May 5, 2020
NJGCA May 5th
Coronavirus Shutdown Update
COVID-19 Financial, Security for Consumers Act UPDATE
One of the reasons we are sending more communications during this current Coronavirus crisis is because reactions to current events by government happen often and quickly. Yesterday we notified you of action in Trenton that could have huge impact on your business and finances. Now we need some feedback from our members to present to legislators.
The COVID-19 Financial, Security for Consumers Act will be heard in committee in the Senate and Assembly Thursday. This legislation will prevent creditors from attempting to collect ANY debt during the “covered period,” which lasts until December 1, 2020. The customer would only need to alert creditors that they suffered financial hardship during the pandemic, prohibiting creditors from even making a phone call to collect debts. Here are our concerns:
If you have customers that you give credit to, particularly for gasoline and diesel commercial accounts, it would be seven months before they would need to pay. All they have to do is inform you that they are having economic difficulties and you will be prohibited from even making a phone call to ask about payment.
This can also be a huge problem when your customer comes in with a vehicle in serious need of repairs that you extend credit to. You will be prohibited from even asking that customer for payment if they notify you that they are in economic distress. These are details we still need to learn about. If a customer comes in asking for repairs and then announces that they can't pay you after the fact, now it will be seven months before you can even call to request payment.
Update as of Last Night:
Late last night the Senate came up with amendments that we feel are acceptable. The Senate amendment version still leaves several sectors of the economy vulnerable, however, with the amended version the businesses represented by NJGCA will remain in the same status collecting debt from any customer that has always existed. Our concern remains that the Assembly has not amended their version and if passed, would put each of you who have extended credit to commercial accounts or private consumers at grave risk. It is very important that we receive some feedback from you. Please reply to this email if you have commercial accounts that you bill on a weekly or monthly basis for gasoline, diesel fuel, or repairs. Please give us an idea as to the amount of money you would have at risk without being able to collect if this bill passes. It is common in our industry for repair shops to extend credit to their customers that have serious problems with their cars and do not have the financial ability to pay the full amount. That is one of the great things about our members that is always overlooked, that they offer help to people who need such assistance. Our concern is this legislation, if passed in the Assembly version, will seriously harm our members that have tried to assist their customers. Further for our members who have extended this type of credit to other businesses with company vehicles for both fuel and repairs, this can be devastating. Historically there are many instances of retailers who have extended thousands of dollars in this type of credit to their house accounts and have actually been beaten out of their own funds since the profit margin on fuel is so slim. A customer that beats you out of $10,000 may have actually beaten you out of $9700 in your cost. This remains a serious concern and we will be testifying at both the Assembly and Senate committees on Thursday in an effort to kill this. Please email your feedback to Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can inform the committees just how much this will affect you. Identities are never revealed. We only need examples of real live evidence.
Final Framework Document For Reopening the State
NJGCA has been participating with other organizations weighing in to give suggestions to the business community how best to reopen our state. The governor has appointed a commission to formulate a statewide plan. Click HERE to see the letter that was sent to the commission and was signed by NJGCA as a participant in the coalition.