Pou Bill to Protect Consumers From Unnecessary Fees Passes Committee

Pou

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chair Nellie Pou which would prohibit consumer reporting agencies from charging certain fees related to security freezes on consumer reports passed the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday.

“Freezing a consumers credit file can help protect it from thieves or hackers.  But charging people a fee to unlock it is wrong and should be unlawful,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic).  “This bill will be a win for the consumer, especially in light of the recent security issues at some of the major credit reporting bureaus.”

The bill, S-2786, would amend the New Jersey “Identity Theft Prevention Act” to prohibit a consumer reporting agency from charging a consumer any fee to remove or temporarily lift a security freeze on that consumer’s consumer report.

Current law prohibits consumer reporting agencies from charging fees to place a security freeze on a consumer’s consumer report, but allows a reasonable fee, not to exceed five dollars, to be charged to a consumer who elects to remove or temporarily lift a security freeze on that consumer’s consumer report or if the consumer fails to retain the original personal identification number provided by the consumer reporting agency and must be reissued the same or a new personal identification number. The bill would remove the provisions allowing a fee to be charged in these situations.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.