HARTFORD — State Sen. Joseph Crisco, Jr. (D-17) voted with a majority of his Senate colleagues to approve a bill designed to protect consumers from unscrupulous service contractors during emergency circumstances.
Crisco said, in a press release issued by his office, the legislation stems directly from the experience of some state residents after recent severe weather episodes.
Crisco said existing statutes had protections in place for unconscionable price increases under comparable conditions for products and commodities, but state law clearly had to be expanded to include such services as tree removal, protection or relief from flooding, and emergency home repair.
“According to the language of this bill, a violation under these special circumstances amounts to an unfair trade or deceptive practice, and common sense assures me Connecticut consumers must be protected from those who would take advantage of people that way,” Crisco said in a statement. “The idea seems particularly egregious to me given the public safety aspects of the services required under emergency conditions.”
An assessment about whether or not a price is unconscionably excessive is based on a number of factors, and explicit evidence of unconscionable pricing exists when there is a gross disparity between the price of goods or services during the weather emergency and their average price 30 days before the emergency began, or the sale price for goods and services grossly exceeds the sale price to consumers in the trade area. The state Department of Consumer Protection would investigate any charges resulting from this bill, should it become law.
“This is an important piece of consumer protection legislation and I’m pleased it received the Senate’s support again this year, for the third consecutive year,” Crisco added. “With a 31-5 favorable margin in the Senate I hope our counterparts in the House will act favorably on this bill this year as well.”