New state law will offer more protection from telephone scams especially for seniors | Business
A newly signed state law will offer more protection from a growing number of telephone scams for everyone, but seniors will be especially helped. Consumers are losing money, millions of dollars even, to cons about work from home businesses that promise huge incomes for little work. These victims are left with empty bank accounts, or huge credit card bills and nothing to show for it.
“Consumers who are thinking about buying any type of business should be given sufficient information to make an informed decision as well as enough time to review the information. Legitimate businesses are willing to give potential purchasers a full description of their program, including the products involved, the cost to consumers and a proper notice of cancellation,” said Horne. “Unfortunately, scam artists take advantage of some consumers, costing Arizonans millions of dollars every year. This new law will be a valuable tool for prosecuting these criminal predators.”
According to the new law, any company or individual who sells business opportunities or advertising or other services associated with business opportunities must:
- file an annual registration with the Arizona Secretary of State that identifies the principals of the business and provides their previous history in this industry;
- maintain a $100,000 bond with the Arizona State Treasurer, proceeds of which would be payable to consumers who are defrauded by the seller;
- provide specific, written disclosures to potential purchasers before a business opportunity is sold;
- give each consumer-purchaser a written contract; and
- provide consumers with a ten day “cooling off” period after the contract is signed.
The Attorney General's office, on a continuing basis, is actively prosecuting these cases. Attorney General Horne was an advocate for better legislation to regulate the sale of business opportunities. A majority of the support for this bill (HB 2825) came from the Taskforce Against Senior Abuse (TASA), a group organized by Horne to help those seniors who seem to be these 'businesses' favorite target. Support also came from Representative Kate Brophy-McGee, who sponsored the bill and is also a member of TASA's advisory council.
Consumers, who are interested in such business opportunities, are cautioned to do their homework first and make sure the seller has complied with this new law. If they are not provided with the required information, they should immediately file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office. To file a complaint contact the Attorney General's Office Consumer Information & Complaints Unit at (602)542-5763 or (520)628-6504 or (800)352-8431. Or file online at http://www.azag.gov/consumer/complaintform.html
Further information about the bill, HB 2825, and the complete text may be found at www.azleg.gov.
- Link to bill: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/50leg/2r/laws/0186.pdf
- Link to fact sheet: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/50leg/2r/summary/s.2825ce_caucus-floor.pdf