HEADLINES

Betts shares details of three bills that will strengthen consumer protections

During this year's legislative session, the General Assembly passed legislation to strengthen consumer protections. I'd like to share with you, information about three important consumer bills that will affect many people in our region and throughout the state:

Protecting personal phone numbers

Receiving unwanted telephone calls can be annoying, and receiving unwanted text messages can cost recipients money under certain data plans. PA 14-53 bans unsolicited text messages and strengthens penalties for violations regarding the Do Not Call Registry. Among the new law's provisions:

Prohibits marketers from sending commercial text messages to a consumer at any time of day without the consumer's prior written consent. It defines a text message as content sent electronically to a mobile phone's or mobile electronic device's phone number, but does not include electronic mail sent to an electronic mail address.
Increases the maximum fine for calling or texting numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry from $11,000 to $20,000.
Requires phone service suppliers to provide customers more complete and more frequent information on these protections, how to register their numbers on the Do Not Call list, and how to file a complaint.

To learn more about the Do Not Call Registry or to register your number, visit www.donotcall.gov.

Protecting electricity customers

In Connecticut, residents may buy electricity from utilities at a standard service rate or from commercial electric suppliers at rates that may be variable. During the past year, many customers of these suppliers have been surprised by sudden rate spikes, and many more have felt that they have not been receiving the information they need to make informed choices.

PA 14-75 is aimed at preventing deceptive marketing practices by third-party electric suppliers and providing better information to consumers by:

Prohibiting suppliers from raising rates for the first three billing cycles of new contracts initiated on or after July 1, 2014.
Requiring suppliers to provide advance notification about certain rate changes to residential customers.
Prohibiting suppliers from charging cancellation or termination fees to residents who move in-state or have no contract and pay month-to-month variable rates.
Requiring electric companies to switch residential customers to standard service within 72 hours of their requests.
Requiring both electric utilities and electric suppliers to distribute and disclose rate information in bills and mailings and online that will make it easier for customers to compare prices.

Protecting pet shop customers and promoting humane treatment of animals

The prevalence of "puppy mills", which sell dogs bred in unhealthy and inhumane conditions, has long been a concern for many of us in the General Assembly. PA 14-77 is an important first step toward limiting the sale through pet shops of dogs bred by puppy mills and other types of commercial breeders who engage in inhumane practices. Under the new law:

The Department of Agriculture must develop a standard of care that in-state dog and cat breeders must provide to animals.
Pet shop licensees may not purchase or sell dogs or cats from breeders who have violated USDA animal welfare regulations during the previous two years.
The amount that pet shops must reimburse customers for veterinary treatment of a dog or a cat that becomes ill shortly after purchase increases.
Pet shops must post USDA inspection reports for breeders of any dogs offered for sale.

This legislation is of course a step forward not only for consumer protection, but also for animal welfare.

I was pleased to support each of these bills. All have been signed into law by the governor.

If you have questions or concerns about any of them, or about any other issue, please contact me at 800-842-1423 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Subscribe

Follow Plymouth HamletHub