Calif. law makes fine print easier to read

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Sunday, January 1, 2006

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--Beginning this month, security installers throughout the state should be throwing out their old contracts and replacing them with new ones to comply with a change in The California Home Improvement Act, which requires larger type size for the wording in home improvement contracts.
SB 30 seeks to provide consumers with more protection when entering into home improvement contracts, mainly by eliminating the fine print and including various disclosures, such as that state law allows consumers three days to cancel a contract. The law went into effect Jan. 1.
The law impacts businesses with a contractor's license, including alarm dealers who install a burglar alarm with another system, such as a home-automation, fire or central vacuum system.
"Existing contract forms are no longer going to be appropriate," said Alan Pepper, an attorney with Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp, which represents the California Alarm Association.
According to Jerry Lenander, executive director of the California Alarm Association, there are 1,500 licensed burglar alarm companies in the state, and of those about 500 are actively installing security systems.
Lenander said the state association has spread the word on SB 30 through its monthly newsletter and association meetings, but he did not have numbers on how many alarm companies still needed to update their contracts.
"The word is out that they need to review their contracts and look at them," he said. "There should be an awareness of it."