On October 27, Governor Christie signed into law A617, which would “Prohibit sending unsolicited advertising by text messaging, and requires companies offering text messaging services to allow customers to block all incoming and outgoing text messages.” This legislation, which Christie had previously conditionally vetoed after listening to NJCJI’s concerns, contains language that prevents this new regulation from becoming a breeding ground for litigation.
When A617 was originally passed by the Legislature, it contained language placing it within the State’s Consumer Fraud Act, with its mandatory treble damages and fee-shifting provisions.
In his veto message, Gov. Christie removed the legislation from the State’s Consumer Fraud Act and instead provided a simple statuary penalty for individuals and businesses who violate the law.
The Legislature voted to adopt Christie’s suggested language, which prevents the creation of a litigation industry around this bill.
Thanks to Governor Christie and the Legislature for doing the right thing with this new law. As enacted, it will protect consumers while not enabling a litigation industry to emerge around it.
If you have questions about why it is bad policy to use the Consumer Fraud Act as an enforcement mechanism, please check out our webpage on this topic.