Attorney General Porrino and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Reaches Settlement with Spring Communications to Resolve Merchandise Pricing Allegations
released on October 12, 2017
found in newsletter: October 2017
NEWARK – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that a company selling cell phones and accessories with numerous retail locations in New Jersey has agreed to a $60,000 settlement to resolve allegations that the company violated the state’s consumer protections laws concerning merchandise pricing and refund policies.
The Division alleged that Spring Communications failed to post the selling price for more than 1,000 merchandise items in 24 of its stores throughout the state. In addition, the Division alleged that the company failed to post its refund policy in eight stores. Failing to post selling prices is a violation of the Merchandise Pricing Statute within the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and failing to post refund policies is a violation of the Refund Policy Disclosure Act.
Among the types of merchandise Spring Communications sells are car chargers, cell phone cases, car dash ports, earbuds, selfie sticks and USB cables.
“When prices are not clearly posted on or near merchandise offered for sale, consumers cannot make informed decisions,” Attorney General Porrino said. “We will continue to enforce consumer protection laws to make sure that customers are not in the dark when making important buying choices.”
“The importance of displaying merchandise pricing and posting refund policies cannot be understated,” said Sharon M. Joyce, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “The Division will continue to take action against any retailer that fails to comply with these important consumer laws.”
Investigators from the Division’s Office of Consumer Protection visited the Spring Communications stores in March 2016. A verified complaint and summary action was filed on June 15, 2017, in the Superior Court Chancery Division in Essex County. The settlement is memorialized in a Final Consent Judgment which was filed on September 26, 2017.
Spring Communications entered into the settlement without admitting any liability. In addition to the $60,000 payment, Spring Communications also agreed to not engage in any unfair or deceptive acts or practices, to not sell, attempt to sell or offer for sale merchandise without the total selling price being plainly marked by a stamp, tag, label or sign affixed to the merchandise or at the point where the merchandise is offered for sale, and to conspicuously post its refund policy in at least one of four required locations in its stores.
Deputy Attorney General Cathleen O’Donnell in the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section of the Division of Law represented the state in this action.
Kevin H. Marino of Marino, Tortorella & Boyle, P.C., represented Spring Communications.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.
Original Press Release