Hutchison Praises Passage of E-Commerce Legislation

December 15, 2010

Hutchison PortraitWASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today praised Congressional passage of legislation that will stop retailers from sharing Americans’ personal and credit card information from online shopping transactions with third party marketers.  The measure addresses the growing problem of retail companies partnering with unaffiliated third parties to sign consumers up for recurring billing charges for other services without clearly notifying online consumers of these charges.  The bill, titled the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act, was approved by the Senate last month after Senator Hutchison joined Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D – W.Va) in a bipartisan amendment that garnered unanimous support. The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today.  The measure now heads to the President to be signed into law.

“This legislation balances the need for legitimate online retailing with the need to better protect consumers from deceptive practices,” said Senator Hutchison.  “This measure is especially timely considering the large boost online shopping gets during the holiday season.  Consumers should be confident that their online shopping experience is safe and that their personal and financial information is not being used to sign them up for expensive services without their expressed permission. Hopefully this bill will help save online consumers millions of dollars by protecting them from abusive business practices.”

The Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (S. 3386) would specifically prohibit misleading post-transaction advertisements by companies and require them to obtain billing information, including full credit or debit card numbers, directly from consumers and to more clearly disclose the terms of any additional offers.  The bill would also prohibit online retailers and other commercial websites from transferring a consumer’s billing information, including credit and debit card numbers, to third party sellers after the transaction has been completed.  Finally to ensure consumers will not end up paying recurring fees for goods and services they did not intend to purchase, the bill will mandate Internet companies to meet certain minimum disclosure and enrollment requirements.

# # #