Murphy signs bill package targeting predatory financial practices

Matthew Fazelpoor//August 8, 2022

Murphy signs bill package targeting predatory financial practices

Matthew Fazelpoor//August 8, 2022

On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a package of bills aimed at protecting New Jersey consumers from predatory financial practices.

The signed legislation includes:

  • Senate Bill 891/Assembly Bill 1557 – Prohibits tax preparers from engaging in certain practices involving refund anticipation checks and loans.
    Sponsored by: Senate President Nick Scutari, D-22nd District; Sen. Nellie Pou, D-35th District; Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-4th District; Assemblyman Sterley Stanley, D-18th District; and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, D-33rd District.
  • Senate Bill 902/Assembly Bill 1559 – Imposes certain consumer protection requirements on service contract providers.
    Sponsored by: Pou, Moriarty, Stanley and Assemblyman Daniel Benson, D-14th District.
  • Assembly Bill 1556/Senate Bill 901 – Updates notice requirements for actions alleging consumer fraud violations and adds indirect purchasers as parties who can receive damages for antitrust violations.
    Sponsored by: Moriarty, Stanley, Mukherji and Pou.
Gov. Phil Murphy

“New Jersey consumers are the heartbeat of our state’s economy, and it is imperative that we protect them from those who are looking to target their finances,” said Murphy. “These bills will set new standards for financial service providers to abide by, giving our consumers the protection they need from certain deceptive actors. Our communities of color will particularly benefit from this package of bills as they have experienced these unethical financial practices at a higher rate than others.”

“These laws provide us more legal tools to hold accountable those who seek to take advantage of consumers in our state,” said acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin. “And make no mistake, we will hold you accountable under the law.”

“The protections signed into law today expand and strengthen the ability of the Division of Consumer Affairs to pursue action against those who violate the rights of consumers through unscrupulous business practices, deceptive service contracts, and predatory tax refund programs,” said Cari Fais, acting director of the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs.

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Officials say the new laws will protect consumers from exploitative practices associated with tax preparation and refund services and service contracts by prohibiting misleading marketing and requiring clearer disclosures, as well as financial assurances for service contract providers. They also say the legislation includes measure that will toughen New Jersey’s antitrust laws.

“Getting money sooner sounds good at the surface, but it is almost always comes with a catch,” said Scutari. “This legislation will prevent tax filing services from deceiving residents and taking out of the pockets of people who need it the most.”

“Consumer protections benefit all New Jerseyans,” said Benson and Stanley. “No one should be taken advantage of when going to get their taxes prepared or simply acquiring a service contract for their home. We must hold businesses accountable and ensure New Jersey residents are confident in carrying out their day-to-day purchases.”