ventura 032923SPRINGFIELD – If you’re an Illinois resident, chances are you’ve received mail that says, “final notice,” on it and were left confused wondering if it’s actually a bill or just a marketing scam.

State Senator Rachel Ventura is working to end the practice of “final notice” letters sent regarding warranties, protection plan, insurance and more – a plan she outlined at a press conference Thursday.

“Far too often new home owners and seniors are the victims of fake final notices,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “We must end this dishonest business practice so that no one is tricked into purchasing goods or services they don’t need. People shouldn’t have to deal with anxiety-inducing scam letters like these.”

When someone buys a car or home in Illinois, “final notice” letters regarding warranties, protection plans and insurance are often mailed out by third parties to scam recipients into providing information or buying products under the guise of maintaining their home or vehicle.

Senate Bill 1440 would require senders to clearly state that their mailing is not a bill but rather a solicitation of services. The measure would make it illegal to knowingly mail a postcard or letter to residents if it does not disclose all affiliations, that it is a solicitation for sale of goods or services, and that it is not a bill.

“Companies should not be allowed to continuously get by with scamming people out of money — especially vulnerable older individuals with fixed incomes,” said Justin Yuroff, Director of Development of Senior Services of Central Illinois. “We need to put a stop to these deceptive and malicious practices before more people fall victim.”

Under the measure, all disclosures would have to be located at the top of the letter or postcard, in bold face 14-point font, and in clear and unambiguous language.

"This legislation is long overdue for the countless Illinoisans, especially the senior citizens, who have been scammed by dishonest companies that rely on deceptive practices to make a quick dollar," said Representative Hoan Huynh (D-Chicago). "We cannot continue to allow these unscrupulous businesses to have unrestrained access to our consumers. We must empower them to make the right decisions by ensuring that these companies are forced to provide our consumers with all the information they need to make a decision on these sorts of solicitations." 

Senate Bill 1440 passed the Senate last week and awaits approval by the House.