DeANGELO & RAMOS CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY

Measure Would Invalidate Any Consumer Contract That Requires Consumers to Give Up Their Right to File a Complaint

(TRENTON) — Legislation Assemblymen Wayne P. DeAngelo and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. sponsored to invalidate any contract that requires customers to waive their right to file a consumer fraud complaint was approved Thursday by the Assembly.

The bill (A-2051) would nullify any contract that contains language negating the ability of a consumer to contact either law enforcement or state, county or municipal authorities to file consumer complaint.

“When companies are using contract clauses that force consumers to waive their right to file a complaint, something must be done,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Preventing a customer from filing a complaint undermines New Jersey’s long standing tradition of consumer protection. Without such protection, the ability monitor a business’ compliance with existing law is severely compromised.”

The sponsors added that consumers should have the right to purchase goods and services from providers and have them live up to the terms they negotiated.

“If those consumers have no right to file a complaint with the appropriate authorities when the terms of that agreement are not met, then we have situation where we need to step up and make sure our consumers are protected,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “One of the top lessons we’ve learned from this global recession is that more needs to be done to protect against consumer fraud. It’s essential that we not allow residents to be taken advantage of in such an egregious way.”

The measure was approved 76-0. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.