Oregon Legislature Passes Four Consumer Protection-Related Bills

By Eva Novick

Four consumer protection-related bills passed in the 2018 Oregon legislative session. Only one, SB 1551, has been signed by the governor; the others are on the governor’s desk awaiting signature.

Debt Collection: SB 1553 amends ORS 646.639(2)(t), which was added in 2017 HB 2356. This bill clarifies that this subsection only applies to debt buyers or debt collectors acting on behalf of a debt buyer.

Motor Vehicles: HB 4087 amends ORS 87.152. The bill states that a person may not create, attach, assert or claim a possessory lien on a motor vehicle unless the person performs a service that complies with ORS 646A.480 to 646A.495 and one of the following applies: (1) The person is a franchised motor vehicle dealership; (2) The person is a licensed tower (“holds a towing business certificate”) and the lien is only for transporting or storing a motor vehicle; (3) The lien is against an abandoned motor vehicle; or (4) The person has a bond of $20,000 or more.  If a person does not have a valid possessory lien and refuses to release a motor vehicle after the owner of the vehicle requests the release of the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle may bring an action to recover the greater of $2,000 or twice the value of the vehicle, up to $20,000, and attorney fees. The owner of the vehicle may also obtain relief in order to regain title to the vehicle, if the person who wrongly asserted the possessory lien changed the title.

Privacy: SB 1551 adds a requirement that notice of a breach of security must be made no later than 45 days after discovering or receiving notification of the breach, unless law enforcement requests a delay in providing notice.  If a person offers free credit monitoring or identity theft prevention and mitigation services when it provides notice of a breach, it cannot require a consumer to provide a credit or debit card number or to agree to enroll in paid services.  If the person offers paid credit monitoring services or identity theft prevention and mitigation services, it must disclose that those services require payment of a fee.  Additionally, a consumer reporting agency may not charge a fee for placing, temporarily lifting or removing a security freeze; creating or deleting a protective record; placing or removing a security freeze on a protective record; or replacing a lost PIN or password.  The bill also amends the safe harbor provisions in ORS 646A.622(2) for what constitutes reasonable safeguards to protect personal information.  Finally, the bill cleans up non-substantive edits made by Legislative Counsel in the prior legislative session.  The bill takes effect on June 2, 2018.

Net Neutrality: HB 4155 prohibits government agencies from contracting with a broadband Internet access service provider that favors some Internet traffic over others; blocks lawful content or devices; throttles some Internet traffic to either discriminate against that traffic or to favor other traffic; or unreasonably interferes with the end user’s access to lawful content or ability to use a device.  The bill provides exceptions if the Internet access service provider: is the only provider in a particular geographic location or Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC) permits the contract; is addressing copyright infringement, unlawful activity, or the needs of emergency communications or law enforcement; is favoring Internet traffic that the PUC has determined provides significant public interest benefits; or engages in activities determined by the PUC to be reasonable network management.

There are also several work groups that have formed or will form to discuss potential legislation for the 2019 session concerning: (1) Autonomous Vehicles; (2) additional amendments to the Oregon Consumer Identity Theft Protection Act; and (3) motor vehicles, including consigned vehicles, a dealer trust fund to supplement the dealer bond, and disposal of abandoned RVs.