Relates to automatic renewals of magazine subscriptions; requires certain notice and protections.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to requirements for the renewal of magazine subscriptions
To prohibit magazine publishers or firms directly associated with them from certain practices as they relate to automatic renewal of their subscription.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 states that no publisher or associated corporation shallfail to represent automatic renewal terms in a clear and conspicuous manner before the agreement is fulfilled. Further they shall not charge the consumer without first obtaining the consumer's affirmative consent to the agreement of renewal. This section also requires acknowledgement and information on how to cancel, while requiring information be presented on how to contact the company to cancel. This section also expressly requires that material changes in the terms and conditions shall be provided with a clear and conspicuous notice and information on how to cancel.
Section 2 is the effective date.
Many time consumers will purchase a subscription to a magazine at a discounted rate, or at a regular rate and use that time to decide whether or not they enjoy that magazine and wish to continue receiving it at the end of the term. At the end of that time frame it should be the consumers choice to opt to continue receiving that magazine.
However some magazine companies and their affiliates change the terms mid way through the subscription by notifying subscribers that they must opt out of a subscription if they want it to end. For example an individual may subscribe to a magazine under favorable terms for a year subscription for ten dollars, nine months into that subscription a notice is sent to that individual saying if you do not let us know you wish to cancel, we will continue your subscription for another year at the rate of thirty-five dollars.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This act will take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2076--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 10, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. GRISANTI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to requirements for the renewal of magazine subscriptions THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 5 of section 335-a of the general business law is renumbered subdivision 6 and a new subdivision 5 is added to read as follows: 5. (A) IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PUBLISHER OF A MAGAZINE SOLD BY SUBSCRIPTION OR ANY PERSON, FIRM, ASSOCIATION OR CORPORATION ENGAGED IN BUSINESS, THE PRINCIPAL PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO REGULARLY SOLICIT MAGA- ZINE SUBSCRIPTION ORDERS FOR DELIVERY IN THIS STATE THROUGH THE MAIL FOR PROFIT, TO DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: (I) FAIL TO PRESENT THE AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OFFER TERMS OR CONTINUOUS SERVICE OFFER TERMS IN A CLEAR AND CONSPICUOUS MANNER BEFORE THE SUBSCRIPTION OR PURCHASING AGREEMENT IF FULFILLED; (II) CHARGE THE CONSUMER'S CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD OR THE CONSUMER'S ACCOUNT WITH A THIRD PARTY FOR AN AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OR CONTINUOUS SERVICE WITHOUT FIRST OBTAINING THE CONSUMER'S AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT TO THE AGREEMENT CONTAINING THE AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OFFER TERMS OR CONTINUOUS SERVICE OFFER TERMS; OR (III) FAIL TO PROVIDE AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT THAT INCLUDES THE AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OR CONTINUOUS SERVICE OFFER TERMS, CANCELLATION POLICY, AND INFORMATION REGARDING HOW TO CANCEL IN A MANNER THAT IS CAPABLE OF BEING RETAINED BY THE CONSUMER. (B) A PUBLISHER OR BUSINESS ENTITY MAKING AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OR CONTIN- UOUS SERVICE OFFERS SHALL PROVIDE A TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE NUMBER, ELEC- TRONIC MAIL ADDRESS, A POSTAL ADDRESS ONLY WHEN THE SELLER DIRECTLYEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05346-05-3 S. 2076--A 2
BILLS THE CONSUMER, OR ANOTHER COST-EFFECTIVE, TIMELY, AND EASY-TO-USE MECHANISM FOR CANCELLATION. (C) IN THE CASE OF A MATERIAL CHANGE IN THE TERMS OF THE AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OR CONTINUOUS SERVICE OFFER THAT HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY A CONSUMER IN THIS STATE, THE PUBLISHER OR BUSINESS ENTITY SHALL PROVIDE THE CONSUMER WITH A CLEAR AND CONSPICUOUS NOTICE OF THE MATERIAL CHANGE AND PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING HOW TO CANCEL. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.