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A09040 Summary:

BILL NOA09040
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSORFall
 
COSPNSR
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add §198-d, Gen Bus L
 
Enacts the consumer protection and automotive transparency act mandating transparency in automotive labeling relating to materials used in automobiles.
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A09040 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A9040
 
SPONSOR: Fall
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to enacting the "consumer protection and automotive transparency act"   PURPOSE: This legislation, known as the "Consumer Protection and Automotive Tran- sparency Act," aims to mandate transparency in automotive labeling, specifically focusing on the accurate disclosure of materials used in the interiors of automobiles. The bill seeks to prevent deceptive marketing practices that mislead consumers about the composition of seating surfaces, steering wheels, and gear shifters in the automotive industry. By requiring clear and accurate labeling of interior materi- als, this legislation aims to protect consumers both financially and ethically.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This legislation, known as the "Consumer Protection and Automotive Tran- sparency Act," aims to mandate transparency in automotive labeling, specifically focusing on the accurate disclosure of materials used in the interiors of automobiles. The bill seeks to prevent deceptive marketing practices that mislead consumers about the composition of seating surfaces, steering wheels, and gear shifters in the automotive industry. By requiring clear and accurate labeling of interior materi- als, this legislation aims to protect consumers both financially and ethically. **SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:** 1. **Labelling Requirements:** Automotive manufacturers are mandated to clearly label the interior materials of vehicles using terms easily understandable to the average consumer (equivalent to a 6th-grade read- ing comprehension level). The labeling is required for seating surfaces in all rows, headrests, steering wheel, and gear shift (Interactive Interior Surfaces). The labeling threshold is based on the percent of material used, and if the material is greater than 70% of a defined composition, the entire label can reflect that material. 2. **Materials Description:** The bill defines terms such as Leather, Fabric, and Plastic/Coated Material for use in labeling. If the Interac- tive Interior Surface material is less than 70% of any defined material, a label must specify the percentage composition. 3. **Prohibition:** Marketing names causing confusion and deceptive practices, such as using terms like "leather" for materials not meeting the defined characteristics, are prohibited. 4. 4. **Enforcement and Penalties:** The New York State Department Divi- sion of Consumer Protection will enforce the provisions. Violations may result in penalties, fines, or other enforcement measures determined by the Department.   EXISTING LAW: to amend the existing law: Executive Law, § 94-a, 553; General Business Law, § 399-z, to include a regulation under the   NEW YORK CODES, RULES, AND REGULATIONS: Title 19: Department of State Chapter VIII: Division of Consumer Protection Part: - Automobile Interior Labeling Requirements Otherwise known as 19 CRR-NY VIII   JUSTIFICATION: Deceptive marketing practices within the automotive industry have led consumers to make uninformed purchasing decisions, resulting in finan- cial and ethical consequences. Existing laws lack the necessary provisions to address these issues, emphasizing the need for the Consum- er Protection and Automotive Transparency Act. This legislation seeks to protect consumers by ensuring clear and accurate labeling of materials used in automotive interiors, empowering them to make informed decisions and fostering trust in the marketplace.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The implementation of this legislation is expected to have positive fiscal implications. By promoting transparency and informed consumer choices, the bill may reduce instances of consumer dissatisfaction and related disputes, leading to potential cost savings in dispute resol- ution processes. Additionally, the bill aims to create a fair and competitive marketplace, potentially enhancing economic activities with- in the automotive industry. The Department of Consumer Affairs may incur enforcement-related costs, but the long-term benefits to consumers and the marketplace are anticipated to outweigh these expenses.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This legislation will take effect immediately.
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A09040 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          9040
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    February 5, 2024
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M. of A. FALL -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Consumer Affairs and Protection
 
        AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation  to  enacting  the
          "consumer protection and automotive transparency act"
 
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may  be  cited  as
     2  the "consumer protection and automotive transparency act".
     3    §  2.  Legislative  purpose  and intent. The purpose of this act is to
     4  mandate transparency in  automotive  labeling,  ensuring  consumers  are
     5  accurately informed about the materials used in the interiors of automo-
     6  biles. Consumers are often misled by the marketing of different types of
     7  materials  used  in  making  seating  surfaces, steering wheels and gear
     8  shifters in the  automotive  industry.  This  misleading  marketing  can
     9  result in consumers paying more for products that are not what they were
    10  expecting or buying a product that they assume is a certain material and
    11  it  is  not. It is important to protect consumers (monetarily, ethically
    12  and health-related) by requiring automotive  manufacturers  to  disclose
    13  the  materials used in their interior products. This legislation aims to
    14  protect consumers from deceptive marketing practices and promote  trans-
    15  parency across the automotive industry.
    16    (a)  The  purpose  of  this legislation is to protect consumers in the
    17  automotive industry by ensuring transparency and  accurate  labeling  of
    18  materials used in automobile interiors.
    19    (b)  This  legislation  aims to prevent misleading marketing practices
    20  and provide consumers with clear and  understandable  information  about
    21  the content of automobile interiors.
    22    (c)  This legislation mandates transparency in the labeling of automo-
    23  tive interiors to protect consumers from misleading marketing  practices
    24  related to leather, fabric and plastic materials.
    25    (d)  This  legislation aims to ensure that consumers can make informed
    26  decisions about the materials used in automotive interiors.

