Many military service members face a common problem when called for active duty. Before leaving, they have to cancel things like cable and gym memberships. Sometimes, however, cancelling such contracts can trigger penalties and even negatively impact a person’s credit.
Washington lawmakers are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore. Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested legislation for consumer protections for service members earlier this year.
“The men and women of our armed forces face unique challenges,” Ferguson said. “As someone who comes from a military family, it is important to do everything we can to support those who serve or have served our country. This legislation closes a gap in the law, ensuring military consumers don’t get stuck with contracts they can’t use because they are deployed or ordered to relocate.”
The legislation he requested is House Bill 1056, sponsored by Rep. Christine Kilduff, D-University Place. The bill aims to allow Washington service members called to active duty, or ordered to relocate, to suspend or cancel contracts with internet and TV providers, cell phone providers, gyms, and satellite radio providers without having to face economic consequences. It also requires these companies to allow service members to reinstate their contracts at rates equal to what they paid before cancellation.
The Senate unanimously passed House Bill 1056 on Wednesday. The bill now goes to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk, where it will likely be signed into law.