03/10/2017

Consumer Protection

An Act promoting financial stability and asset development – S.37

This bill promotes the use of vocational educational programs among individuals receiving aid from DTA and creates a work expense deduction of no less than $250 for families with dependent children.

An Act relative to fairness in debt collection – S.120

Nearly one in four Massachusetts residents with credit reports a debt in collection. This bill would raise the garnishment threshold, shorten the statute of limitations for debt collection, and restrict the use of imprisonment as a punishment for non-payment.

An Act protecting consumers in the issuance of sports and entertainment tickets – S.115

Currently, many issuers of sports and entertainment tickets do not offer hard-copy ticketing. Instead, the ticket is stored electronically according to the consumer’s credit card number. The absence of a hard-copy option requires the cardholder to be present at the event. This bill requires operators of a place of entertainment to offer a hard-copy ticketing option without additional fees if they use a paperless ticketing system.

An Act protecting the privacy of consumer financial information – S.116

This bill would give consumers the final say in how and whether their private financial information is shared. Financial institutions would be required to get consumers’ permission (“opt-in”) before sharing consumer nonpublic financial information with outside companies. Financial institutions would also be required to send user-friendly notifications to their consumers of the consumers’ rights under this law. Finally, financial institutions would be barred from discriminating against a consumer or denying them access to a financial product solely because the consumer decided against allowing their information to be shared. Sharing of information would be allowed in certain special circumstances, such as to prevent identify theft, to locate missing persons or child support payments, or for law enforcement purposes.