Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Attorney General Rob McKenna released his 2009 legislative agenda. Proposals to help safeguard consumers include:

  • Lemon Law Updates: Updates the state’s 21-year-old Lemon Law to meet changing consumer expectations and address substantially longer and more extensive warranties and other changes in the automotive industry.

  • Prizes, Promotions and Privacy: Internet businesses lure consumers with offers for “free” gifts and software trial services. Sometimes, their promotions are simply a means to collect consumers’ information that they then sell to marketers. Both traditional and online marketing campaigns may use negative-option sales, where a customer’s silence is interpreted by the seller as an acceptance of an offer. Washington’s existing laws do not specifically address these sorts of solicitations. The proposal would brings state laws into the Internet age by making sure Internet promotions are held to the same standard as direct mail, and ensure that sellers obtain a customer’s express agreement to receive and pay for goods prior to seeking payment.

  • Mortgage Law Fix: Would exempt real estate licensees from the definition of a “distressed home consultant” and provides a safe harbor for those purchasing a “distressed home” outright within 20 days of the foreclosure sale – allowing homeowners at risk of foreclosure to find real estate agents to sell their homes.

    “Over the last two years, we’ve worked to help families stay in their homes during the worst economic downturn in two generations,” McKenna said. “That’s why we fought last year for $200 million in relief and new, affordable loan terms for nearly 10,000 Countrywide mortgage customers. And that’s why we’re going to work to update last year’s foreclosure rescue bill to make sure that any homeowner who wants to sell their home rather than face foreclosure is able to find a real estate agent to work with them.”

  • Youth Internet Safety: The Attorney General’s Office has been studying models used by other states to develop a highly effective digital forensivs lab within the Washington State Patrol. Requested legislation would also make viewing depictions of child pornography a class C felony.

For more information on these proposals and others, see our 2009 Legislation Web site.

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