Consumerism Legislation



Consumerism Legislation

SB 184 (Polanco-D) Barbers and cosmetologists

Establishes an industry advisory committee to assist with the regulation of barbers and cosmetologists. Extends the sunset date on the Barbers and Cosmetology Act to July 1, 2005.

Vetoed by the Governor

SB 322 (Craven-R) Auto body repair: shop certification

Creates a Better Auto Body Repair Shop Gold Star Program to require the Bureau of Automotive Repair to establish standards for the voluntary certification of auto body repair facilities.

(Died in Senate Business and Professions Committee)

SB 369 (Kopp-I) Scanning devices

Authorizes the State Department of Food and Agriculture to adopt regulations for point-of-sale stations to verify the accuracy of advertised prices and to determine the correct use of sale equipment. Enacts the California Shops with Confidence Consumer Protection Act, making it unlawful to operate a point-of-sale station in any county without registering with the county, as specified.

(Died in Assembly Appropriations Committee)

SB 382 (Thompson-D) Home protection contract

Requires a written disclosure to be made to the purchaser of a home protection contract, as specified.

(Died in Senate Insurance Committee)

SB 597 (Peace-D) Internet use

Expands false advertising laws to include advertising disseminated or published over the Internet.

Chapter 599, Statutes of 1998

SB 621 (Rosenthal-D) Dog breeders

Requires every dog breeder to obtain an annual dog breeder permit from the local health officer or local animal control agency, as specified.

(Died in Senate Judiciary Committee)

SB 709 (Rosenthal-D) Self-help legal services

Specifies that provisions by legal technicians of self-help legal services does not constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

(Died in Senate Judiciary Committee)

SB 930 (Rosenthal-D) Consumer credit

Increases change of address verification requirements on credit card issuers and increases civil penalties for violation of the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act.

(Died on Assembly Inactive File))

SB 1086* (Schiff-D) Self-service storage facilities

Revises the definition of self-service storage facility and provides that the owner or operator of self-service storage facility or a household goods carrier may transport and store individual storage containers subject to certain restrictions.

Chapter 45, Statutes of 1998

SB 1280 (Leslie-R) Coffee: misbranding

Provides that any coffee is misbranded if it purports, or is represented to consist of a particular type of coffee bean, by packaging, labeling, or advertising, and it does not consist of 100% of the identified type of coffee bean.

(Died in Senate Health and Human Services Committee)

SB 1348 (Senate Business And Professions Committee) Omnibus consumer bill

Extends to sellers of travel services the right to appeal a decision by the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC) that is currently provided only to a purchaser of travel services. Increases from $25 to $35 the yearly fee assessed by the TCRC for administration costs. Allows the TCRC to seek recovery from a seller of travel of amounts paid from the TCRC operations fund. Increases from $10,000 to $25,000 the bond which an immigration consultant is required to file with the Secretary of State and extends the sunset dates relating to immigration consultants 4 years to 2002. Provides a civil penalty for advertising tobacco products within 1,000 feet of a school or playground. This corrects a chaptering problem relative to tobacco advertising due to SB 68 of 1997 being chaptered after AB 752 of 1992.

Chapter 790, Statutes of 1998

SB 1374 (Leslie-R) Personal information

Expands the statute criminalizing identity theft to include using personal information for any unlawful purpose, including obtaining medical records, as specified.

Chapter 488, Statutes of 1998

SB 1414 (Lewis-R) Swap meets: gun shows

Exempts certain gun shows or events conducted in accordance with specified provisions of law from the law concerning swap meets' reporting requirements.

(Died in Senate Business and Professions Committee)

Similar legislation was AB 2504 (Goldsmith-R) which died in Assembly Public Safety Committee.

SB 1418 (Rosenthal-D) Legal document assistants

Creates a four-year pilot project, prohibiting a legal document assistant from providing self-help services to the public unless the assistant is registered in the county in which services are being provided.

