Consumer protections enhanced

Lawmakers passed a bill April 7 that strengthens consumer protection laws.

LB835, introduced by Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, makes changes to several consumer protection statutes including the Credit Report Protection Act, the Consumer Protection Act, the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Financial Data Protection and Consumer Notification of Data Security Breach Act.

LB835 amends the Credit Report Protection Act to require consumer reporting agencies to create a credit file for a minor with no established credit file upon receiving a security freeze request.

The bill extends the provision to an additional category of protected consumers, which includes individuals under 16 and incapacitated individuals under the guidance of a guardian ad litem.

It also allows a protected consumer to have a security freeze removed from his or her record.

Changes to the Financial Data Protection and Consumer Notification of Data Security Breach Act include requiring any entity that suffers a data breach to notify customers if personal information—including email addresses or user names in combination with a password or security question—is acquired by an unauthorized party. The bill requires the entity to notify the attorney general’s office of the breach.

The attorney general’s office will be permitted to share documentary material obtained through a Civil Investigative Demand with other law enforcement agencies under the Consumer Protection Act. LB835 also increases from $25,000 to $500,000 the maximum civil penalty for antitrust violations, including restraint of trade and monopolization.

Finally, the bill adds two additional deceptive trade practices under the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act: a person representing that goods do not contain ingredients or characteristics that the goods actually contain and a person employing any deception or fraud while soliciting funds or assets for a charitable purpose.

The bill passed on a 46-0 vote.

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