(TRENTON) – Aiming to ensure police are able to better investigate and prosecute wrongful electronic payments between two parties, legislation to require receivers to return electronic payment to senders in person-to-person electronic transactions was approved Thursday by the full Assembly, 79-0.
The bill (A-3411) would provide that failure to return an erroneous person-to-person electronic payment to the sender is theft. If a person receives an electronic payment from another individual through a payment processor that was delivered as a mistake as to the nature or in the amount of the transfer or identity of the recipient, failure to return the payment to the sender constitutes theft in which the recipient was notified that the payment was erroneous.
The bill would not apply to entities or enterprises capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property, including payment processors.
The measure’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris), Clinton Calabrese (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Carol Murphy (D-Burlington) released the following joint statement:
“When making a payment, it’s become increasingly common for people to reach for their cell phone rather than their wallet or checkbook. It’s incredibly easy to buy items from online sellers, pay a friend back for lunch, or move money from one bank account to another, all at the touch of a smartphone or computer. But not all electronic transactions are accurate or just.
“It’s been difficult for law enforcement to recover mistaken electronic payments without a specific law in place. As the way we exchange money and goods changes, we need to update our law accordingly to ensure consumers are protected and wrongdoing can be prosecuted.
“This bill will help consumers exchanging money with another person feel assured that the receiver will be held accountable should the transaction go wrong.”