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| 1 minute read

North Carolina Legislature Introduces Act to Make Businesses Pay for Wait Times

A recent bill introduced into the North Carolina House – the Service Customer Equal Time Act – is creating a lot of buzz amongst healthcare and other service providers operating in North Carolina. Understandably so, as we’ve all experienced the frustration of ineffective scheduling processes and long wait times. The bill’s sponsors are highlighting this common occurrence and have introduced bill H32 to impose penalties on service providers that may be creating the most customer frustration.

The text of the Service Customer Equal Time Act that was introduced on January 30, 2023 applies to any service provider that “charges its customers for missing scheduled service appointments”. Should these businesses fail to “deliver service to a customer at a scheduled service appointment time”, they would be required to pay the customer the same amount that would have been charged to the customer had the customer missed the scheduled appointment.

Further, the Act requires these services provides to provided scheduling notices to customers. Should service providers impose missed appointment penalties on their customers, but fail to abide by the Acts’ provisions, such failures would then be considered “an unfair or deceptive act or practice under G.S. 75-1.1”, enabling lawsuits and potential enforcement by the Attorney General’s Office, in the case of serial violators.

However, the Service Customer Equal Time Act is likely to receive intense scrutiny during committee review as it has been referred to three different House committees and is gaining attention in the business community. There’s a long way to go before this bill could become law.

Healthcare providers and other service providers are encouraged to reach out to our team if the Service Customer Equal Time Act or any other legislation could affect their business. Michael Best’s Healthcare group includes both attorneys and consultants who can assist with healthcare and regulatory compliance, monitor and impact ongoing legislation at the State and Federal level, and even collaborate on innovative products and processes. Contact the authors to learn more about how we can help, or to receive periodic updates on this Act and other legislation important to your business.


healthcare, regulatory, government, innovation, north carolina, service providers