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD14206-02-4

        A. 9040                             2
 
     1    (e) This legislation seeks to  establish  clear  and  simple  labeling
     2  requirements, avoiding unnecessary complexity and ensuring accessibility
     3  for consumers of all educational backgrounds.
     4    § 3. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 198-d
     5  to read as follows:
     6    §  198-d.  Consumer  protection and automotive transparency. (a) Defi-
     7  nitions. For the purposes of this section,  the  following  terms  shall
     8  have the following meanings:
     9    (1)  "Leather"  means  any  hide or skin products derived from animals
    10  that possess an intact original fibrous structure, obtained  from  hides
    11  tanned  to  prevent  decay,  that  may  have  been split before or after
    12  tanning into layers or segments, and that may have a coating applied.
    13    (2) "Fabric" means any cloth or material produced by weaving or  knit-
    14  ting fibers.
    15    (3)  "Plastic  and  coated materials" means rolled goods, or sheets of
    16  woven, knit, or non-woven textiles to which a polymer or  resin  mixture
    17  is  applied  as  a surface coating or layer and makes up the majority of
    18  the base material.
    19    (4) "Label" means any tag, label, or other writing that is attached to
    20  or accompanies an automotive product.
    21    (5) "Consumer protection division" means the consumer protection divi-
    22  sion established pursuant to section ninety-four-a of the executive law.
    23    (b) Labeling requirements.  (1) Automotive manufacturers shall clearly
    24  label the interior materials of vehicles using  terms  that  are  easily
    25  understandable  to the average consumer at a level equivalent to a sixth
    26  grade reading comprehension.   Automotive  manufacturers  shall  provide
    27  transparent and accurate labeling on automobile interiors to ensure that
    28  all  consumers,  regardless  of their level of education, can understand
    29  the material used in the automobile interior.
    30    (2) The interior threshold required  for  defined  labeling  shall  be
    31  based  upon  the  percent  of  material used on the interactive interior
    32  surfaces of an automobile.  Interactive  interior  surfaces  shall  mean
    33  seating  surfaces in all rows of the vehicle, headrests, steering wheel,
    34  and gear shift.  Interactive interior surfaces shall not include seating
    35  side and back panels and all other non-seating surfaces in the vehicle.
    36    (i) If the interactive  interior  surface  material  is  greater  than
    37  seventy  percent  of a defined composition, then the entire label can be
    38  labeled as such.
    39    (ii) If the interactive interior surface  is  composed  of  less  than
    40  seventy  percent  of  any  of  the defined materials, including leather,
    41  fabric, or plastic and coated materials, then there  shall  be  a  label
    42  defining the material used by percentage.
    43    (3)  The  following terms shall be used to describe the materials used
    44  in automobile interiors: leather, fabric, plastic and coated  materials,
    45  and  any  other  material  that  accurately represents the nature of the
    46  interior.
    47    (4) The interactive interior surfaces labels shall be clearly  visible
    48  to  the  consumers,  shall  be prominently displayed on the product, and
    49  shall be easy to read. The material of the upholstery shall be listed in
    50  plain and easy-to-understand language.
    51    (c) Prohibition of marketing names. The use of marketing names causing
    52  confusion, such as MBtex, ActiveX, Alcantera, Artico, NuLuxe,  SansaTec,
    53  SofTex,  Sophina,  Ultrasuede,  V-Tex  or  similar  marketing  names, is
    54  prohibited for labeling automobile interiors.
    55    (d) Prohibition of deceptive practices.  It  is  prohibited  to  sell,
    56  market, or advertise automobile interiors using terms such as "leather,"

        A. 9040                             3
 
     1  "skin,"  "tanned  skin," "coated leather," or any other terms defined in
     2  this section, its derivatives, or synonyms, as well as the  other  terms
     3  as  a  means  of naming any other materials which do not comply with the
     4  characteristics  defined in subdivision (a) of this section, either as a
     5  noun or as an adjective, even if entered  as  prefixes  or  suffixes  in
     6  other words, regardless of the language used.
     7    (e)  Enforcement  and penalties.  (1) The consumer protection division
     8  shall enforce the provisions of this section.
     9    (2) Violations of this section may  result  in  penalties,  fines,  or
    10  other  appropriate  enforcement  measures  as determined by the consumer
    11  protection division.
    12    (3) The consumer  protection  division  may  investigate  any  alleged
    13  violation of this section and may issue orders to cease and desist oper-
    14  ations  from  any  violation.  The consumer protection division may also
    15  impose civil penalties for violations of this section.
    16    § 4. Severability. If any provision of this act is held to be  invalid
    17  or  unenforceable,  such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect
    18  the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this act.
    19    § 5. This act shall take effect immediately.
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