Bill Text: TX HB1152 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Enrolled


Bill Title: Relating to the deceptive trade practice of charging exorbitant or excessive prices for necessities during a declared disaster.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-1)

Status: (Passed) 2019-06-10 - Effective on 9/1/19 [HB1152 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB1152-Enrolled.html
 
 
  H.B. No. 1152
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the deceptive trade practice of charging exorbitant or
  excessive  prices for necessities during a declared disaster.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 17.45, Business & Commerce Code, is
  amended by adding Subdivision (17) to read as follows:
               (17)  "Building materials" includes lumber, windows,
  and other materials used in the construction or repair of
  improvements to real property.
         SECTION 2.  Section 17.46(b), Business & Commerce Code, as
  amended by Chapters 324 (S.B. 1488), 858 (H.B. 2552), and 967 (S.B.
  2065), Acts of the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, is
  reenacted and amended to read as follows:
         (b)  Except as provided in Subsection (d) of this section,
  the term "false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices"
  includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
               (1)  passing off goods or services as those of another;
               (2)  causing confusion or misunderstanding as to the
  source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or
  services;
               (3)  causing confusion or misunderstanding as to
  affiliation, connection, or association with, or certification by,
  another;
               (4)  using deceptive representations or designations
  of geographic origin in connection with goods or services;
               (5)  representing that goods or services have
  sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses,
  benefits, or quantities which they do not have or that a person has
  a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection which
  the person does not;
               (6)  representing that goods are original or new if
  they are deteriorated, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or
  secondhand;
               (7)  representing that goods or services are of a
  particular standard, quality, or grade, or that goods are of a
  particular style or model, if they are of another;
               (8)  disparaging the goods, services, or business of
  another by false or misleading representation of facts;
               (9)  advertising goods or services with intent not to
  sell them as advertised;
               (10)  advertising goods or services with intent not to
  supply a reasonable expectable public demand, unless the
  advertisements disclosed a limitation of quantity;
               (11)  making false or misleading statements of fact
  concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amount of price
  reductions;
               (12)  representing that an agreement confers or
  involves rights, remedies, or obligations which it does not have or
  involve, or which are prohibited by law;
               (13)  knowingly making false or misleading statements
  of fact concerning the need for parts, replacement, or repair
  service;
               (14)  misrepresenting the authority of a salesman,
  representative or agent to negotiate the final terms of a consumer
  transaction;
               (15)  basing a charge for the repair of any item in
  whole or in part on a guaranty or warranty instead of on the value of
  the actual repairs made or work to be performed on the item without
  stating separately the charges for the work and the charge for the
  warranty or guaranty, if any;
               (16)  disconnecting, turning back, or resetting the
  odometer of any motor vehicle so as to reduce the number of miles
  indicated on the odometer gauge;
               (17)  advertising of any sale by fraudulently
  representing that a person is going out of business;
               (18)  advertising, selling, or distributing a card
  which purports to be a prescription drug identification card issued
  under Section 4151.152, Insurance Code, in accordance with rules
  adopted by the commissioner of insurance, which offers a discount
  on the purchase of health care goods or services from a third party
  provider, and which is not evidence of insurance coverage, unless:
                     (A)  the discount is authorized under an agreement
  between the seller of the card and the provider of those goods and
  services or the discount or card is offered to members of the
  seller;
                     (B)  the seller does not represent that the card
  provides insurance coverage of any kind; and
                     (C)  the discount is not false, misleading, or
  deceptive;
               (19)  using or employing a chain referral sales plan in
  connection with the sale or offer to sell of goods, merchandise, or
  anything of value, which uses the sales technique, plan,
  arrangement, or agreement in which the buyer or prospective buyer
  is offered the opportunity to purchase merchandise or goods and in
  connection with the purchase receives the seller's promise or
  representation that the buyer shall have the right to receive
  compensation or consideration in any form for furnishing to the
  seller the names of other prospective buyers if receipt of the
  compensation or consideration is contingent upon the occurrence of
  an event subsequent to the time the buyer purchases the merchandise
  or goods;
               (20)  representing that a guaranty or warranty confers
  or involves rights or remedies which it does not have or involve,
  provided, however, that nothing in this subchapter shall be
  construed to expand the implied warranty of merchantability as
  defined in Sections 2.314 through 2.318 and Sections 2A.212 through
  2A.216 to involve obligations in excess of those which are
  appropriate to the goods;
               (21)  promoting a pyramid promotional scheme, as
  defined by Section 17.461;
               (22)  representing that work or services have been
  performed on, or parts replaced in, goods when the work or services
  were not performed or the parts replaced;
               (23)  filing suit founded upon a written contractual
  obligation of and signed by the defendant to pay money arising out
  of or based on a consumer transaction for goods, services, loans, or
  extensions of credit intended primarily for personal, family,
  household, or agricultural use in any county other than in the
  county in which the defendant resides at the time of the
  commencement of the action or in the county in which the defendant
  in fact signed the contract; provided, however, that a violation of
  this subsection shall not occur where it is shown by the person
  filing such suit that the person neither knew or had reason to know
  that the county in which such suit was filed was neither the county
  in which the defendant resides at the commencement of the suit nor
