Should Coupons be Considered “Property” Under New Jersey Consumer Contract Law?

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Should Coupons be Considered “Property” Under New Jersey Consumer Contract Law?

by Robert Levy

The New Jersey Supreme Court is considering an interesting legal issue at the request of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—whether discount restaurant gift certificates qualify as “property” under the state’s consumer contract law. Given the growing popularity of websites that offer discounted coupons and gift certificates for goods and services, the court’s decision could have a significant impact on New Jersey businesses.

The case, Shelton v. Restaurant.com, involves discounted restaurant coupons that purport to expire within one year, less than the two years required under the New Jersey Gift Card Act. In June 2010, U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano dismissed the case, finding the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warrant, and Notice Act (TCCWNA) did not apply because the plaintiffs are not consumers under the law and the coupons are not consumer contracts.

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