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HOUSE DOCKET, NO.                 FILED ON: 7/8/2014

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 4277

 

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

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In the Year Two Thousand Fourteen

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An Act further protecting consumers of the Commonwealth.

 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Section 90 of chapter 93 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the definition of consumer lease and inserting the following new definition of consumer lease:-

              “Consumer lease”, a contract in the form or a lease of bailment for the use of personal property by a natural person for an initial period of time of four months of less, and for a total contractual obligation not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars, primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, that is automatically renewable with each periodic payment after the initial period, but does not obligate the lessee to continue leasing beyond the initial period, and that permits the lessee to become the owner of the property, except that such term shall not be construed to be nor subjected to laws governing any of the following:

              (1)              A lease agreement which constitutes a credit sale as defined in section one of chapter one hundred and forty D;

              (2)              Any lease for agriculture, business, or commercial purposes;

              (3)              Any lease made to the commonwealth or any political subdivisions thereof, including, but not limited to, any agencies, boards, departments or other such instrumentalities of the commonwealth or any political subdivisions thereof;

              (4)              Any lease made to an organization;

              (5)              A lease or agreement which constitutes a retail installment sale agreement as defined in section one of chapter two hundred and fifty-five D;

              (6)              Any lease or rental of motor vehicles, as defined in section one of chapter ninety or tools or garden equipment; and

              (7)              Any lease or rental of an item of personal property that is leased of rented for fewer than seven consecutive days, including all renewals and extensions of the lease or rental agreement.

              SECTION 2. Said chapter 93 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by striking out section 91, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 91. Written statement of information prior to execution of lease

              Each lessor shall give to the lessee prior to the execution of the lease a dated written statement on which the lessor and lessee are identified, setting out accurately and in clear and conspicuous manner the following information with respect to such lease, as applicable:

              (a)              A brief description or identification of the leased property, including whether the property is new or used;

              (b)              The amount of any payment required by the lessee at or before the execution of the lease;

              (c)              The amount paid or payable by the lessee for fees or taxes;

              (d)              The amount and description of other charges payable by the lessee and not included in the periodic payments;

              (e)              If an ongoing option to purchase shall exist a statement of the method of determining the purchase price at any point in time;

              (f)              A statement identifying all express warranties and guarantees made by the manufacturer or lessor with respect to the leased property, identifying the party responsible for maintaining or servicing the leased property together with a description of the responsibility;

              (g)              A brief description of insurance provided or paid for by the lessor or required of the lessee, including the types and amounts of the coverages and costs;

              (h)              A statement that the lessee acquires no ownership rights in the property until the total amount necessary to acquire ownership is paid or any available ongoing purchase option is exercised;

              (i)              The number, amount and due dates or periods of payments under the lease and the total amount of such periodic payments necessary to acquire ownership of the leased property by making periodic payments;

              (j)              A statement that the lessee may terminate the consumer lease without penalty by voluntarily surrendering or returning the property in good repair upon expiration of any lease period along with any past due payments or charges;

              (k)              The date of the transaction and the identities of the lessor and lessee;

              (l)              Notice of the lessee’s right to reinstate a consumer lease as provided in section ninety two, B of this chapter; and

              (m)              The party liable for loss, damage in excess of normal wear and tear, or destruction of the leased property.

              The disclosures required under this section may be made in the lease contract to be signed by the lessee, or may be made in a separate written document which shall be attached to the lease contract. Any of the information required to be disclosure under this section may be given in the form of estimates where the lessor is not in a position to know the exact information.

              The disclosures required under this section may be made in the lease contract to be signed by the lessee, or may be made in a separate written document which shall be attached to the lease contract. Any of the information required to be disclosure under this section may be given in the form of estimates where the lessor is not in a position to know the exact information.

              SECTION 3. Said chapter 93 of the General Laws, is hereby further amended by striking out section 92, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 92. Advertisement for consumer lease; statement regarding payment

              (a)              If an advertisement for a consumer lease states the amount of any payment or states that any or no initial payment is required, the advertisement shall also clearly and conspicuously state the following items, as applicable:

              (1)              That the transaction advertised is a lease or rental-purchase agreement;

              (2)              The total of initial payments required at or before execution of the lease or delivery of the property, whichever is later;

              (3)              That a security deposit is required, if applicable

              (4)              The number, amounts, and timing of scheduled payments;

              (b)              If an advertisement for a consumer lease refers to or states the amount of any payment and that the lessee has the right to acquire ownership of any particular item, the advertisement shall further clearly and conspicuously state the following items, as applicable:

              (1)              The total of payments necessary to acquire ownership if ownership is acquired through the accumulation of periodic payments,

              (2)              That the consumer acquires no ownership rights if the total amount necessary to acquire ownership is not paid or the option to purchase is not exercised by payment of the purchase price.

              (c)              Any owner or the agents or employees of any owner of any medium in which an advertisement appears or through which it is disseminated shall not be liable under this section.

                            SECTION 4. Said chapter 93 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by inserting after section 92 the following section:-

              Section 92A. In-store consumer lease price disclosures

              For each item offered under a consumer lease the lessor shall clearly and conspicuously disclose:

              (1)              The cash price of the item;

              (2)              The amount of the periodic payment; and

              (3)              The total number and total amount of periodic payments necessary to acquire ownership

              SECTION 5. Said chapter 93 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by inserting after section 92A the following section:-

              Section 92B. Reinstatement

              (a)              A lessee who fails to make a timely payment may reinstate the agreement within seven days of the date without losing any rights or options which exist under the agreement, by the payment of:

              (1)              The past due payments and renewal payment; and

              (2)              The applicable late fee.

              (b)              If the lessee returns or voluntarily surrenders the property, during the reinstatement period set forth in subsection (a), other than through judicial process, the lessee may reinstate the agreement during a period of not less than 180 days after the date of the unpaid lease payment by the payment of:

              (1)              The past due payments and renewable payment;

              (2)              The reasonable cost of pick up and redelivery; and

              (3)              The applicable late fee.

              (c)              Upon reinstatement under subsection (b) of this section, the lessor shall provide the consumer with the same or substitute property of comparable quality and condition.

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