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Photo courtesy of Pilar Schiavo for Assembly

Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo Champions Homeowners and Consumers with Landmark Legislation

Two bills highlight Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo's Advocacy for Homeowners and Consumers


Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo scored a victory for California homeowners on April 23, 2024.  She championed AB 2424, a bill that protects vulnerable communities from unfair foreclosure practices. Schiavo's bill garnered support from consumer groups.  On April 30th, she introduced the 'Click-to-Cancel Bill' (AB 2863) to fight deceptive subscription practices. Schiavo's legislation is intended to advance Californians' financial security.


On April 23, 2024, Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo celebrated a significant milestone as AB 2424, a crucial bill aimed at safeguarding homeowners facing foreclosure during times of vulnerability, advanced out of the Assembly Committee on Banking and Finance and the Assembly Committee on Judiciary.


Highlighting the need for extended protection for homeowners during challenging circumstances such as the passing of a partner, health challenges, or divorce, Schiavo emphasized the inadequacy of the current 120-day foreclosure timeline. She asserted in a press release, "For some families, a home is their only substantial asset. This legislation will reform foreclosure rules, seeking to preserve a portion of the lifetime investments in the property while assuring the banks get repaid."


The existing foreclosure process often results in significant financial losses for homeowners, with banks frequently selling properties at low prices, leaving homeowners at a disadvantage. Vulnerable communities, including low-income, elderly, immigrant, and disabled individuals, are disproportionately affected, risking poverty and homelessness due to the loss of their primary assets.


AB 2424 aims to rectify these disparities by ensuring a fair distribution of equity between banks and property owners. Schiavo stressed, "AB 2424 still ensures the mortgage holder gets repaid, and it also seeks to balance the equities so that both the bank and the owner of the property get a fair share of their interest in the value of the home."


The Consumer Federation of California expressed gratitude to Schiavo for her advocacy, recognizing the bill's potential to provide a lifeline for foreclosed Californians. CFC Executive Director Robert Herrell stated, "Foreclosure is a nightmare even in the best of circumstances, but California's current foreclosure system excessively punishes the most vulnerable Californians. AB 2424 would provide a clear pathway to allow these foreclosed Californians meaningful access to the sometimes-substantial equity gains coming from their foreclosed properties and a critical lifeline to benefit from their most meaningful asset in life."


On April 30, 2024, Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo announced that she had introduced AB 2863, called the “Click-to-Cancel Bill”. The bill is designed to empower consumers and alleviate financial strain by streamlining the cancellation process for subscription services. This legislation mirrors efforts by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide consumers with a straightforward "Click to Cancel" option for subscriptions, ensuring that unsubscribing is as convenient as signing up.


Schiavo emphasized the necessity of such measures in light of deceptive practices within the subscription economy, which often result in consumers unwittingly spending more than intended. She stated in a press release, “The subscription economy makes their money on the backs of consumers, using deceptive practices that cause people to spend more money than they want to. Especially at a time when families are struggling just to get by, things like monthly subscriptions can really add up. This bill will protect people’s pocketbooks from these manipulative subscription models.” With the subscription economy projected to reach a staggering $1.5 trillion market by 2025, Schiavo stressed the urgency of safeguarding consumer interests.


Research conducted in 2022 revealed that an alarming 42% of consumers continue to pay for subscriptions they no longer utilize, resulting in an average monthly expenditure increase of approximately $133. Companies often exploit consumer forgetfulness by neglecting to remind them of upcoming renewals, thus maximizing profits at the expense of consumer wallets.


Robert Herrell, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California (CFC), echoed Schiavo’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of transparency and ease of cancellation for consumers. He stated, “In a world where subscription services too often trap consumers in a maze of renewal processes, AB 2863 puts power back with consumers, where it belongs. CFC is sponsoring AB 2863 because consumers deserve transparent, understandable subscription choices and an easy cancellation process, much like what the FTC is proposing. This bill keeps consumers from unwanted subscriptions and bureaucratic frustration."


Schiavo further explained the benefits of AB 2863, highlighting its potential to alleviate financial strain for consumers. She asserted, “AB 2863 will help people keep the approximately $133 they spend each month on subscriptions they don’t use, giving them much-needed money for everyday expenses that are already so challenging to afford.”


The bill is poised to navigate through the California State Assembly later this month, signaling a possible step forward in the ongoing efforts to protect consumer rights and promote financial wellness. As subscription services continue to play an increasingly prominent role in the economy, measures like AB 2863 aim to ensure that consumers are equipped with the tools necessary to navigate the subscription landscape with clarity and confidence.


Pilar Schiavo is running for re-election in Assembly District 40 in the 2024 election. Her opponent is Republican Patrick Gipson, a retired law enforcement officer and National Rifle Association (NRA) instructor.


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