Far too many consumers in New Jersey are taken advantage of by dishonest sellers. Some of these deceptive business practices include high-pressure sales tactics, lies about the quality of a product or service in order to induce a purchase, improper billing for a product or service, and a bait-and-switch tactic that involves intentionally trying to deceive customers by using “fine print” in an advertisement.
An unscrupulous seller might tell himself he’s merely “massaging the truth” or “telling a white lie.” The reality is you’ve been misled and you understandably feel exploited and cheated. Victims of consumer fraud deserve to be compensated. The experienced NJ consumer protection attorneys at Posternock Apell, PC can help you obtain justice and secure financial reparations.
How strong are the protections afforded by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act?
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is one of the strongest consumer protection laws in the country. It prohibits the “use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception or fraud, false pretense, false promise or misrepresentation, or the knowing concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact with the intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate.” This means the law protects consumers and regulates the manner in which a seller may conduct business.
There are three bases for liability under the NJ Consumer Fraud Act:
A merchant makes an affirmative act or misrepresentation. In the case of an affirmative misrepresentation, knowledge or intent to defraud is not necessary to incur liability. Even unintentional, negligent misrepresentations can constitute consumer fraud.
Knowing omission or concealment:
A merchant intentionally fails to disclose a material fact. In cases of omission or failure to disclose, the merchant must have acted with knowledge or had intent to deceive.
Violation of the law:
A merchant violates a specific-situation statute or an administrative regulation. The Consumer Fraud Act includes roughly 40 specific-situation topics, such as Internet dating services, delivery of household furniture, home appliance servicing and repair, automobile sales practices, and the sale of health club services.
The NJ law against consumer fraud applies in a variety of situations, including:
Home improvement fraud committed by home improvement contractors
Insurance fraud committed by insurance company agents
Fraud perpetrated by financial advisors
Defective product sales by retail store operators
Improper retail store refund policies
Auto fraud committed by car salesmen – including lemon law cases, failure to disclose prior accidents, fee padding, “spot delivery” of vehicles before obtaining credit approval, and abusive financing plans
Automobile repair fraud – an auto repairman cannot make unauthorized repairs to your vehicle
Unfair debt collection practices
Deceptive Internet practices
Fraudulent funeral home practices
The penalties for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act are severe. They include treble damages (the liable party must pay three times the amount of damages) and compensation for attorney’s fees.
The Posternock Apell, PC team can protect your rights when dealing with home improvement contractors across New Jersey.
When you pay a contractor to do a job, you expect them to complete the job and to do it properly. If a contractor does a bad job, they may be in breach of contract. We have experience handling cases against unscrupulous home improvement contractors. For example, we’ve represented:
Owners of a 26-unit apartment house in Ocean City, NJ against both the public adjuster and the contractor because they improperly sought more than 50 percent of the available insurance money.
A woman who paid for, but never received, a backyard shed from a local business. (We recovered her entire balance plus all legal fees without going to court.)
A homeowner who sought improvements to her property in order to relocate her Parkinson’s-stricken husband’s bedroom but received such poor quality and delayed services that he was only able to spend a short time in the comfort of his new surroundings.
There are things you can do to protect yourself against home improvement contractors. In the event those protections fail, you deserve to be compensated. We will help.
Posternock Apell, PC fights Consumer Fraud in New Jersey.
If you believe you’ve been cheated by an unscrupulous seller or business, contact Posternock Apell, PC. Call us or you can simply fill-out our online contact form to arrange an in-person consultation in our Moorestown or Browns Mills office. One of our experienced consumer protection lawyers will be happy to speak with you about your South Jersey case and help you understand the potential remedies that are available.
If you have been seriously injured or are involved in a business dealing gone awry, construction project dispute, or consumer protection litigation, you can rely on our skilled litigators to fight for your rights and interests.