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Greenstein Bill To Protect Consumer’s Rebates And Refunds Approved By Commerce Committee

Legislation Will Revise Regulations on Manufacturer and Retailer Mail-In Rebates to Prevent Theft and Loss

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Linda R. Greenstein that would change regulations on mailed rebates to ensure consumers’ refunds are not lost in the mail or accidently thrown out at home was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee today.

“Often consumers make their purchasing decisions factoring in the money saved by rebates and refunds promised by the manufacturer or the retailer,” said Senator Greenstein, D-Middlesex and Mercer. “But some of these refunds are coming in innocuous packaging attached to postcards that look like junk mail. By simply requiring that these refunds come in an envelope, we can ensure that the consumers are receiving the rebates that they are expecting.”

The bill, S-1945, would require that all mailed manufacturer’s or retailer’s rebate refunds are enclosed in a sealed envelope rather than on a postcard that could easily be lost, stolen or confused as junk mail during delivery. Additionally, the bill would require that the rebate portion on the mailing is clearly marked to help the consumer avoid accidently throwing it away.

The bill would make a failure to enclose the rebate in a sealed envelope a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, punishable by $10,000 for the first offense and not more than $20,000 for the second and subsequent offenses.

The measure was approved in the Commerce Committee with a vote of 4-2. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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