CSSB 138(JUD): "An Act relating to the inclusion of the charges of a vendor of goods or services on the bills of certain telecommunications carriers; and adding an unlawful act to the Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act."
00 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 138(JUD) 01 "An Act relating to the inclusion of the charges of a vendor of goods or services on the 02 bills of certain telecommunications carriers; and adding an unlawful act to the Alaska 03 Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act." 04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 * Section 1. AS 42.05 is amended by adding a new section to article 8 to read: 06 Sec. 42.05.715. Telecommunications carrier bills; disclosures and 07 contested charges. (a) A telecommunications carrier shall clearly identify in separate 08 sections of a customer's bill 09 (1) charges by each person or billing agent that generates a charge on 10 the bill; and 11 (2) the information provided to the telecommunications carrier under 12 (b) of this section. 13 (b) A person or billing agent may not charge customers of a 14 telecommunications carrier on the carrier's bill for a product or service unless the
01 person or billing agent provides to the telecommunications carrier the following 02 information: 03 (1) the amount charged for each product or service, separately 04 identifying taxes or surcharges; 05 (2) a clear and concise description of the product or service that is the 06 basis of the charge; 07 (3) the name of the entity providing the product or service or otherwise 08 generating the charge; and 09 (4) a toll-free telephone number or other no-cost means of contacting 10 the entity generating the charge to resolve a dispute regarding the charge. 11 (c) A telecommunications carrier may not discontinue services to a customer 12 based on the customer's failure to pay a charge of another person or billing agent 13 appearing on the telecommunications carrier's bill, when the customer has contested 14 the charge using the contact information provided under (b) of this section and orally 15 or electronically informed the telecommunications carrier of the reason for 16 nonpayment. 17 (d) A telecommunications carrier may recover from a person or billing agent 18 reasonable costs incurred in implementing billing changes or otherwise complying 19 with this section. 20 (e) The commission may adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of this 21 section. 22 (f) In this section, 23 (1) "billing agent" has the meaning given in AS 45.50.476; 24 (2) "telecommunications carrier" means a telecommunications utility 25 required to be certificated by or registered with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. 26 * Sec. 2. AS 45.50.471(b) is amended by adding a new paragraph to read: 27 (58) violating AS 45.50.476 (charges billed by telecommunications 28 carriers). 29 * Sec. 3. AS 45.50 is amended by adding a new section to read: 30 Sec. 45.50.476. Charges billed by telecommunications carriers. (a) Except 31 as provided in (c) of this section, a person or billing agent may not bill charges for
01 goods or services on a customer's telephone bill from a telecommunications carrier. 02 (b) A person or billing agent may not induce a telecommunications carrier, 03 directly or through an intermediary, to bill a customer for goods or services of a 04 vendor unless the billing is permitted under (c) of this section. 05 (c) This section does not apply to an itemized billing in compliance with 06 AS 42.05.715 for 07 (1) the sale of goods or services governed by an effective tariff of 08 (A) a public utility operating under a certificate of public 09 convenience and necessity issued by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska; or 10 (B) a carrier operating under a certificate, license, or 11 authorization issued by the Federal Communications Commission; 12 (2) direct-dial or dial-around services initiated from the customer's 13 telephone; 14 (3) operator-assisted telephone calls, collect calls, or telephone 15 services provided to facilitate communications to or from inmates in a correctional 16 center; or 17 (4) goods or services for which the person or billing agent has 18 provided the telecommunications carrier with 19 (A) the following: 20 (i) an electronic letter with the consumer's express 21 authorization of the charge; 22 (ii) proof that a written confirmation of the charge was 23 provided to the consumer; and 24 (iii) the consumer's birthdate or the last four digits of 25 the consumer's social security number; or 26 (B) independent third-party verification of the customer's 27 express authorization. 28 (d) Telecommunications carriers have no duty to verify independently the 29 accuracy of information received from a person or billing agent under this section. 30 (e) In this section, 31 (1) "billing agent" means a person or entity that aggregates consumer
01 billings or serves as a clearinghouse for aggregate billings and submits charges for 02 goods or services to the billing telecommunications carrier on behalf of itself or a 03 vendor; 04 (2) "express authorization" means 05 (A) a customer agreement to be billed for the charges in a 06 signed, written document in paper, electronic, or digital form; or 07 (B) oral agreement to be billed for the charges after the 08 customer's identity has been verified by an independent third-party verification 09 company using unique identifying information; 10 (3) "telecommunications carrier" means a telecommunications utility 11 required to be certificated by or registered with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. 12 * Sec. 4. AS 45.50.481(a) is amended to read: 13 (a) Nothing in AS 45.50.471 - 45.50.561 applies to 14 (1) an act or transaction regulated under laws administered by the state, 15 by a regulatory board or commission except as provided by AS 45.50.471(b)(27), 16 [AND] (30), and (58), or officer acting under statutory authority of the state or of the 17 United States, unless the law regulating the act or transaction does not prohibit the 18 practices declared unlawful in AS 45.50.471; 19 (2) an act done by the publisher, owner, agent, or employee of a 20 newspaper, periodical, or radio or television station in the publication or dissemination 21 of an advertisement, when the owner, agent, or employee did not have knowledge of 22 the false, misleading, or deceptive character of the advertisement or did not have a 23 direct financial interest in the sale or distribution of the advertised product or service; 24 (3) an act or transaction regulated under AS 21.36 or AS 06.05 or a 25 regulation adopted under the authority of those chapters.