New Jersey residents tired of being pestered by companies seeking to issue them credit cards may soon be able to block such solicitations.
The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee recently released a bill which would create a "Do-Not-Solicit" list that residents could sign up for, similar to the "Do-Not-Call" lists that bar most telemarketers from calling them. It will now be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, but that panel has not scheduled a hearing date.
Under the proposal, credit card companies would be prohibited from soliciting registered individuals by mail, e-mail or telephone. They also could not issue a credit card in the name of a person on the do-not-solicit list.
Violators would be prosecuted under the state's Consumer Fraud Act and could face fines of up to $10,000 for a first offense. Registered consumers also would not be held liable for any debt resulting from the use of an unsolicited card.
Proponents say the measure would protect consumers — especially the elderly and mentally ill — from what they describe as "predatory" credit card solicitations.
"Some credit card companies have found it easy to prey upon consumers who just can't say 'no,' and who eventually end up facing a mountain of debt," said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Princeton, one of the bill's primary sponsors along with Linda Greenstein, D-Hamilton, and Nelson Albano, D-Cape May Court House. It also has nearly 30 co-sponsors.
"We must stop the unending barrage of solicitations being dumped on individuals who may not have the ability to completely understand the consequences of unchecked credit card debt," said Greenstein, who helped craft the state's "Do-Not-Call" telemarketing law.
Similar legislation was introduced earlier this year in the Senate, where it was being considered by the Commerce Committee. Primary sponsors in the Senate are Democrats Brian Stack of Union City and Nicholas Sacco of Union City.
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