You may have heard that AARP is working with a large coalition of organizations in the state to oppose a bill that has already made its way through the Assembly and could come up for vote again in the Senate in the coming weeks.
This is a potentially dangerous bill. If passed, S-2664 will give telephone service providers the freedom to increase basic service charges and could even force consumers to buy expensive service packages or “bundles”.
If the Senate passes the bill, it will undermine consumer protections by removing the regulatory authority of the Board of Public Utilities. Your ability to contest poor quality of service, in addition to unexplained charges or cost increases, will be greatly impacted.
There is another way this bill could have a negative effect on consumers.
Are you one of the many older residents in New Jersey who uses a landline telephone instead of a cell phone? Imagine if your telephone service were interrupted and you could not make a call. Many of our neighbors and friends rely heavily, even solely, on their landline for emergencies and for keeping in touch with loved ones.
Do you use a medical alert system? Most medical alert devices work through those same landlines because the service is more reliable. If S-2664 passes, companies will no longer be required to maintain landline service. This could mean that the quality of your medical alert system would be jeopardized. The consequences could be downright frightening.
You can play an important role right now by contacting your local Senator and telling them you oppose S-2664. AARP has set up a special hotline just for this purpose. When you call this number you will be connected with your Senator’s office. Please call 1-800-844-2272 today.