A law going into effect in New Jersey on New Year’s Day is intended to end a deceptive sales practice.
The law makes it illegal to send residents unsolicited checks that enroll them in a service or plan when they sign and cash them.
Often those details are only spelled out in the fine print.
Some people who got the mailings didn’t realize by cashing the check they’re committing to making monthly payments, said Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Atlantic.
“They’re in a rush. People are very busy. They sign the check, they deposit it, next thing you know they’re involved in a whole scam,” he said. “That’s something that’s wrong, and we should stop it.”
The new law calls for a $500 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for every subsequent violation, according to Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester.
“I think the fines should be larger and they would be a more of a deterrent, but at least it’s something,” he said. “I think if people are on the lookout and report it, we will end this in the state of New Jersey.”
Awareness of the new law may have already reduced the problem because there have been fewer complaints about those mailings, Moriarty said.