Chapter 1079, Statutes of 1998

SB 1454 (Leslie-R) Investigative consumer reporting

Requires that persons who use the services of investigative consumer reporting agencies must disclose that a report has been commissioned to any person who is the subject of the report. It requires the agency to keep any information gathered for 60 days. It also requires the agency to disclose the name and address of any additional recipients of the consumer investigative report (i.e., any other employers or merchants). Creates a mechanism for resolving disputes as to the accuracy of information contained in investigative consumer reports. Requires resolution within 30 days of notice of the dispute. Provides that investigative consumer agencies must consider "all relevant information provided by the consumer" in determining whether to alter a report. Increases penalties for violation (i.e., failing to notify a person when an investigative consumer report has been made on them). The bill establishes a cap on actual damages of $2,500, up from the current cap of $300.

Chapter 988, Statutes of 1998

SB 1471 (McPherson-R) Interior design

Extends the sunset date of the interior design law from January 1, 1999 to January 1, 2002, as specified.

Chapter 261, Statutes of 1998

SB 1476 (Costa-D) Sweepstakes solicitation

Prohibits any person from soliciting or selling an information-access service (900 or 976 numbers) in any manner related to a sweepstakes. Double-joined to SB 597 (Peace-D).

Chapter 354, Statutes of 1998

SB 1727 (Sher-D) Wood products: labeling

Requires that raw wood products be identified with respect to the county or origin and species that was the source of wood products, or the trade name.

(Died on Senate Inactive File)

SB 1759 (Ayala-D) Liens and encumbrances

Prohibits the filing of false liens or encumbrances against public officials pertaining to actions that arise in the course and scope of the public official's duties. Provides remedies for removal of existing false liens.

Chapter 779, Statutes of 1998

SB 1780 (Peace-D) Sweepstakes: contest advertising

Prohibits misrepresentations regarding the winning or having won any prize on contest advertising.

Chapter 280, Statutes of 1998

SB 1915 (Sher-D) Retail food facilities

Requires the State Department of Health Services to establish procedures for local health agencies to report food facility inspection information in a standardized electronic format.

Vetoed by the Governor

SB 1920 (Karnette-D) Drugs: prescriptions

Requires the State Department of Health Services to prescribe guidelines to be followed for the proper and safe disposal of prescription drugs, and requires labels on those drugs include those guidelines.

(Died in Senate Health and Human Services Committee)

SB 2024 (Rainey-R) Collectibles: autographs

Provides that the term collectible applies to any autographed sports item sold or offered for sale to a consumer for $5 or more and the term promoter applies to a person who arranges, holds, organizes, or presents a trade show featuring collectibles, autograph signings, or both. Expands the enumerated requirement of a certificate of authenticity.

Chapter 494, Statutes of 1998

SB 2036 (Rosenthal-D) Outdoor advertising

Permits the removal of billboards by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority without compensation to the owners under certain conditions, as specified.

(Died in Assembly Governmental Organization Committee)

SB 2075 (Polanco-D) Appliance and electronics service contracts

Provides, on or after January 1, 2000, service contracts subject to regulation under the Appliance Repair Dealer Registration Law to include service contracts offered or issued by a person or affiliate of a person whose business is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission if specified conditions are met. Increases the fee authority of the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair. Requires Department of Consumer Affairs, in consultation with Department of Insurance and other entities, to conduct a study relating to home service contracts. Appropriates $50,000 for the study.

Chapter 1075, Statutes of 1998

SB 2102 (Rosenthal-D) Dogs: breeding and sale

Redefines the term breeder and revises penalties for violating specified breeding restrictions, as specified.

(Failed passage in Assembly Consumer Protection, Governmental Efficiency and Economic Development Committee)

SB 2175 (Alpert-D) Sellers of travel

Reinstates, until January 1, 2006, the Sellers of Travel Law Program and expands coverage of the law to the land portions of trips, such as surface transportation, meals, guide, sightseeing, and vehicle rental. Specifies re-registration for sellers of travel and provides for other consumer protections. Requires the Attorney General to report to the Legislature on or before January 1, 2005, regarding, among other things, the sellers of travel registration program, the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation, and the Travel Consumer Restitution Fund.

