New law intends to create transparency for women consumers
As of January 1, 2018, the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (the Act) has been amended again, this time with the intent to protect women from being charged more for certain services than men.
Specifically, Illinois Senate Bill 298 now requires all tailors, barbershops (hair salons), and dry cleaners to provide a standard services price list. The law was created after complaints from the female population that men are being charged less than women for the same services. For example, a woman with short hair may have historically been charged more for her haircut than a man with the same length, or similar style, of hair. Or, a woman may be charged more to dry clean her blouse than a man is charged for the same size, and fabric, dress shirt. This new “standard services” law intends to put a stop to such biases.
A few loopholes: the price list only must be provided “upon request;” and, the price list is limited to “standard services.” Standard services is defined by this section of the Act as the ten most frequently requested services provided by the seller. Also, the price list may be “provided in any format.”
Prices on the list are to be based on customary industry pricing practices. If a seller is found to be in violation of this new law, they have thirty days to remedy the violation. If the seller is found to have violated the law a second time within two years of their initial violation, then they may be sanctioned.
The point to the law is transparency according to those that supported its passage. However, if the list only has to be presented upon request, this writer may argue that the transparency goal is lacking in coming to fruition. Further, the penalty seems to be a “do over” followed by a “maybe” slap on the wrist, rather than an actual sanction.
Frankly, this new law falls short in the eyes of this writer. It is also infuriating that, of all the important female centered issues out there, this law passes muster. I am interested in how you, the reader, feels. Feel free to email me with your thoughts directly at firstname.lastname@example.org