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Substitute Senate Bill No. 399

Public Act No. 04-207

AN ACT CONCERNING INTRODUCTORY RATE OFFERS AND AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OF CONSUMER CONTRACTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 42-126b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) No person, firm, partnership, association or corporation, or agent or employee thereof, shall, in any manner, or by any means, offer for sale goods, wares or merchandise, where the offer includes the voluntary and unsolicited sending of goods, wares or merchandise not actually ordered or requested by the recipient, either orally or in writing. The receipt of any such unsolicited goods, wares or merchandise shall for all purposes be deemed an unconditional gift to the recipient who may use or dispose of the same in any manner [he] such recipient sees fit without any obligation on [his] such recipient's part to the sender.

(b) Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that sells or offers to sell any products or services used primarily for personal, family or household purposes pursuant to a trial offer or at an introductory rate that will change at the end of the introductory rate period, shall provide the recipient of such products or services with clear and conspicuous written notice that the recipient may cancel such products or services upon the expiration of such trial offer or introductory rate period. Such notice shall include the procedure for such cancellation and shall be provided with any written promotional material for such products or services furnished to the recipient before the start of the trial offer or the introductory rate period or with the initial delivery of such products or services to the recipient. Any such products or services furnished to the recipient after the expiration of such trial offer or introductory rate period, where such trial offer or introductory rate period is cancelled or not otherwise renewed or continued by the recipient, shall be deemed an unconditional gift under subsection (a) of this section. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to (1) any trial offer or introductory rate period provided by a public service company, as defined in section 16-1, as amended, an affiliate or subsidiary of such public service company, or any certified telecommunications provider, as defined in section 16-1, as amended, to any consumer with whom such public service company, affiliate or subsidiary, or certified telecommunications provider has an established and ongoing business relationship, provided such public service company, affiliate or subsidiary, or certified telecommunications provider shall inform such consumer of the procedure to cancel such trial offer [, and] or to cancel after the expiration of the introductory rate period, (2) any transaction involving the use of a negative option plan that is governed by 16 CFR Part 425, (3) any contract subject to the provisions of sections 36a-675 to 36a-685, inclusive, and (4) any introductory rate where the rate paid by the consumer after the end of the introductory rate period has been clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer in the contract.

(c) (1) Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that sells or offers to sell any products or services used primarily for personal, family or household purposes for a specified period of time of more than one hundred eighty days pursuant to a written contract that contains a provision for automatic renewal of the contract for a period of time of more than thirty-one days at the end of the period of time specified in the contract shall provide the recipient of such products or services with a clear and conspicuous written notice that the recipient may cancel such contract. Such notice shall include the procedure for such cancellation. Such notice shall be given at least fifteen days but not more than sixty days prior to the end of such specified period of time.

(2) Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that sells or offers to sell any products or services used primarily for personal, family or household purposes for a specified period of time of one hundred eighty days or less pursuant to a written contract that contains a provision for automatic renewal of the contract for a period of time of more than thirty-one days at the end of the period of time specified in the contract, shall include in such contract a clear and conspicuous written notice that the recipient of such products or services may cancel such contract and the procedure for such cancellation, provided the recipient shall not be required to exercise such right of cancellation more than sixty days prior to the expiration of the specified period of time.

(3) If such notice is not provided to the recipient in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection or included in the contract in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection, as the case may be, any such products or services furnished to the recipient after the expiration of the period of time specified in the contract shall be deemed an unconditional gift under subsection (a) of this section.

(4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to apply to a health club contract subject to the provisions of section 21a-219, a contract subject to the provisions of sections 36a-675 to 36a-685, inclusive or any contract between a condominium or housing association and a person other than an individual.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any banking, insurance or securities product or service, the provision of which is subject to regulation or licensing by the state or a federal agency.

[(c)] (e) A violation of any provision of this section shall be deemed an unfair or deceptive trade practice under subsection (a) of section 42-110b.

Approved June 3, 2004