A bill that substantially changes consumer contracts, harming the state's businesses and economic climate, was approved by the Connecticut legislature's Appropriations Committee this week.
HB 5561 includes several provisions profoundly changing certain business contracts, such as opening businesses to untold penalties by making it a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act to include any “presumptively unconscionable terms” in a consumer contract.
The bill, which the committee approved 30-25 with two members absent, also says it’s unconscionable if a contract waives a consumer’s right to assert claims or seek remedies provided by state or federal law.
Consumer contracts often limit liability, and usually contain arbitration clauses in which a consumer waives the right to bring suits in courts of general jurisdiction or class actions. HB 5561 contradicts federal law and recent United States Supreme Court decisions.
If adopted, the proposal will generate unneeded litigation that only benefits trial lawyers.
Consumers in Connecticut already have ample avenues to seek relief against a business.
On the other hand, Connecticut is already considered an extremely business unfriendly state, and whether reality or perception, this bill adds to it.
HB 5561 will be a disincentive for businesses to conduct their business here and make them think twice about whether Connecticut is the right place to sell their products & services.
CBIA will continue to work with other associations and interested parties to urge Connecticut state lawmakers to reject this proposal.