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  • NJ A758
  • Revises penalty provision of law concerning prohibition of certain unsolicited text messages.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill changes the penalties for a violation of the law prohibiting certain unsolicited text messages, enacted as Assembly Bill No. 617 of 2014. Under this law, no person may send an unsolicited advertisement via text message to a communication device capable of receiving text messages if the recipient of the message may incur a telecommunications charge or a usage allocation deduction as a result of the message being sent. The law further prohibits the sending of unsolicited advertising via text message without first obtaining the permission of the recipient. A person violating these provisions is subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $500 for a first violation and $1,000 for any subsequent violation. This bill revises the penalty provision to make first and second violations subject to civil penalties of up to $500 and $1,000, respectively, and to provide that any subsequent violation is an unlawful practice under the consumer fraud act (CFA), P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.). The bill specifies that a third violation would be considered a first offense under the CFA, with a fourth or additional violation considered a subsequent offense under the CFA. An unlawful practice under the CFA is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense. Additionally, violations may result in cease and desist orders issued by the Attorney General, the assessment of punitive damages, and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured party. As introduced and passed by both chambers of the Legislature, Assembly Bill No. 617 of 2014 supplemented the CFA and violations of its provisions were unlawful practices under the CFA. Subsequently, Assembly Bill No. 617 was conditionally vetoed by the Governor. In the recommendations for reconsideration, the Governor proposed removing the bill's provisions from the CFA, and the penalties set forth thereunder. This bill is a compromise, by creating a two-tiered penalty structure. This bill intends to provide balance by establishing civil penalties for first and second violations and requiring the enhanced penalties of the CFA for subsequent violations.
Not specified
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified