Matzie: House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee reviewing bills to safeguard PA consumers, ratepayers

Addressing predatory online sales practices, protections for ratepayers

HARRISBURG, Sept. 15 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee is moving swiftly to strengthen safeguards for PA consumers by reviewing bills to ban predatory sales practices and protect utility ratepayers, Majority Chairman Rep. Rob Matzie announced today.

Matzie said the committee’s most recent efforts are aimed at banning predatory practices that make it difficult for consumers to afford or obtain concert tickets and other high-demand items.

“We’re seeing consumers targeted by increasingly predatory practices,” Matzie said. “From speculative ticketing – in which resellers list tickets before they even have them in hand – to ‘grinch bots’ – which scalpers use to buy up mass quantities of tickets and other high-demand items for resale at inflated prices – consumers are being left out in the cold. The committee is working quickly to keep pace by reviewing bills my colleagues and I have introduced, including my bill to ban speculative ticketing. We can’t afford to wait around as new threats emerge.”

Matzie said the committee is also examining bills to help protect utility consumers.

“Factors driving utility rates are complex, but that doesn’t mean we can’t examine ways to contain costs and improve conditions for consumers,” Matzie said. “The committee recently reviewed a bill to standardize street repair costs assessed to utilities with the aim of lowering the costs that get passed on to consumers.

“We are also reviewing legislation to address unsightly, unsafe duplicate utility poles and legislation to protect consumers from high-pressure sales tactics by some fly-by-night companies. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about goods or services – every PA consumer deserves a fair shake.”

Some of the bills under review include:

  • H.B. 1578, which would protect consumers from “fly-by-night” gas and electric companies whose salespeople prey on seniors and other vulnerable customers.
  • H.B. 1658, which would ban speculative ticketing.
  • H.B. 1378, which would ban the use of “grinch bots.”
  • H.B. 1655, which would standardize fees and requirements imposed on utilities performing street repairs to contain the costs passed on to consumers.
  • H.B. 1619, which would address unsafe, unsightly duplicative utility poles.

More about the committee and its work is available here: