“My office has reviewed the shipping policy contained on company websites, and it appears that [those] companies ships their products to all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska, but do not ship their products to consumers residing in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico,” he told the retailers in letters sent Friday.
“Puerto Rico is a U.S. jurisdiction that is home to 3.7 million American citizens, many of whom are potential purchasers of your company’s products,” he said in the letter in which he asked companies to explain the reasons why they have adopted a policy to leave Puerto Rico out and whether they would consider changing their position.
“Given that we are entering the holiday season, when shopping is at its peak, I would very much appreciate your prompt attention to these questions,” he said in the letter in which he also stressed that Puerto Rico is within the U.S. customs and immigration zones.
Puerto Rico government officials have been putting the pressure on stateside retailers who do business online to end discriminatory practices against the island. In September, the Consumer Affairs Department announced the creation Anti-Discrimination Commercial Office to go after companies that could be violating local consumer rights.
Topping the list of companies is Amazon, which the agency said in October it would be suing for incurring in discriminatory practices against Puerto Rico by discontinuing its “Free Super Saver” shipping option after offering it for a decade.