CCSNJ Opposition to A802
TO: Members of the New Jersey General Assembly
FROM: Hilary Chebra, Manager, Government Affairs, CCSNJ
RE: A-802 (Verrelli / Reynolds-Jackson / Murphy)
DATE: March 1, 2021
The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey would like to share our opposition to A-802 (Verrelli / Reynolds-Jackson / Murphy), which requires certain retailers to train employees on gift card fraud.
As written, the bill requires that every mercantile establishment in the State that displays gift cards for sale to train employees on how to identify and respond to gift card fraud. A retail mercantile establishment that does not train employees as required by the bill will be subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $1,000.
Although well-intended, the bill attempts to legislate something that is a “best practice” among many retailers, adding another unnecessary and overreaching mandate on the backs of certain employers. Retailers are themselves are incentivized to reduce fraud of all kinds, including with respect to gift cards. Holding retailers responsible for fraud through a penalty is punishing the victim, not the perpetrator. The legislature would be better served supporting enforcement activities and helping retailers manage fraud and retail theft.
The definition of “gift card fraud” is ambiguous and not defined in the language of the bill. The bill also leaves into question how much or what training would be adequate. The required civil penalty of $1,000 is burdensome for businesses, many of whom are still struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic. The CCSNJ argues that such a penalty should only be imposed for frequent offenders and should be an “up to” amount.
The CCSNJ urges the Legislature, instead of adding new mandates on businesses, to support enforcement activities and help retailers manage fraud and retail theft. For these reasons, as well as the lack of clarity in the bill as currently written, and the high penalty, we respectfully urge you to oppose A-802 (Verrelli / Reynolds-Jackson / Murphy).