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  • Summary date: Apr 19 2023 - View Summary

    Enacts Article 51, GS Chapter 66, the North Carolina Junk Free Prevention Act, to regulate covered entities, defined as providers of short-term lodging (limited to six months or less) and entities that advertise rates or the purchase of short-term lodging, providers of a ticketing service that sells tickets for an event or retains the authority to otherwise distribute tickets for an event (whether primary seller or in the secondary marketplace), and other entities determined appropriate by the Attorney General (AG). Requires covered entities to clearly display the total price of the good or service provided in each advertisement and when a price is first shown to a customer, including any mandatory fees a consumer would incur during the transaction. Defines mandatory fees to include required, reasonably unavoidable, or unexpected fees or surcharges, with discretion for the AG to include others deemed appropriate in this definition. Bars increasing pricing during the purchase process and imposing or advertising excessive or deceptive mandatory fees. Requires covered entities to clearly disclose to the public the total number of tickets offered for sale or available for tickets to a sporting event, theater, musical performance, or event at a place of public amusement at least 72 hours before the first public sale or presale. Requires clearly disclosing any guarantee or refund policy prior to purchase, and providing refunds at total cost, including mandatory fees. Requires clear notice that a covered entity does not possess a ticket at the time of sale and that the entity provide a full refund if the entity cannot provide the ticket advertised to the consumer in a timely manner prior to the event. Prohibits charging a fee, or imposing an excessive or unreasonable requirement, for early termination of a covered service, defined to include internet, voice, commercial mobile, commercial mobile data, or multichannel video programming services, or other services offered or provided as a bundle or package with these described services. Specifies that the Article does not prohibit charging consumers the cost of rental or loan equipment not returned within a reasonable amount of time, or the outstanding cost of a purchased device. 

    Authorizes the AG to adopt implementing rules. Authorizes the AG to assess penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation of the Article, and take other appropriate enforcement action. Lists factors the AG must consider in determining whether a fee is excessive, including whether the fee is reasonable and proportional to the cost of the good or service and the reason for the charge. Deems a violation of the Article to be an unfair and deceptive trade practice under GS Chapter 75. 

    Effective October 1, 2023.