News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance
Commissioner Holly C. Bakke

For Immediate Release: December 3, 2004

For Further Information:: Mary Cozzolino - (609) 292-5064

Commissioner Urges Holiday Shoppers to Protect Their Hard-Earned Dollars

TRENTON – As we enter this year’s holiday season, Banking and Insurance Commissioner Holly C. Bakke urges shoppers to protect their shopping funds by watching for fraud and scams. Commissioner Bakke today announced plans for the Department to provide consumers with the information they need to protect themselves by tracking consumer complaints as outlined in New Jersey’s Consumer Credit Bill of Rights.

“These days, it has become more clear that credit plays a role in almost all aspects of a consumer’s life,” Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said. “Not only are we providing consumers with the tools and information they need to protect their financial investments, New Jersey has become a national leader in offering consumers the best protections and safeguards in the financial marketplace.”

Typically, complaints alleging problems with credit under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act have only been filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This left the state with little or no information as to whether state-regulated companies are behaving responsibly with the use of consumer credit information. The Department is seeking to correct this by providing consumers the ability to file credit-related complaints directly with the state. Once filed, these complaints will be reviewed by the Department and, when appropriate, forwarded to the FTC. Logging a complaint with the Department will help track potential patterns of consumer abuse and will maintain the state as a “watchdog” for all New Jersey consumers.

Consumers who need information on credit or who have credit complaints relating to an insurance company, real estate licensee, or financial institution, such as a bank or mortgage company, can access the Consumer Credit Bill of Rights at the Department’s web site.

“The Department’s goal is to protect consumers by ensuring that every company operating within our jurisdiction is behaving responsibly with respect to the use of personal credit information,” Commissioner Bakke said.