As Independence Day approaches, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs offer this reminder to New Jersey’s consumers:
Under New Jersey’s Fireworks Regulation Law, N.J.S.A. 21:2-1 et seq., it is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, possess, or use fireworks anywhere in the State without a valid permit, issued by a municipality for a public fireworks display.
A valid permit must “name one person who shall be authorized to purchase, or otherwise order, and receive delivery of any fireworks. After such permit shall have been granted, sales, possession, and use of fireworks for such display shall be lawful for that purpose only.”
Any person who sells, offers or exposes for sale, or possesses with intent to sell any fireworks is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. Any person who purchases, uses, discharges, causes to be discharged, ignites, fires, or otherwise sets in action, or possesses any fireworks without the required permit is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.
“Fireworks displays are a fun and potentially awe-inspiring part of the way Americans celebrate Independence Day and enjoy the summer. But they must be enjoyed responsibly and legally,” Eric T. Kanefsky, Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said.
In its most recent Fireworks Annual Report, the Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that 60 percent of all fireworks injuries occurred within the 30 days surrounding the Fourth of July holiday. More than half involved burns to the hands, head, and face. More than 5,000 consumers were treated in hospital emergency rooms due to fireworks-related injuries between June 22 and July 22, 2012.
In 2007, four Pennsylvania-based fireworks companies agreed to revise their business practices when advertising and selling to New Jersey customers, after being sued by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. The companies’ advertisements, websites, mailed circulars and in-store signage must contain the following warning: “New Jersey law prohibits the transportation, sale, possession or use of fireworks in New Jersey without a valid permit.”
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.