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New Connecticut Laws Add Consumer Protection On Texts, Calls, Utilities

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WILTON, CONN. – The General Assembly during this year’s legislative session passed three new consumer protection bills, including one to ban unsolicited text messages and strengthens penalties regarding the Do Not Call Registry.

“Ensuring that consumers have adequate protection is part of creating a healthy economic climate,” state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143rd District) said in a press release. She represents Norwalk, Westport and Wilton. 

One bill, PA 14-53, prohibits marketers from sending commercial text messages to a person's phone without the person’s prior written consent. law does not apply to electronic mail sent to an electronic mail address.

It increases the fine for calling or texting numbers on the Do Not Call Registry from $11,000 to $20,000.

PA 14-75 protects electricity consumers. In Connecticut, residents may buy electricity from utilities at a standard service rate or from commercial electric suppliers at varying rates.

This law prohibits suppliers from raising rates for the first three billing cycles of new contracts initiated on or after July 1, 2014. It also requires suppliers to provide advanced notification about certain rate changes and prohibits suppliers from charging cancellation or termination fees to residents who move in state or have no contracts and pay month-to-month variable rates. It also requires electric companies to switch customers to standard service within 72 hours of their requests.

PA 14-77 aims to protect pet shop customers and promote humane treatment of animals. It requires the Department of Agriculture to develop a standard of care that state dog and cat breeders must provide to animals. It prohibits pet shop licensees from selling or purchasing cats or dogs from breeders who have violated USDA animal welfare regulations in the past two years. The law increases the amount that pet shops must reimburse to customers for veterinary treatment of a dog or cat that becomes ill shortly after purchase.

These bills have been signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy. 

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