Congress ends with Blackburn, Lance consumer protection bills signed into law

The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently concluded the 114th Congress with two bipartisan consumer protection bills being signed into law that were spearheaded by committee leaders.

The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, S. 3183, spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), was signed into law and will prevent scalpers from purchasing large blocks of event tickets online and reselling them at inflated costs to consumers.

“This is a win for all fans of live entertainment and sporting events, plus it brings an extra Christmas cheer from our touring artists in the Nashville area,” Blackburn, the vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said. “It’s about time we put an end to these anti-consumer tactics. I applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate for passing this legislation as well as President Obama for signing it into law.”

Meanwhile, the Consumer Review Fairness Act, H.R. 5111, authored by U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), was also signed into law and will prohibit gag clauses that prevent consumer reviews from being built into contracts.

“Two more great bills are now law, each protecting consumers,” Lance, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, said. “In the 21st century economy consumers need to be able to exercise their First Amendment rights without concern that a business will take them to court over it. The online rating and experience portal must be preserved for all consumers.”

Lance added that S. 3183 and H.R. 5111 are “a fitting capstone to a very productive Congress for the subcommittee.”

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that 21st century consumers have encountered new problems and challenges resulting from innovation.

“But, because of Reps. Blackburn and Lance, consumers are now better protected and more empowered,” Upton said.

“Many have experienced difficulty purchasing tickets to a live event while others have faced retribution for simply going online to provide an honest review of a company, service or product, but these laws put an end to these underhanded practices. These bills are smart policy, assuring online transparency and affordability for consumers,” he said.