Congress passes Rockefeller bill targeting Web scams

The companies in question scammed millions of Americans by partnering with legitimate websites willing to share customers’ billing information, including credit and debit card numbers, for financial gain. The firms also employed a number of tactics to stall or avoid issuing refunds when customers identified the charges.

The bil requires companies to clearly disclose the terms of their offers and to obtain billing information such as credit card numbers directly from consumers. It also bans commercial websites from transferring consumers' billing information to third-party sellers.

“This legislation balances the need for legitimate online retailing with the need to better protect consumers from deceptive practices,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas).

“Consumers should be confident that their online shopping experience is safe and that their personal and financial information is not being used to sign them up for expensive services without their expressed permission."

The Congressional Budget Office predicted the new law will save Americans hundreds of millions of dollars by cracking down on deceptive online sales practices. Rockefeller also credited Hutchison Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) for helping to secure final passage the bill.