Chapter 924, Statutes of 1998

SB 2181 (Thompson-D) Automotive Repair Act

Establishes, until January 1, 2001, the California Automotive Repair Advisory Committee to analyze the effectiveness of the automotive repair industry in meeting the needs of California consumers and replaces the term "mechanic" with "automotive technician."

(Died on Assembly Inactive File)

SB 2214 (Leslie-R) Injured Consumers' Bill of Legal Rights

Regulates the practice of law in personal injury claims by requiring an attorney representing a client in a personal injury action to make specified written disclosures before the attorney is hired, while the case is pending, and upon conclusion of the case.

(Died in Senate Judiciary Committee)

SB 2238 (Senate Business And Professions Committee) Professions

Makes various changes to the regulation of mental health professionals, dentists, automotive technicians, boxers, hearing professionals, landscape architects, private investigators, notaries public, immigration consultants, retail casket sellers, and pest control operators.

Chapter 879, Statutes of 1998

AB 46 (Sweeney-D) Service charges and surcharges

Prohibits penalties for proponents of credit card debt and prohibits surcharges for the use of certain ATM machines.

(Died in Assembly Banking and Finance Committee)

AB 183 (Richter-R) Motor Vehicle Owners' Rights Advocate

Requires the Director of State Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to establish the position of Motor Vehicle Owners' Rights Advocate within DCA to act as the department's principal proponent for consumers who complain to the department about problems relating to the vehicle inspection and maintenance (smog check) program.

Vetoed by the Governor

AB 225 (Woods-R) Motor vehicle lease: advertisements

Requires radio advertisements for motor vehicle leases to include a referral to either a toll-free number or to a printed advertisement with general information, as specified.

(Died in Senate Judiciary Committee)

AB 872 (Wright-D) Consumer credit contracts: liens

Provides that no seller is to enter into or obtain a consumer credit contract for the sale of home improvement goods or services offered by door-to-door sale that contains or is secured by a lien to be attached to real property, except as specified.

(Died in Assembly Judiciary Committee)

AB 1289 (Pringle-R) Amusement rides

Enacts the California Rider Safety Notification Act imposing duties upon amusement facilities, riders of amusement rides, and parents or guardians of minor riders.

(Died in Assembly Labor and Employment Committee)

AB 1498 (Campbell-R) Drive-thru facilities: accessibility

Makes legislative findings and declarations regarding the importance of drive-thru facilities in providing access to the disabled and the elderly. Limits the ability of local agencies to disapprove, or conditionally approve, a drive-thru facility or modify the conditions on existing drive-thru facilities that would make the application or existing business "infeasible" unless certain findings are made.

(Failed passage in Assembly Appropriations Committee)

AB 1629 (Miller-R) Advertising

Prohibits the unauthorized use of electronic mail networks to send unsolicited e-mail advertisements and exempts specified nonprofit organizations from the state's telemarketing regulatory scheme.

Chapter 863, Statutes of 1998

AB 1638 (Brown-D) Consumer liability

Limits consumer liability for unauthorized debit card charges to a maximum of $50, as specified.

(Died in Assembly Consumer Protection, Governmental Efficiency, and Economic Development Committee)

AB 1650 (Richter-R) Gasoline: labeling

Repeals the requirement that pumps and dispensers used to retail gasoline containing alcohol be labeled to indicate that a portion of the fuel is alcohol.

Chapter 459, Statutes of 1998

AB 1676 (Bowen-D) Advertising: electronic mail

Prohibits the practice of sending unsolicited commercial e-mail, which is commonly referred to as spam or junk e-mail.

