Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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June 28, 1999


In accordance with the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws § 43-1-4, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 99-H-5347, "An Act Relating to Deceptive Trade Practices - Appliances."

This bill would require all gas and electric appliance repair persons to inform consumers "prior to such servicing or repair, of the need to use and the type of any new, used, rebuilt, or other replacement parts used by the person to effectuate such servicing or repair." A violation would constitute a misdemeanor and carry a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500).

The apparent intent of the bill is to protect consumers from the use of used parts in repairing appliances without their knowledge. The bill may also have been intended to provide consumers with a parts listing prior to repair. As drafted, however, the bill goes far beyond what is necessary To protect consumers. Moreover, requiring a written list of all new and used parts prior to servicing becomes onerous where numerous small parts are necessary and also in situations where internal inspection reveals that additional parts are necessary to complete the repair. As such, the bill could easily result in an increased cost to consumers and delay in completing repairs. Equally important, law enforcement officials report that it would be extremely difficult to prove criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt under this bill as presently drafted. As such, prosecutions would be nonexistent. For these reasons, I vetoed this bill in 1995 and 1996.

The apparent goals of the bill could be achieved by laws requiring that consumers be given the option to choose new or used (when available) parts for a repair and that a written estimate be provided, which estimate could only be exceeded upon notification and approval. A civil penalty for a violation could also be imposed. My Administration is available to work with the sponsors to draft such a bill.

For the foregoing reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support of this veto.


Lincoln Almond