TDCI: New Consumer Protection Laws Protect, Empower Tennesseans

 Tennesseans now have greater protection from military impersonators, improved assistance when recovering from identity theft and cannot be charged by credit reporting companies when enacting security freezes, among other new protections. Those improvements are courtesy of several consumer-oriented laws passed earlier this year by the Tennessee General Assembly.

“I am grateful for the Legislature’s passage of new protections aimed at helping consumers and potentially reducing the rate of fraud in Tennessee,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “I also again remind consumers who believe they have been the victim of an unfair or deceptive business practice that they can turn to our Division of Consumer Affairs and file a complaint with us today.”

The new laws, which took effect July 1, include the following:

Public Chapter 914 : Enacts the “Tennessee Stolen Valor Act.”  Under this, it shall be a criminal offence for a person to commit criminal impersonation by pretending to be an active duty member or veteran of uniformed service.

Public Chapter 800: Allows a victim of identity theft to apply for and receive a new driver’s license with a new distinguishing number upon presenting proof of the crime. Allows a law enforcement report that lists the applicant as a victim of identity theft as proof. Authorizes the department of safety to charge a reasonable duplicate license fee for a victim of identity theft.

Public Chapter 595: Establishes that a consumer reporting agency shall not charge a Tennessee consumer to place, temporarily lift, or permanently remove a security freeze.

Public Chapter 638 : Prohibits health care prescribers, and those associated, from using certain types of solicitation towards victims of an accident or disaster for the purpose of marketing their services within 30 days from the accident. Applicable to “marketing services of the healing arts related to the accident or disaster” applying to violations occurring on or after July 1, 2018.

Public Chapter 960 Specifies that if a tenant pretends to have a disability-related need for an assistance animal in order to obtain an exception to a provision in a rental agreement that prohibits pets or establishes limits on the types of pets tenants may possess, the landlord may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief, as well as recover reasonably attorney’s fees for breach of contract and nonpayment of rent as provided in the rental agreement.

A list of all the new Tennessee laws that took effect on July 1is available here. For more consumer tips, resources, or to file a complaint related to a business, visit the Division of Consumer Affairs at tn.gov/consumer.

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