Chairman Rockefeller's E-Commerce Bill Clears Congress

Consumer Protection Legislation Heads to President’s Desk

December 15, 2010

Chairman RockefellerWASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today lauded final congressional passage of his legislation to protect consumers from online scams. The legislation, the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act, cleared the U.S. House of Representatives today and now heads to President Obama’s desk.

Chairman Rockefeller’s statement follows:

“This is a victory for American consumers. This legislation provides new standards that make sure businesses can’t bill online shoppers for services they did not want to buy. Last year, the Committee learned that unscrupulous businesses used offers of rebates and rewards as a smokescreen to pick the pockets of millions of online shoppers. It’s not the way business should be done in America – and now it will end. We’re slamming the door on this billion dollar scam. I want to thank Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Henry A. Waxman for helping to secure final passage of this important consumer protection bill.” 

The Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act will put an end to deceptive online sales tactics that bilked millions of Americans out of more than one billion dollars. The legislation will protect online shoppers by:

  • Prohibiting companies from using misleading post-transaction advertisements by requiring them to clearly disclose the terms of their offers, and to obtain billing information, including full credit or debit card numbers, directly from consumers.
  • Prohibiting Internet retailers and other commercial websites (“initial merchants”) from transferring a consumer’s billing information, including credit and debit card numbers, to post-transaction third party sellers.
  • Requiring companies that use “negative options” on the Internet to meet certain minimum disclosure and enrollment requirements, so consumers will not end up paying recurring fees for goods and services they did not intend to purchase.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Chairman Rockefeller’s legislation will save Americans hundreds of millions of dollars by stopping deceptive online sales practices.