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11/19/2019 08:26 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20190&cosponId=27875
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 22, 2019 10:14 AM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Clarification in Law of Theft Relating to Leased Property & Rental Services
 
In the near future, I will introduce legislation addressing theft of leased property and rental services.

This issue has come to my attention from a business in my district which lost significant revenue due to Pennsylvania’s antiquated and inadequate protections for equipment rental companies, which are often small business owners.

Under current law, these businesses are not permitted to seek criminal charges when: rental equipment is damaged; rental equipment is not returned; or payment is not received for services. As a result, the only option is to seek restitution through the civil court which is both time-consuming and expensive, thus creating an enormous financial burden on these small business owners.

My legislation seeks to clarify the law by:
  • Defining when “deception” has occurred. It is understood that a person has received a service with deception to pay if an equipment renter fails to pay after receiving the exact amount due by certified or registered mail and no contact is made to make arrangements for payment within ten days of receiving notice; and
  • Assuming to have criminal intent if the renter signs a lease or rental agreement with a name and address other than his/her own and fails to return the property within the time specified in the agreement. Additionally, a person sentenced shall be ordered to pay the owner of the property restitution as part of the individual’s sentence.

Given the ambiguity in statute and the effect it has on small businesses, I believe it is important to provide these clarifications. For these reasons, I ask you to join me cosponsoring this legislation.



Introduced as SB547