  the county in which the defendant in fact signed the contract;
               (24)  failing to disclose information concerning goods
  or services which was known at the time of the transaction if such
  failure to disclose such information was intended to induce the
  consumer into a transaction into which the consumer would not have
  entered had the information been disclosed;
               (25)  using the term "corporation," "incorporated," or
  an abbreviation of either of those terms in the name of a business
  entity that is not incorporated under the laws of this state or
  another jurisdiction;
               (26)  selling, offering to sell, or illegally promoting
  an annuity contract under Chapter 22, Acts of the 57th Legislature,
  3rd Called Session, 1962 (Article 6228a-5, Vernon's Texas Civil
  Statutes), with the intent that the annuity contract will be the
  subject of a salary reduction agreement, as defined by that Act, if
  the annuity contract is not an eligible qualified investment under
  that Act or is not registered with the Teacher Retirement System of
  Texas as required by Section 8A of that Act;
               (27)  subject to Section 17.4625, taking advantage of a
  disaster declared by the governor under Chapter 418, Government
  Code, or by the president of the United States by:
                     (A)  selling or leasing fuel, food, medicine,
  lodging, building materials, construction tools, or another
  necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price; or
                     (B)  demanding an exorbitant or excessive price in
  connection with the sale or lease of fuel, food, medicine, lodging,
  building materials, construction tools, or another necessity;
               (28)  using the translation into a foreign language of
  a title or other word, including "attorney," "immigration
  consultant," "immigration expert," "lawyer," "licensed," "notary,"
  and "notary public," in any written or electronic material,
  including an advertisement, a business card, a letterhead,
  stationery, a website, or an online video, in reference to a person
  who is not an attorney in order to imply that the person is
  authorized to practice law in the United States;
               (29)  delivering or distributing a solicitation in
  connection with a good or service that:
                     (A)  represents that the solicitation is sent on
  behalf of a governmental entity when it is not; or
                     (B)  resembles a governmental notice or form that
  represents or implies that a criminal penalty may be imposed if the
  recipient does not remit payment for the good or service;
               (30)  delivering or distributing a solicitation in
  connection with a good or service that resembles a check or other
  negotiable instrument or invoice, unless the portion of the
  solicitation that resembles a check or other negotiable instrument
  or invoice includes the following notice, clearly and conspicuously
  printed in at least 18-point type:
         "SPECIMEN-NON-NEGOTIABLE";
               (31)  in the production, sale, distribution, or
  promotion of a synthetic substance that produces and is intended to
  produce an effect when consumed or ingested similar to, or in excess
  of, the effect of a controlled substance or controlled substance
  analogue, as those terms are defined by Section 481.002, Health and
  Safety Code:
                     (A)  making a deceptive representation or
  designation about the synthetic substance; or
                     (B)  causing confusion or misunderstanding as to
  the effects the synthetic substance causes when consumed or
  ingested;
               (32)  a licensed public insurance adjuster directly or
  indirectly soliciting employment, as defined by Section 38.01,
  Penal Code, for an attorney, or a licensed public insurance
  adjuster entering into a contract with an insured for the primary
  purpose of referring the insured to an attorney without the intent
  to actually perform the services customarily provided by a licensed
  public insurance adjuster, provided that this subdivision may not
  be construed to prohibit a licensed public insurance adjuster from
  recommending a particular attorney to an insured; [or]
               (33)  owning, operating, maintaining, or advertising a
  massage establishment, as defined by Section 455.001, Occupations
  Code, that:
                     (A)  is not appropriately licensed under Chapter
  455, Occupations Code, or is not in compliance with the applicable
  licensing and other requirements of that chapter; or
                     (B)  is not in compliance with an applicable local
  ordinance relating to the licensing or regulation of massage
  establishments; or
               (34) [(33)]  a warrantor of a vehicle protection
  product warranty using, in connection with the product, a name that
  includes "casualty," "surety," "insurance," "mutual," or any other
  word descriptive of an insurance business, including property or
  casualty insurance, or a surety business.
         SECTION 3.  Subchapter E, Chapter 17, Business & Commerce
  Code, is amended by adding Section 17.4625 to read as follows:
         Sec. 17.4625.  PRICE GOUGING DURING DECLARED DISASTER. (a)  
  In this section, "designated disaster period" means the period:
               (1)  beginning on the earliest of:
                     (A)  the date the disaster occurs; or
                     (B)  the date of:
                           (i)  the proclamation or executive order of
  the governor declaring the disaster; or
                           (ii)  the declaration of the disaster by the
  president of the United States, if any part of this state is named
  in the federally declared disaster area; and
               (2)  ending on the 30th day after the date the disaster
  declaration expires or is terminated.
         (b)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter,
  Section 17.46(b)(27) applies only to an act described by that
  subdivision that occurs during a designated disaster period in this
  state.
         SECTION 4.  To the extent of any conflict, this Act prevails
  over another Act of the 86th Legislature, Regular Session, 2019,
  relating to nonsubstantive additions to and corrections in enacted
  codes.
         SECTION 5.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  an act or practice that occurs on or after the effective date of
  this Act.  An act or practice that occurs before the effective date
  of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the act or
  practice occurred, and the former law is continued in effect for
  that purpose.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1152 was passed by the House on May
  10, 2019, by the following vote:  Yeas 112, Nays 29, 2 present, not
  voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1152 was passed by the Senate on May
  22, 2019, by the following vote:  Yeas 28, Nays 3.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________
                     Date          
   
            _____________________
                   Governor       
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