Changes sought in NJ’s consumer protections

Business groups are urging New Jersey lawmakers to make some revisions in the state’s 50-year-old Consumer Protection Act.

Violations of the act now require courts to award three times the damages sustained by a consumer. A bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho, D-Sussex, would give judges discretion in determining the penalty.

Laurie Ehlbeck, president of the National Federation of Independent Business, said that change would be good for small businesses.

“Unfortunately, small-business owners find themselves often embroiled in baseless lawsuits,” he said. “This results in proprietors spending more time and money that they otherwise might be putting into the business or even hiring additional employees.”

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce said the state’s legal climate is chillier than other states, and the reforms could encourage more businesses to expand in the Garden State.

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