2010-05-14 / Top Stories

Assembly Passes Subscription Renewal Law

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer is pleased to announce that legislation she sponsored to provide increased consumer protections for magazine subscribers, has passed the Assembly.

In 2006, Pheffer introduced legislation, Chapter 204 of the Laws of 2006, which required magazine publishers to provide subscribers with enhanced disclosure of the month and year in which their subscription expires in any written renewal invitation.

“As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection I have received many complaints regarding magazine publisher’s failure to disclose subscription expiration dates in written renewal offers, or to disclose such dates in a manner that is easily read and understood by the subscriber. The original statute, as well as the increased protections provided in this legislation, will strengthen this important consumer protection,” said Pheffer.

This legislation, A.2642-C, strengthens the provisions of Chapter 204 by: requiring that the subscription expiration date disclosure, in addition to being clear and conspicuous, is understandable and readable; requiring that in instances in which a magazine subscription renewal offer is packaged with an issue of the magazine, the location on the mailing label of the subscription expiration date must be disclosed on the offer; requiring forprofit third-party magazine subscription solicitors to include a subscription expiration date disclosure in any renewal offer; and, providing for a civil penalty of up to $100 for a single violation and up to $500 for multiple violations resulting from a single act or incident (up to $500 and $1000 for knowing violations).

Subscriptions sold by a not-for-profit entity, a charitable organization, or as part of a school fundraiser or gift subscription are exempt from the bill.

The legislation is now awaiting action before the Senate Consumer Protection Committee. Senator Peralta, chair of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, is the sponsor of the legislation in the Senate.

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