State News

Vt. House approves consumer protection plan

The Vermont House unanimously approved H.593, the consumer protection bill, on Jan. 17. This legislation addresses automatic contract renewals, retainage for construction materials, credit protection for vulnerable persons and use of credit info for personal insurance.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson supported the legislation, stating that “one important feature of this bill is the provision that ensure that Vermonters who invest in consumer contracts are not subject to automatic renewals unless they explicitly opt in to the provision. This protects Vermonters from companies that automatically renew contracts and charge consumers for services year after year, such as magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, and media streaming services. Sellers will be required to provide a notice of renewal 30-60 days before the auto renewal or termination date.”

“This legislation ensures that no vulnerable Vermonter’s personal information may be used without their consent. Those most vulnerable to identity theft, especially minors and those who are incapacitated, are protected with a provision allowing a guardian to freeze their credit record,” Representative Michael Marcotte, vice chair of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee said.

House Commerce and Economic Development Committee Chair, Rep. Bill Botzow added: “As well as protecting vulnerable Vermonters, this bill is an important step forward that ensures Vermont insurers are considering more than just a credit score when determining personal insurance rates. That is why this bill also puts in place a process for consumers to explain any negative factors on the credit report that may have been caused by extraordinary life circumstances.”

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