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New Year Auto Renewal Legislative Update

Updates on five state bills related to auto renewal legislation

TL:DR:  Reporting today on five state bills in the auto renewal space that were introduced in the new year, two that would make new law (Kentucky and Nebraska) and three that would amend existing laws (Connecticut, Tennessee, and Virginia).

The Full Story


On January 12, Senator Bob Duff introduced S.B. 13, which would amend title 21a of the Connecticut general statutes to require businesses that offer consumers a subscription contract that includes a free trial or promotional price period lasting at least 32 days, to provide a notice to the consumer within 3 days prior to the expiration of such trial or price, with instructions on how to cancel to avoid future charges.  If sent electronically, it must include a link to the seller’s site that allows for immediate cancellation.  Further, if the contract is for a term of at least one year, the business must also send affected consumers a notice not later than fifteen (read:  within 15) days before the contract renewal, reiterating the initial offer terms.

Note:  This is an interesting bill in that it would amend the state’s general consumer protection law at Title 21, but the proposed requirements, with some variation, are already codified in the state’s existing auto renewal law at Sec. 42-126b, titled “Unsolicited sending of goods. Cancellation of trial offers and introductory rate offers. Automatic renewals. Unfair trade practices.”  While the existing AR law requires the terms of a free trial/intro rate to be disclosed in the initial offer terms, it doesn’t require a notice to be sent prior to the end of the trial/intro rate, whereas the new law would do so for trials lasting longer than 32 days (effectively carving out monthly trials).  If applicable, the notice would have to be sent within 3 days of the end of the trial/promo period.

With regard to renewal notices, the current CT ARL requires such notices to be sent 30-60 days prior to the renewal where the term of the subscription is more than 180 days (~6 months), a term threshold that is somewhat of an outlier in relation to other state laws.  The new law would also require a renewal notice, but only for terms of a year or more, which is more in-line with other state laws, but the “no later than 15 days” delivery window returns the Constitution State to its outlier status.  Good-on-ya, Connecticut!

Given the existence of the current ARL and differences between it and the new bill, it will be interesting to see how far the bill goes as drafted or whether it is amended to simply amend the current law.  Stay tuned, folks.


On January 6, Legislative Bill 132 was introduced as the “Automatic Renewal Limitation Act” with the stated, and somewhat aggressive purpose of “end[ing] the ongoing charging of consumer credit or debit cards or third-party payment accounts without the consumer’s consent for ongoing shipments of a product or ongoing deliveries of a service.”  This bill is almost a direct copycat of the current California AR law (thus demonstrating the Sponsor’s mad CTRL-C and CTRL-V skills) in that it would require sellers to present the offer terms clearly and conspicuously, and if the offer includes a free trial, the amount to be charged after the trial, having consumers provide their affirmative consent to the terms, providing an acknowledgement of the order (including information about the free trial) that may be retained by the consumer, allowing an easy way to cancel (more on this below), and sending a notice in the event of a material change to the program or terms.

The bill also includes a renewal notice requirement identical to the California ARL, in that there are two triggering aspects: (i) the offering of a free trial or discounted price lasting more than 31 days (where notice must be sent 3-21 days prior to the end of the trial), and (ii) where the initial term is for a year or longer (notice must be sent 15-45 days prior the renewal).  If both apply, then only the notice requirement in (ii) would be required. 

Re cancellation, like CA, if the seller allows consumers the ability to accept the automatic renewal or continuous service offer online, it must allow cancellation online, at will, and without requiring the consumer to engage in any further steps that obstruct or delay their ability to cancel immediately. The online cancel method must be either (i) a prominent link or button located within either a customer account or profile or within either the device or user settings; or (ii) an immediately accessible seller-formatted termination email that a consumer can send to the seller without additional information.  The seller may require consumers to verify/authenticate their identify before allowing them to cancel online.

But, unlike California, the NE bill expressly provides for civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation that may be sought by the state Attorney General in an enforcement action, though these penalties would not be available if the seller made a good faith effort to comply with the law.  And, importantly, no express consumer private right of action.


On January 5, Senator Rick Girdler (R) introduced S.B 30, which would create a new law governing automatic renewal offers made in the Blue Grass State that is identical to the law of its southern neighbor Tennessee.  The bill contains many of the usual suspect requirements, such as presenting the offer terms clearly and conspicuously (adopting the California definition), having consumers provide their affirmative consent to the terms, providing an acknowledgement of the order, allowing an easy way to cancel, and sending a notice in the event of a material change to the program or terms.  Notably absent from the bill, however, is a renewal notice requirement.  But the real kicker here …wait for it…wait for it… is a provision expressly stating there is no private right of action under the law…and…it gets better…that “a violation shall not serve as the basis for a private right of action under any other provision of law.”  To…Be…Clear…Kentucky has no interest in allowing its residents a right to sue for violations of the law.  If signed into law it will become effective January 1, 2024.


And speaking of Tennessee, on January 12, Rep. Dan Howell (R) introduced H.B. 136, which  would add an exemption to the existing TN AR law for companies doing business in the Volunteer State offering “service contracts,” which is broadly defined in TN Code § 56-2-126 as (and I liberally excerpt) a contract or agreement to perform the service, repair, replacement or maintenance of property or indemnification for service thereof, as well as motor vehicle extended service contracts and agreements.  File this one under #WayToHireGoodLobbyists.


On January 12, Delegate Dawn Adams (D) introduced H.B. 1517 which would amend Virginia’s existing ARL by requiring sellers that offer a free trial in connection with an automatic renewal or continuous service offer to send affected consumers a notice within 30 days of the end of the trial with instructions on how to cancel to avoid paying for the goods or services.  Obviously, this would be difficult (impossible!) for sellers offering trials under 30 days…but I guess Del. Adams didn’t think about that.

Copyright © 2023 Authority Media Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

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