NEWARK – The Office of the Attorney General through its Division of Consumer Affairs has filed suit against a Rhode Island company that allegedly sold yo-yo waterballs to New Jersey consumers despite a state law banning sale of the toys.
The state alleges that Rhode Island Novelty, Inc. (“RINCO”) sold yo-yo waterballs through its web site and catalogues to New Jersey consumers – including schools and a library through September 2008.
“New Jersey consumers had to provide their state location when buying yo-yo waterballs from this company,” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director. “There is no excuse for allowing banned yo-yo waterballs to be sold in New Jersey.”
The Yo-Yo Waterballs Act took effect on April 1, 2008.
Yo-yo waterballs are inexpensive yo-yo toys that contain a rubber ball filled with liquid attached to a rubber cord. The cord has a finger loop on its end and can be stretched about three feet when swung. In some instances, the stretched cord has wrapped around the throats of children, causing choking and/or strangulation.
The state’s three-count complaint, filed last week in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Hudson County, alleges that the defendant violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act, Advertising Regulations and Yo-Yo Waterballs Act. The allegations include:
• Advertising, selling and/or offering for sale yo-yo waterballs to consumers in New Jersey through the RINCO website when the sale and offer for sale of such merchandise is illegal;
• Advertising, selling and/or offering for sale yo-yo waterballs to consumers in New Jersey through RINCO direct mail catalogs when the sale and offer for sale of such merchandise is illegal;
• Selling and/or offering for sale yo-yo waterballs to consumers in New Jersey through RINCO’s toll-free telephone number when the sale and offer for sale of such merchandise is illegal; and
• Advertising yo-yo waterballs through the RINCO website and RINCO direct mail catalogs in such as manner as to lead consumers to believe that the offer for sale and sale of yo-yo waterballs in New Jersey is legal.
In June 2009, the state filed suit against an Indiana-based company for similar violations.
Those found selling or offering to sell yo-yo waterballs face an initial civil penalty of up to $10,000 and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations.
Anyone who sees yo-yo waterballs offered for sale in New Jersey can contact the state Division of Consumer Affairs online at www.nj.gov/oag/ca/ocp/ocpform.htm or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within N.J.) or 1-973-504-6200. Deputy Attorney General Jah-Juin Ho of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section is representing the state in this action.
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