Thursday, June 5, 2008


Colorado consumers won greater protections today thanks to six bills signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter, including measures to keep homeowners out of foreclosure, prevent health-care fraud and stop competition-killing business practices.

"One of the most important things government can do is to protect consumers," Gov. Ritter said. "This legislation benefits everyColorado consumer and gives watchdog agencies the tools they need to prevent scams and rip-offs."
SB 77 (Johnson/Jahn) modifies the Colorado Consumer Protection Act by making it a deceptive trade practice to use technology to circumvent an online ticket-seller's system to buy more tickets in an online sale than allowed. This bill grew out of problems from last fall's World Series.
 SB 153 (Boyd/Ferrandino) establishes licensing requirements for home health providers that offer skilled and personal care services. Right now, Colorado is one of five states that do not license these home care providers, putting consumers at risk for fraud and abuse. 
SB 246 (Williams/Jahn & Lundberg) amends the Unfair Practices Act by specifying that it is unlawful to sell a product or a service below cost with the intent to injure competitors and destroy competition with the likely result being the acquisition or maintenance of a monopoly.
HB 1216 (Ferrandino/Romer) creates the Consumer Outreach and Education Program in the Department of Regulatory Agencies. The program will inform consumers of their rights regarding regulated professions and occupations; reduce regulatory violations; and ensure public awareness of consumer protection information that is available from the department.
"I am proud that the legislature chose to approve this innovative consumer outreach program," said Rico Munn, executive director of the Department of Regulatory Agencies. "With his signature today, Gov. Ritter has put Colorado in the forefront of consumer protection activities in the nation."
HB 1389 (M. Carroll/Sandoval) requires insurance companies to obtain Division of Insurance approval before implementing rate increases.
"Expensive coverage equals no coverage for many Colorado families and businesses. Insurance rates are out of control, driving up the number of uninsured and increasing costs for everyone," Rep. Morgan Carroll said. "Coloradans have been paying more for less every year. It's time to challenge unjustified rate increases. Our health should be their bottom line."
HB 1402 (Gagliardi & Ferrandino/Bacon) requires mortgage holders to mail notices to homeowners at least 30 days prior to initiating foreclosure proceedings. The notices must contain the phone numbers of the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline and the mortgage holder's loss mitigation department. With this contact information, homeowners can work on alternatives short of foreclosure.
"Families, neighborhoods and whole communities are suffering because of the national foreclosure crisis," Sen. Bob Bacon said. "But with the right outreach, the right counseling, and debt reduction support, thousands of foreclosures might be avoided forColorado homeowners."
"This bill gives Coloradoans a bridge when they might otherwise sink," Rep. Sara Gagliardi said.