Chapter 865, Statutes of 1998

AB 1705 (Torlakson-D) Cremated remains

Repeals the current prohibition against scattering cremated human remains on land in California, and reduces the current 3-mile offshore scattering limit to 500 yards. Imposes additional duties and requirements on crematal remains disposers, and strengthens disclosure and reporting requirements on funeral directors and cremated remain disposers.

Chapter 614, Statutes of 1998

AB 1709 (Alquist-D) Cemetery and funeral fraud

Requires that a funeral establishment or cemetery authority make available to any individual who, in person, inquires about funeral or cemetery purchases, a copy of a consumer guide for such purchases, provided and approved by the State Department of Consumer Affairs, in consultation with the funeral directors and other interested parties. Subjects retail casket sellers to certain regulatory requirements.

Chapter 286, Statutes of 1998

AB 1810 (Davis-D) Charitable fundraising

Requires fundraising counsels who earn over $25,000 and commercial conventurers (unless they have a written contract, to release their financial rewards on a quarterly basis directly to their associated charitable organization), to register and file an annual report of fundraising activities and fees with the Attorney General. Requires the Attorney General to provide public access to these reports via the Internet.

Chapter 445, Statutes of 1998

AB 1830 (Davis-D) Seller assisted marketing plan

Makes various changes to the seller assisted marketing plans to provide for more disclosures and consumer protections.

Chapter 595, Statutes of 1998

AB 1848 (Davis-D) Motor vehicle warranties: lemon law

Expands the definition of new motor vehicle under the Tanner Consumer Protection Act, a.k.a. the lemon law, to include a new motor vehicle that is used for both personal transportation and by a business with fewer than 5 vehicles.

Chapter 352, Statutes of 1998

Similar legislation was SB 289 (Calderon-D) which failed passage in Assembly Consumer Protection, Governmental Efficiency, and Economic Development Committee.

AB 1872 (Baca-D) Telephonic marketing

Prohibits certain telephonic sellers from using courier or pickup services to obtain a purchaser's payment until after the goods are delivered, and prohibits a person from collecting a fee for attempting to recover certain property prior to seven business days after recovering and delivering such property. Provides an offender is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Chapter 446, Statutes of 1998

AB 1876 (Floyd-D) Auto service contracts

Establishes a plan to regulate auto service contracts.

(Failed passage in Assembly Insurance Committee)

AB 1893 (Scott-D) Cable television: consumer contracts

Restructures the cable television industry by imposing new requirements on cable television providers and public franchisers.

(Died in Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee)

AB 1940 (Torlakson-D) Amusement rides

Provides for employee training, the reporting of injuries, and insurance relating to permanent amusement rides.

(Failed passage in Assembly Labor and Employment Committee)

AB 1978 (Campbell-R) Retail food facilities

Seeks to increase and expand the food safety regulations in order to protect the public from food contamination in retail food facilities.

Chapter 720, Statutes of 1998

AB 1994 (Bowen-D) Telephone calling cards

Provides for minimum disclosures in the advertising of prepaid telephone calling cards. Requires the availability of information at the point of sale of these cards and on the cards themselves. Provides for a refund policy if the telephone service fails to operate. Provisions of the bill take effect on July 1, 1999.

Chapter 802, Statutes of 1998

AB 2090 (Miller-R) Fireworks

Allows the State Fire Marshal to license the sale of fireworks from November 26, 1999 to January 1, 2000 in order to celebrate the millennium.

Chapter 363, Statutes of 1998

AB 2134 (Escutia-D) Telecommunications: solicitations

Requires telephone companies to give their residential customers information detailing consumer's privacy rights along with other annual information required by Federal Communications Commission.

Chapter 473, Statutes of 1998

AB 2193 (Granlund-R) Outdoor advertising

Excludes from the definition of signs regulated by the Outdoor Advertising Act, those signs displaying a city or county name and the names of civic, fraternal or religious organizations located within the affected city or county.

Chapter 300, Statutes of 1998

AB 2202 (Floyd-D) Outdoor advertising

Provides that the owner of any unlawful or abandoned advertising display removed by the Director of Transportation under the Outdoor Advertising Act is liable for costs of removal.

