Major retailers, including Apple, Bed Bath & Beyond, Burlington Stores, Public Storage, and Toys R Us, are recent targets of a new trend in consumer class actions alleging violations of the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA), N.J.S.A. 56:12-14. The law applies to ANY retailers marketing to and selling products to New Jersey residents. The TCCWNA prohibits retailers from including in consumer contracts with residents any provisions that are legally invalid or unenforceable under New Jersey law.
The New Jersey Supreme Court held in 2013 that the TCCWNA extends to terms and conditions on commercial websites. As a result, plaintiffs have specifically targeted retailers’ website terms and conditions and disclaimers, including any exculpatory, indemnification, choice of law, severability, or limitation of liability provisions which may not be enforceable in New Jersey.
ANY retailer conducting business in New Jersey or reaching out to consumers in the state must be aware of the TCCWNA’s requirements. Retailers should immediately review their own terms and conditions and check for any overly broad provisions that fail to specify which provisions are void in New Jersey. Retailers may be exposed to extensive liability if found to violate the statute, because it applies to “prospective” customers, not just actual consumers, and provides for damages of $100 per customer as well as attorney’s fees and costs.