Legislation Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee Vice-Chair Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. sponsored to require coin redemption machines to disclose fees received panel approval on Thursday.
The bill (A-1462) would prohibit operators of machines that sort and count a consumer’s coins and provide cash in exchange from charging a fee for the service unless a notice advertising the fee is prominently posted on the machine. The legislation also would require a notice to be posted if coins cannot be refunded once deposited.
“When consumers go to a kiosk to trade in loose change for bills, they reasonably expect to walk away with the same amount of money they brought in. Unfortunately, it’s too often the case that – unbeknownst to consumers until it’s too late – for every hard-earned dollar they put in, the machine takes a dime,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex).
“Under the guise of providing a convenient service, the operators of these machines deceive consumers, capitalizing especially on those who may not have access to banks or credit unions that provide the same service free of charge. This legislation is simply about empowering consumers to make the best choices about what they do with their money.”
The first violation of the bill’s provisions would be considered disorderly conduct and carry fine of up to $1,000. Failure to comply with the bill’s provisions thereafter would constitute an unlawful practice under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. An unlawful practice carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 for a first offense and $20,000 for any subsequent offense.
The bill was released by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.