Bill Giving Consumers On-The-Spot Store Rebates Advancing Toward Law

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Assemblyman John Wisniewski

TRENTON – Legislation to require retailers to charge consumers an advertised after-rebate price – rather than making buyers send in coupons or log on to manufacturer’s Web sites to claim their savings – has been released the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

“Research show that about 40 percent of manufacturer rebates are never redeemed, costing consumers more than $2 billion annually,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “This bill doesn’t prevent rebates from being offered, but simply brings more truth in advertising, which is always a good thing.”

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Under the legislation (A-1692), retailers that advertise a product’s “net price” – the price after a manufacturer’s rebate is applied – would be required to charge that price at the time of sale.  It then would be a retailer’s responsibility to complete the rebate redemption process.

New Jersey would become the third state to enforce such a consumer protection if the bill were to become law, following Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Violations of the measure would be punishable under the state’s consumer fraud act, with fines of up to $10,000 for a first offense.  Repeat offenses could be punished by up to $20,000 in fines, as well as injunctive relief, triple damages, and restitution.

The measure was released on Thursday and now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.


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