In this digital age, everyone is familiar with the “Terms & Conditions” screen that pops up on websites, usually when you create an account on a site or want to buy something like a collectible plastic figurine of a warrior elf from your favorite video game. And most people are probably familiar with the phenomenon that happens when these screens appear, wherein you read the first sentence, scroll to the bottom and blindly hit accept.
However, if you own a business in New Jersey or even operate an internet business out of New Jersey, you may want to take a second look at that Terms & Conditions page of your site. The reason is the Truth-in-Consumer Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA), which could be used against you even if you have a 100% approval rating and no customer complaints.
How a New Jersey Law Could Mean Problems for Your Website
If you own a business in New Jersey, you are probably familiar with the NJ Consumer Fraud Act, which protects customers from being intentionally misled when they buy or lease something. If you say on your website that all warrior elf figurines are safe for children when they are in fact very dangerous for children of a certain age, you could be looking at a lawsuit for intentionally misleading the consumer.
However, under the TCCWNA, you could face a civil lawsuit even if you did not intentionally mislead anyone. This is because the TCCWNA forbids any contract that has any language whatsoever that violates New Jersey law. A recent case was brought against the website for Hoover vacuum cleaners because the Terms & Conditions included a phrase saying that Hoover was not liable for injuries caused by their products.
Of course, a business lawyer could help an injury victim to file a case regardless of the Terms & Conditions. But now, thanks to the TCCWNA, a lawsuit can be brought against your business just for having language like that on your site.
So, if you own a business in New Jersey, it is a good idea to look over any contractual language you have on your site, or have a qualified business attorney do so for you. This includes wording on any gift certificates you may issue, as well as warranty agreements and disclaimers. With recent lawsuits like the one facing Hoover, more people in your state are reading through those Terms & Conditions before they buy their collectible figurines, so make sure you are protecting yourself and your business.
Our AV rated business attorney has over 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of business owners in New Jersey.