If you go shopping this Black Friday be sure to keep your receipts! You never know when you will need to return something are going to hit the receipt jackpot!
New Jersey law prohibits retailers from printing certain information on sales receipts:
56:11-42 Electronic printing of credit card numbers on sales receipts, regulated.
1. No retail sales establishment shall print electronically more than the last five digits of a customer’s credit card account number or the expiration date of that credit card upon any sales receipt provided at the point of sale to the customer, except that the provisions of this section shall not apply to any sales receipt in which the sole means of recording the customer’s credit card number is by handwriting or by an imprint or copy of the credit card.
Although the law does not say that consumers may sue the business who printed a receipt with prohibited information on it (you can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs which can result in the business being fined), crafty lawyers have figured out how to bootstrap improper receipt claims onto the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act (TCCWNA), which does allow for lawsuits.
Earlier this year, one of these types of lawsuits was filed against Bottle King as a class action. No consumers were harmed, but the company quickly settled the lawsuit against it in addition to changing its receipts.
Like the receipt law, many of the consumer protection bills working their way through the legislature do not themselves contain a private right of action. However, as this case demonstrates, plaintiffs’ attorneys are having some success aggregating technical violation claims and bootstrapping them on to the state’s Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) and the TCCWNA in order to cash in on the mandatory fines and attorney fee awards those laws allow. The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute is committed to exposing these cases and educating lawmakers and the judiciary on their negative impact.