Consumer Laws Taking Effect In 2016
The following consumer-related legislation was signed into law in 2015 and will take effect January 1, 2016, except as noted:
SB 178 (Leno) California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA): Requires law enforcement entities to obtain a search warrant before accessing data on an electronic device or from an online service provider.
SB 386 (Allen) Unlawful “Pension Poaching”: Includes, as an unlawful practice prohibited under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the act known as “pension poaching” or the advertising, offering for sale, or selling of a financial product that promises a lump sum of money in exchange for signing over the future monthly benefits of a veteran.
SB 501 (Wieckowski) Wage garnishment restrictions: Beginning July 1, 2016, reduces the percentage of a low- or moderate-income debtor’s weekly disposable earnings that can be garnished.
SB 546 (Leno) Health care coverage rate review: Requires health plans and insurers to provide consumers with critical data and information documenting the true drivers of premium increases in large group insurance markets.
SB 641 (Wieckowski) Fair Debt Buying Practices Act: Allows a consumer, in limited circumstances, to file a motion to default or set aside a default judgment so the consumer can challenge the validity of the debt in court.
AB 216 (Cristina Garcia) Vapor product sales to minors: Prohibits the sale of any vapor device to a person under 18 years of age. (The sale of similar nicotine products to minors is already prohibited.)
AB 265 (Holden) Buy here-pay here auto sales: Provides consumers who purchase automobiles from buy-here-pay-here dealers with additional protections by requiring the dealer to provide notification to the consumer before it disables their car remotely with a starter interrupt device after a missed loan payment.
AB 601 (Eggman) Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) – licensing and regulation: Increases accountability and transparency of an RCFE licensee by requiring the licensee to disclose specified information, including: whether it is a for-profit or not-for-profit provider; the name, address and license number of other health, residential, or community care facilities they own, manage, or operate; and the name and address of any person, organization, or entity that owns the real property in which specified facilities are located.
AB 721 (Medina) Student financial aid – private student loans: Requires an education institution (except the California Community Colleges) to post on its website specified student loan debt statistics on graduates of the institution; and, before certifying a student’s eligibility for private student loans, to provide that student with information about available state and federal financial assistance, including federal student loan funds.
AB 1448 (Lopez) Clothes Lines – real property restrictions: Requires landlords to allow their tenants to use clotheslines or drying racks.