The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee advanced two measures today aimed at protecting New Jersey consumers from deceptive charges.

With a 5-0 vote in favor of passage, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Nelson Albano, Ruben Ramos and Valerie Vainieri Huttle would make it illegal to mail unsolicited checks that once cashed, enrolls the consumer into costly programs.

“These so-called free money offers are at their best deceptive and, at their worst, downright dishonest,” Moriarty said. “Right now, consumers are at their most vulnerable to fall for a scheme that appears to offer them instant cash but would end up costing them much more in the long-run.”

Also approved today was a consumer protection measure sponsored by Moriarty and fellow Democratic Assemblyman Dan Benson. The bill prohibits automatic renewal of service contracts on one's home or other physical property without proper notification.

Benson explained, “In an era of paperless billing and automatic charges to credit cards or bank accounts, consumers often get perpetually roped into extended and costly contracts. By requiring these terms to be clearly displayed and advance notice before renewal, this bill will give consumers the opportunity to make more informed choices for themselves.”