The General Law Committee considered a number of potentially negative measures this session. Fortunately, most were watered down or substantially changed. However, one does carry concerns for businesses.
SB 315 is designed to protect individuals from identity theft, despite federal and state laws already in place to do just that. But the bill's primary effect would have been to restrict the lawful collection of identifying information (such as Social Security numbers) by businesses with whom consumers have a voluntary relationship.
As approved by the committee, the bill now includes built-in exceptions for some businesses (such as health insurance companies) for which the data is critically necessary. Committee members also said they would further refine the bill before a vote in the legislature.
As first drafted SB 268 created a mandate on retailers of wireless communications devices that would have raised business costs and misled consumers about product safety.
However, the committee replaced the bill’s original language with a requirement simply to post a "best practices" notice on the state Department of Consumer Protection’s website.
SB 316 adds new and needlessly cumulative reporting requirements on businesses that offer introductory rates or trial offers. It also requires a consumer’s affirmative notification of automatic renewals even when their contract already contains an automatic renewal clause.
<p> These requirements would place an enormous burden on service providers who would have to send a written reminder of a provision already agreed to and signed by their customers in a valid contract for services.
Adding redundancy to business notification requirements and service contracts would be confusing to consumers while also increasing the cost of doing business in Connecticut.
It is encouraging that the General Law Committee took steps to address the concerns of the business community this session. As the state continues to recover from the recession, we’re hopeful the legislature will avoid measures such as SB 316.