House votes to ban ‘live check’ scams

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The House voted 103-30 to make “live checks” a deceptive practice under the state’s consumer protection laws.


“Live checks” obligate consumers to purchase goods and services they don’t necessarily want and may not even be aware of. They’re often mailed to people under the pretense of being rebate checks for something they already purchased.


In reality, live checks originate from third parties who obtained the consumers’ credit card information from the company from which they purchased the original item. The checks usually contain fine print informing consumers that cashing them obligates them to buy something, but consumers often don’t see it.


Rep. Andrew Falk (DFL-Murdock) sponsors HF2599/ SF2439*, which would ban the practice. It passed 64-2 on March 11 in the Senate, where Sen. Kathy Saltzman (DFL-Woodbury) is the sponsor. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.


Rep. Paul  Kohls (R-Victoria) argued the bill is unnecessary, and said it’s consumers’ own responsibility to read the fine print on the checks.


“I think we all learn as a kid that there’s no such thing as a free lunch… We don’t need government to step in and protect people from themselves time and time again,” he said.


Falk argued the checks are sent as a deceptive practice meant to trick consumers.