N.J. considers limiting stores’ use of customer’s personal information

New Jersey Assembly’s Consumer Affairs Committee holds a hearing on legislation that would stop retailers from scanning a customer's driver's license during the return of merchandise. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Assembly’s Consumer Affairs Committee holds a hearing on legislation that would stop retailers from scanning a customer's driver's license during the return of merchandise. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey lawmakers are considering banning merchandise return policies that require scanning a consumer’s driver’s license.

 

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association president John Holub said the legislation could jeopardize liberal policies at stores that offer extended return periods.

“That you would have a very small window — ‘no receipt, no return’ kind of policies would return,” Holub said during a hearing before the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

Privacy issues outweigh those concerns, countered committee Chairman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester,

“If they don’t have a reasonable return policy, a lot of people will go shopping elsewhere,” he said. “So the marketplace will dictate that — and not whether they can scan that information and share it with other retailers around the country and around the world.”

Moriarty said limiting a merchant’s access to personal information can help prevent identity theft.

“They’re basically trying to find people that are serial returners, that are stealing goods and then returning them as if they bought them,” he said. “I understand their need, but I also understand the need for people to keep their information private and secure.”

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