ASSEMBLY, No. 638

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  PAUL D. MORIARTY

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Mercer)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Albano, Assemblywoman Greenstein, Assemblymen Burzichelli, Rumpf, Giblin, Assemblywoman Evans, Assemblyman Conners and Assemblywoman Tucker

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits display of gift card account numbers.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning the sale of gift cards and supplementing P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  a.  It shall be an unlawful practice for any person to sell or offer to sell a gift card, as defined in section 1 of P.L.2002, c.14 (C.56:8-110), unless it is packaged or displayed in such a manner as to prevent a person from viewing the gift card account number prior to purchasing the gift card.

     b.  This section shall not be construed to apply to gift cards which require a unique personal identification number, code, or password in order to use the gift card to make a remote purchase, provided the gift card is packaged or displayed in such a manner as to:

     (1) prevent a person from viewing the unique personal identification number, code, or password prior to purchasing the gift card; and

     (2) include a notice, visible to the consumer prior to purchase, stating that the gift card requires a unique personal identification number, code, or password to make a remote purchase, and that the gift card should be packaged or displayed in such a way so as to prevent a person from viewing the unique personal identification number, code, or password associated with the card prior to purchase.

     c.  For the purposes of this section, “remote purchase” means any purchase made with a gift card for which the gift card does not need to be physically presented to a cashier or other representative of the seller or merchant.

 

     2.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the  thirteenth month following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill makes it an unlawful practice to sell gift cards unless they are packaged or displayed in a manner that prevents a person from viewing the gift card account number prior to purchasing the gift card.

     The bill allows the display of a gift card account number, provided a unique personal identification number, code, or password is required to use the gift card to make a remote purchase and

·        that number, code, or password is hidden from view until after purchase; and

·        there is a notice alerting the consumer of the number, code, or password, and that the gift card should be packaged or displayed in a manner that prevents people from viewing that number, code, or password prior to purchase.

     The bill defines “remote purchase” as a purchase made with a gift card for which the gift card does not need to be physically presented to a cashier or other representative of the seller or merchant.

     A popular scam for criminals is to record gift card account numbers while in a store, and use the customer service telephone number to verify if the card has been activated.  Once it is, they quickly make Internet purchases using the gift card account number.  This legislation is designed to protect consumers by guaranteeing that their gift card account numbers remain private prior to purchase.

     An unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense.  In addition, a violation can  result in cease and desist orders issued by the Attorney General, the assessment of punitive damages and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured party.