SENATE, No. 280

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† BRIAN P. STACK

District 33 (Hudson)

Senator† NICHOLAS J. SACCO

District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Greenstein

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Creates a credit card do-not-solicit list for certain persons.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

††


An Act prohibiting certain credit card solicitations 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.† As used in this act:

†††† "Agent" means an individual authorized to act for a senior citizen through an executed power of attorney.

†††† "Credit card" means any card, plate, coupon book, or other single credit device that may be used from time to time to obtain credit.

†††† "Credit card company" means any business, corporation, bank, other financial institution, agent or representative engaged in issuing credit cards.

†††† "Division" means the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

†††† "Do-not-solicit list" means the credit card do-not-solicit list created pursuant to section 2 of this act.

†††† "Family member" means an adult who is a vulnerable consumer's spouse, parent, child, grandparent, or grandchild.

†††† "Mental illness" means a current, substantial disturbance of thought, mood, perception or orientation which significantly impairs judgment, capacity to control behavior or capacity to recognize reality.

†††† "Senior citizen" means an individual 60 years of age or older who has granted a power of attorney to an agent.

†††† "Vulnerable consumer" means an individual with a mental illness who, regardless of age, is a dependent of, or in the custody of, a parent or legal guardian, or an individual whose mental illness may be established by a physician's verification submitted to the division by a family member.

 

†††† 2.† The division shall establish and maintain a do-not-solicit list for vulnerable consumers and senior citizens. The division may contract with a private vendor to establish and maintain the do-not-solicit list.† The contract shall require the vendor to provide the list in a printed hard copy format, and in any other format as prescribed by the division.

†††† The do-not-solicit list shall be confidential, and shall only be released to or used by entities engaged in the implementation, compliance, and enforcement of P.L.††† , c.††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).† Any information contained in the list shall not be used for any purpose other than such implementation, compliance, and enforcement.† Nothing in P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) shall be construed to require the division to disclose any information acquired or any records created, except as provided by this act.


†††† 3.† After a vulnerable consumer or senior citizen is registered on the do-not-solicit list established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.†††† , c.     (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) for more than 30 days, no credit card company shall:

†††† a.† solicit the vulnerable consumer or senior citizen by mail, telephone or electronic mail for the issuance of a credit card;

†††† b.† grant a credit card in the name of the vulnerable consumer or senior citizen, notwithstanding that the company receives an application for the credit card and approves the application; or

†††† c.† mail to the vulnerable consumer or senior citizen a fully functional credit card.

 

†††† 4.† No vulnerable consumer or senior citizen shall be liable for any amount resulting from the use of an unsolicited credit card issued in violation of the provisions of section 3 of P.L.    , c.     (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

†††† 5.† a.† The division shall provide notice to the general public of the establishment of the do-not-solicit list pursuant to section 2 of P.L.††† , c.††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).† Any family member or agent who wishes to submit the name of a vulnerable consumer or senior citizen to the list shall notify the division by calling a toll-free telephone number provided by the division, or in any other manner as the division may prescribe, including internet notification, provided that the family member or agent submitting the name of a vulnerable consumer or senior citizen shall certify, under penalty of perjury, to the truth of the facts provided.

†††† b.† A family member or agent may have a vulnerable consumer or senior citizens' name removed from the registry upon written request to the division.† The division shall update the do-not-solicit list not less than quarterly and the division shall make the do-not-solicit list available to credit card companies for a fee that the division shall prescribe.

 

†††† 6.† The provisions of P.L.††† , c.†††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not be construed to prohibit:

†††† a.† the granting or mailing of a credit card to a vulnerable consumer or senior citizen, in accordance with the provisions of section 3 of P.L.††† , c.†††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), in cases when such credit card is approved at a point of sale; or

†††† b.† the solicitation of a vulnerable consumer or senior citizen, or the granting or mailing of a credit card to a vulnerable consumer or senior citizen, in accordance with the provisions of section 3 of P.L.    , c.     (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), in cases where such solicitation, granting, or mailing is solely related to the renewal of a previously existing credit card issued in that vulnerable consumerís or senior citizenís name.

 

†††† 7.† A violation of any provision of P.L.††† , c.†††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be an unlawful practice subject to the penalties pursuant to P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.), except that a credit card company may not be held liable for violating P.L.††† , c.†††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) if:

†††† a.† the credit card company has obtained a copy of, and updated quarterly, the do-not-solicit list and has established and implemented written policies and procedures related to the requirements of P.L.††† , c.†††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

†††† b.† the credit card company has trained its personnel, or telemarketers in the company's employ,† in the requirements of P.L.   , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

†††† c.† the credit card company maintains records demonstrating compliance with subsections a. and b. of this section and the requirements of P.L.††† , c.††† (C. ††††) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);† and

†††† d.† any subsequent unsolicited credit card marketing is the result of a bona fide error.

 

†††† 8.† This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month following enactment, but the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs may take such anticipatory administrative actions in advance of that date as may be necessary for the timely implementation of this act upon its effective date.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill requires the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety to establish and maintain a credit card do-not-solicit list containing the names of mentally ill individuals and senior citizens in this State who are not to be solicited for credit cards.† The bill defines:

C†††† mental illness as "current, substantial disturbance of thought, mood, perception or orientation which significantly impairs judgment, capacity to control behavior or capacity to recognize reality;" and

C†††† a vulnerable consumer as "an individual with a mental illness who, regardless of age, is a dependent of, or in the custody of, a parent or legal guardian, or an individual whose mental illness may be established by a physician's verification submitted to the division by a family member."

†††† The bill authorizes the division to contract with a private vendor to establish and maintain the do-not-solicit list, provided the contract requires the vendor to provide the list in a printed hard copy format, and in any other format as prescribed by the division.

†††† Under the bill, credit card companies may not:

C†††† solicit registered vulnerable consumers or senior citizens by mail, telephone or electronic mail;

C†††† grant a credit card in the name of the registered consumer; or

C†††† mail to the registered consumer a fully functional credit card.

†††† The bill also specifies that no registered vulnerable consumer or senior citizen shall be liable for any amount resulting from the use of an unsolicited credit card.† The bill also exempts credit cards granted at point of sale or as renewals from its provisions.

†††† Under the bill, the division is required to notify the public of the establishment of the do-not-solicit list.† The bill specifies that a family member or agent who would like to submit the name of a vulnerable consumer or senior citizen to the list must notify the division through a toll-free telephone number provided by the division, or other manner prescribed by the division provided that the family member or agent certifies, under penalty of perjury, to the truth of the facts provided.† To remove a senior citizen or vulnerable consumer, the agent or family member is required to submit a written request.

†††† Although the bill specifies that any violation of its provisions is an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act, P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.), it states that a credit card company could not be held liable if it was operating in compliance with the requirements of the bill and any unsolicited credit card marketing was the result of a bona fide error.† 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, violations 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.