Senator Bacon: Protecting Ohio's Consumers
By State Senator Kevin Bacon
December 05, 2011
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Columbus - 
Paramount to serving the people of Ohio is the ongoing task of crafting timely legislation that  protects the public interest against a number of potential threats. As times and conditions change,  and they often do, the pertinent issues of the day similarly take on new shape.  For instance,  during times as economically challenging as today, it is common for everyday consumers to  become targeted by a variety of businesses and services that appear legitimate, but ultimately  prove to be nothing more than costly scams. 

One particular market that has become plagued by such culprits is the air duct cleaning industry.   Air duct cleaning (or HVAC) vendors provide a much-needed service and their work has proven  to be invaluable to the public.  However, the questionable practices of a few bad actors within  the field have started to jeopardize the industry's success nationwide.  Though bound by the  National Air Duct Cleaners Association's (NADCA) Code of Ethics, the actions of a few are  proving detrimental to many honest small business owners within the field.  As a result, NADCA  and its members have voiced the desire to bring about real reform to punish unethical practices.    

My attention was drawn to this issue earlier this year by various national news reports.  In the  weeks that followed, I began meeting with members of our community who shared first-hand  accounts of shoddy workmanship, bait-and-switch advertising, uninsured vendors, and perhaps  worst of all, being been duped into purchasing unnecessary products and services.  Their stories  were nothing short of appalling and their aggravation was certainly warranted.  It was clear that  this had become a growing problem nationally and that Ohio was in need of updated laws and  regulations to discourage this type of duplicitous activity. 

That is why I am preparing to introduce legislation that will protect consumers, as well as honest,  hard-working HVAC professionals, from the abuse doled out by a minority of contractors.   Similar to laws previously passed in Texas and New Jersey, the bill aims to ensure that only  registered vendors will have the ability to collect payment for services rendered, as well as  require all who conduct business in Ohio to maintain proper and valid insurance.  At this time,  my staff and I continue to meet with stakeholders and industry experts in order to further  formulate a final version of the legislation.  

As new scams arise, there is sometimes no other option but to implement reasonable regulatory  measures to protect our consumers.  I am confident that as we move forward over the following  months, we will be able to produce a sound piece of legislation that will be a service to Ohio's  citizens, as well as its marketplace.
Senator Kevin Bacon represents Ohio's 3rd Senate District which contains part of Franklin County. He serves as Chairman of the Insurance, Commerce, and Labor Committee.
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