PSC Again Issues Proposed Change To Rescission Period Rule Language
September 16, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The District of Columbia PSC has again issued for public comment proposed changes to language regarding the rescission period in sections 327.15 of the Consumer Bill of Rights (CBOR) rules
The latest proposed change is identical to a proposal from May; the proposal has been re-issued due to changes in other sections of the rule relating to utility disconnection rules
The PSC proposes to modify section 327.15 of the CBOR to provide as follows:
An Energy Supplier shall advise a Customer that he/she has the right to rescind
the Contract agreement within the three (3) business day Rescission Period that
begins on one of the following dates, as applicable:
(a) When the Customer signs the Contract;
(b) On the date that a positive Third-Party Verification or electronic recording
has been made;
(c) When the Customer transmits the electronic acceptance of the Contract
(d) When the Completed Written Contract is received by U.S. mail; there is a
rebuttable presumption that a Contract correctly addressed to a Customer,
with sufficient first-class postage attached, shall be received by the
Customer three (3) days after depositing in the U.S. Mail.
This change is meant to address an incongruity in the recently adopted rules regarding the start time for the rescission period for telephonic contracting.
Under current section 327.15 of the applicable rules, the rescission period begins on one of the following dates:
a) When the Customer signs the Contract;
b) When a positive Third-Party Verification or electronic recording has been made;
c) When the Customer transmits the electronic acceptance of the Contract Electronically or;
d) When the Completed Written Contract is deposited in the U.S. Mail.
However, OPC noted that section 327.18 separately provides that, "[o]nce the Customer's choice of Energy Supplier is verified by an Independent Third-Party Verifier or an electronic recording is made, the Energy suppliers shall, within five (5) business days from the day the Customer agreed telephonically to Contract with the Energy Supplier, provide to the Customer via U.S. Mail or electronic mail a copy of the Completed Written Contract."
OPC said that, "In situations where a contract is mailed, the present rules make it impossible for consumers and Energy Suppliers to determine the amount of time in which a consumer has to cancel their contract."
OPC noted that this issue had been previously identified by retail suppliers, who had said, "as proposed the Rescission Period would begin when the Energy Supplier mails the Contract, rather than when the Customer receives it. As a result, the
Rescission Period could run while the Customer is waiting for the Contract to arrive in the mail,
defeating the purpose of the Rescission Period."