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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information:

June 26, 2006

Office of The Attorney General
- Zulima V. Farber, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
- Kimberly Ricketts, Director


Kara Wood


State Files Lawsuits Against Companies for
Illegal Advertisement and Sale of Fireworks

NEWARK - The Attorney General’s Office and the Division of Consumer Affairs have filed lawsuits against four Pennsylvania-based companies and one Virginia-based corporation for advertising and/or selling fireworks for use in New Jersey, Attorney General Zulima V. Farber and Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts announced today.

“These companies misled New Jersey citizens into believing that they could legally transport, possess and display fireworks in New Jersey. By doing so, these companies not only subjected our citizens to potential criminal prosecution but also jeopardized their health and safety,” Attorney General Farber said.

The State’s Complaints, filed in Superior Court in Mercer County, allege that Pennsylvania-based Keystone Fireworks, Phantom Fireworks, Spartan Fireworks and Sky King Fireworks, and Virginia-based Discount Fireworks, have committed multiple violations of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and the General Advertising Regulations. The Fireworks Regulation Law provides that it is unlawful for any person to offer for sale, sell, possess or use fireworks in New Jersey without a valid permit.

The State began its investigation earlier this month and, as part of the investigation, the Division of Consumer Affairs, with assistance from the New Jersey State Police, made an undercover purchase of fireworks from Discount Fireworks. The fireworks purchased, at a total price of $503.90, included assortment packages, namely “American Hawk” and “Armageddon,” as well as the “Goliath” Artillery Shell package. Discount Fireworks arranged for the delivery of the fireworks to a New Jersey location on June 20th.

The alleged violations of the Consumer Fraud Act include the following unconscionable commercial practices:

  • Offering fireworks for sale to New Jersey consumers;
  • Marketing fireworks for sale to New Jersey consumers through their websites, direct mail brochures and/or outdoor billboards;
  • Accepting telephone orders for fireworks from New Jersey consumers;
  • Shipping fireworks to consumers in New Jersey; and
  • Failing to provide any disclaimer to consumers on their websites or otherwise stating that it is illegal for New Jersey consumers to transport, possess and/or display fireworks in New Jersey without a permit.

Additionally, the State alleges that the companies violated the General Advertising Regulations by providing maps and driving directions on their websites from various points in New Jersey to their retail locations in Pennsylvania. Their websites also include “Safety Tips for Shooting Fireworks,” which state, “Follow your local and state laws regarding possession and use of fireworks” without including any specific information as to New Jersey law.

The State also alleges that two of the companies, Sky King Fireworks and Phantom Fireworks, advertise in New Jersey on outdoor billboards which were maintained by Steen Industries and CBS Outdoor. The State alleges that in so doing, the two billboard companies also violated the CFA and Advertising Regulations.

As part of the initial filings, the State is seeking to enjoin the companies from selling or offering fireworks for sale to New Jersey consumers for transport, possession and/or use in New Jersey, and marketing fireworks for sale to New Jersey consumers by direct mailings, outdoor billboards or other solicitations. The State is also seeking the removal of the existing billboards.

“Because safety is our number one concern during Fourth of July celebrations, we encourage New Jersey residents to attend community fireworks displays that are handled by professionals with the appropriate permit,” Consumer Affairs Director Ricketts said.

In each Complaint, the State is ultimately seeking the maximum statutory civil penalties for each violation of the CFA and Advertising Regulations, which is up to $10,000 for the first violation and up to $20,000 for each subsequent violation.

Deputy Attorneys General Cathleen O’Donnell and Lorraine K. Rak are representing the State in these actions.

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