Senate Passes Bill Banning Deceptive Online Sales Practices

Ever been automatically enrolled in a program that bills your card every month? Legislation is progressing to stop this online tactic.

December 1, 2010 Klobuchar pushes to eliminate underhanded tactics that charge consumers for unwanted services.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today that the Senate passed a bill protecting online consumers from predatory sales tactics that charge customers for services they were unaware they had purchased. Klobuchar is an original cosponsor of the bill, the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act, which was introduced after a Commerce Committee investigation revealed that some companies aggressively sought to enroll online consumers in costly services without their consent.

“As a former prosecutor, I’ve always believed that our laws must keep pace with advances in technology,” Klobuchar said. “Companies should compete in the free market based on the quality of their products and services – not on how well they can swindle unsuspecting consumers online. This bill boosts e-commerce by rooting out ‘bad actors’ and creating a level playing field online.”

Following introduction of the bill, several companies began to eliminate these practices in response to the efforts of Klobuchar and her Senate colleagues.  The bill would continue to protect future online shoppers by:

• Prohibiting companies from using misleading post-transaction advertisements by requiring them to clearly disclose the terms of the offers to consumers and to obtain consumers’ billing information, including full credit or debit card numbers, directly from the consumers.

• Prohibiting Internet retailers and other commercial websites from transferring a consumer’s billing information, including credit and debit card numbers, to post-transaction third-party sellers.

• Requiring companies that use “negative options” on the Internet to meet certain minimum disclosure and enrollment requirements, so consumers will not end up paying recurring fees for goods and services they did not intend to purchase.

Klobuchar serves on the Commerce Committee, which has authority over most Internet issues. The bill is also sponsored by Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Mark Pryor (D-AK), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and George LeMieux (R-FL).

see prior articles Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act.