Sunday, March 14, 2010

Senator Justice Passes Consumer Protection Legislation Through First Committee

Floridians who sign up for service contracts for magazines, pest control services or even alarm companies – but unwittingly find themselves automatically committed to long term contracts - would gain new protections under legislation sponsored by Senator Charlie Justice (D-St. Petersburg).

Senate Bill 1332, which unanimously passed its first legislative hearing on Wednesday in the Senate Commerce Committee, will require service contract providers to notify customers of upcoming automatic contract renewals.

“This bill is about consumer awareness and good business practices.” Senator Justice said. “Everyone has a story of a service contract that automatically renewed because they didn’t understand the cancelation requirements. If a consumer decides to extend a contract, it should be solely because of the product’s merit, not the ability of the company to dupe the consumer.”

There have been many reported incidences across the state of automatic service contract renewals negatively affecting many Floridians, especially our most vulnerable, who live on fixed incomes and may not be aware of the procedures to cancel a contract. Many other states have laws regulating automatic service renewal clauses, including New York and Illinois which require notification.

“This is good legislation that is being done for the right reasons. I look forward to continued support from my colleagues on this bill.” Senator Justice said.

The next stop for Senate Bill 1332 is the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. The bill is being sponsored in the House by Representative Charles McBurney (R- Jacksonville).

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