On May 24, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law H.84, legislation that cracks down on online dating scams and provides greater consumer protection in a number of other areas. The legislation was a priority of Attorney General Bill Sorrell.
Under the new law, online dating companies will be required to notify members of suspicious activity or when they are interacting with another user who has been banned from the site for potential fraud. Vermont is the first state to pass such protections. The move comes after the Attorney General’s Office investigated a number of cases involving online dating scams that resulted in Vermonters being ripped off for tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The law also protects consumers who buy goods or services online and inadvertently sign up for an additional good or service for which they are charged each month indefinitely. Under the new law, also first in the nation, companies will have to ensure that the consumer intended to buy the additional goods or services and must include information about how to cancel them on the emailed receipt.
The law brings greater oversight and regulation to the practice of consumer litigation funding, which has been the subject of increased scrutiny.