Ciresi bill would outlaw early termination fees for deceased individuals

Companies can currently charge fees for contract ending early due to death

HARRISBURG, May 17 – When a Pennsylvania resident passes away, they may find themselves subject to early termination fees for broken contracts, becoming the responsibility of the deceased’s family or estate. But if legislation sponsored by Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, is passed, that would no longer be the case.

Ciresi’s bill, H.B. 1418, would prohibit cable, phone, telecommunication, utility, and other companies from imposing early termination fees on a recently deceased person’s family for services that would no longer be used. Under this proposed legislation, vehicle leases would also be allowed to end early without penalty if the leaseholder passes away before the contract ends. In all cases, the family would be required to provide the reason for ending the contract and provide a copy of the death certificate.

“When someone dies, it should be an easy process to cancel their recurring contracts and subscriptions – but unfortunately, it’s often not,” Ciresi said. “The family members of that person have enough on their plate, not to mention the emotional pain they would be going through. Death shouldn’t come with fees, and there is no reason a company should be allowed to charge money to a customer’s estate for early termination fees because that customer died before the contract was fulfilled.”

Ciresi has championed this legislation in previous sessions. This session, it has 18 co-sponsors, featuring members on both sides of the aisle.

House Bill 1418 was referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee where it awaits further action.