(Died in Assembly Governmental Organization Committee)

AB 2277 (Kuykendall-R) Warranties: motor vehicles

Makes numerous modifications to the lemon law relating to motor homes, including doubling the lemon presumption period, increases the days out of service, requires written notification from consumers to motor home manufacturers, and other modifications.

(Died in Senate Judiciary Committee)

AB 2301 (Wright-D) Contracts

Requires the attachment of a warning notice to any contract for the sale of home improvement goods or services that is secured by a lien on real property and is offered by door-to-door sale.

Chapter 571, Statutes of 1998

AB 2314 (Papan-D) Car rentals

Repeals the maximum amount that may be charged for an optional collision damage waiver, except for the lowest priced category of vehicles. Requires a rental company to disclose additional information regarding the renter's personal insurance coverage or protection provided by the issuer of the credit card used to pay for the car rental.

(Died in Senate Judiciary Committee)

AB 2410 (Shelley-D) Lemon law: gag orders

Prohibits the inclusion of a "gag order" in any agreement between a consumer and automobile manufacturer for the buy-back of a non-conforming automobile, a.k.a. a lemon.

Chapter 1063, Statutes of 1998

Similar legislation was SB 1773 (Calderon-D) which died in Senate Judiciary Committee.

AB 2511 (Morrow-R) Unfair practices

Prohibits a person from bringing a further representative action on behalf of others similarly situated against the same defendant alleging the same wrongful conduct if the previous representative action is either tried or settled with court approval.

(Died in Assembly Judiciary Committee)

AB 2618 (Granlund-R) Fitness club contracts

Expands consumers' rights to modify fitness club contracts.

(Died in Assembly Consumer Protection, Governmental Efficiency, and Economic Development Committee)

AB 2642* (Wildman-D) Consumer credit

Requires a card issuer to provide each cardholder a written explanation, as specified, of any new fees or penalties, changes in fees, penalties or interest rates, and any addition or deletion of any service, including, but not limited to, auto rental insurance coverage and extended warranty coverage, provided through the card issuer. Prohibits a card issuer from charging a cardholder a fee or higher interest rate solely on the basis that the cardholder pays off his or her balance in full when due. Imposes a $10,000 civil penalty for a violation of these provisions.

(Died in Assembly Banking and Finance Committee)

AB 2704 (Alquist-D) Service contracts

Specifically subjects the obligor on service contracts to regulation by the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair and the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and revises definitions of "service contract" and "home appliance."

Chapter 196, Statutes of 1998

AB 2802 (Assembly Consumer Protection, Governmental Efficiency, And Economic Development Committee) Consumer protection omnibus bill

Changes the names of the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers and the Cemetery Board to the Funeral Directors and Embalmers Program and the Cemetery Program, each to be administered by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Allows each bureau and program under the direct authority of the Director of Consumer Affairs to synchronize the renewal dates of licenses granted to applicants with more than one license issued by the bureau or program. Establishes a standard "abandonment date" for applications that have been returned to the applicant as incomplete.

Revises certain provisions dealing with the process for appealing citations issued for violation of the Barber and Cosmetology Program's rules and regulations. Revises provisions concerning registration of private patrol operators and alarm company employees.

Extends sunset date of the Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind from January 1, 1999 to July 1, 2002. Makes revisions in the registration of automotive repair dealers. Deletes requirement that the State Athletic Commission issue performance cards to all boxers who fight in California. Increases the renewal periods for licenses and registrations issued by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. Prescribes certain standards pursuant to which the Department of Consumer Affairs may hold and manage conserved cemetery trust funds. Double-joined with AB 1705.

Chapter 970, Statutes of 1998

AJR 57 (Cardoza-D) Bed bunk safety

Recognizes the child safety hazards posed by unsafe bunk beds, and calls upon the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission to adopt immediately a specified mandatory safety standard for bunk beds made for children.

(Died in Assembly Rules Committee)