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H.R. 6508 (112th): E-STOP Act

The text of the bill below is as of Sep 21, 2012 (Introduced).



2d Session

H. R. 6508


September 21, 2012

(for herself, Ms. Richardson, and Ms. Schakowsky) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce


To direct the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate rules requiring an Internet merchant to disclose the use of a price-altering computer program, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Ensuring Shoppers Transparency in Online Pricing Act of 2012 or the E-STOP Act.


Disclosure requirement for internet merchants



The Federal Trade Commission shall, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, promulgate rules under section 553 of title 5, United States Code, requiring an Internet merchant to disclose to each consumer, prior to the final purchase of any good or service, the use of a price-altering computer program.



The rules promulgated by the Commission under subsection (a) shall—


require, at a minimum, an Internet merchant to clearly and prominently disclose the use of a price-altering computer program to a consumer prior to the final purchase of a good or service; and


provide an Internet merchant procedures for complying with the requirement under paragraph (1).



The Commission shall provide for specific exceptions to the rules promulgated under subsection (a) when a consumer should reasonably expect the price to be altered based on the personal information of such consumer, including but not limited to for the calculation of a shipping charge and for a financial service for which personal information is customarily used to formulate a price.


Internet merchants subject to disclosure requirement

The rules promulgated under subsection (a) shall only apply to an Internet merchant that has a total annual gross revenue of more than $1,000,000, and such amount shall be indexed for inflation every 5 years by the Commission to reflect the change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.



A violation of a rule promulgated under subsection (a) shall be treated as a violation of a rule defining an unfair or deceptive act or practice prescribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)). The Commission shall enforce this Act in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties, as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act were incorporated into and made a part of this Act.



In this Act:



The term Internet has the meaning given the term in section 1101 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 U.S.C. 151 note).


Internet merchant

The term Internet merchant means a person that sells or offers to sell a good or service by way of an Internet transaction.


Internet Protocol address

The term Internet Protocol address means the numerical label assigned to a particular computer or other device that accesses the Internet.


Price-altering computer program

The term price-altering computer program means a computer program that—


accesses a consumer’s personal information, including but not limited to Internet browsing history, device type and manufacturer, operating system, and Internet Protocol address; and


uses the information accessed under subparagraph (A) to alter the selling price of a good or service sold by an Internet merchant.