Law Office Of Paul DePetris
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New Jersey Consumer Fraud Affirmative Acts

Read below to learn more about this topic.

Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation about what the Law Office of Paul DePetris might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris at paul@newjerseylemon.com.

The information in this article is only for New Jersey Law Division, Civil Part cases and not for other New Jersey court cases, such as those in New Jersey Special Civil Court, New Jersey Small Claims Court or New Jersey Chancery Court!!! Do not use this article if you have a New Jersey Special Civil Court, New Jersey Small Claims Court or New Jersey Chancery Court case!!! Also, no website is a substitute for competent advice from a New Jersey lawyer!

Warning – this article does not necessarily include each and every New Jersey court rule that may apply to your New Jersey case! The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions of the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not been amended, repealed or superseded by other federal or state law. The New Jersey Statutes, United States Statutes, New Jersey Administrative Code and Federal Code in this database are not annotated. Accordingly, this database may include laws that: (1) never became operable due to unmet conditions; (2) expired; (3) were repealed or amended; (4) were declared void by a court of law; (5) or are otherwise invalid. Further, effective dates of the laws are not necessarily included in the database. Accordingly, you should not rely upon the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website contained in this database for any purpose and before taking any legal measures, you instead should read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney for any changes in the laws. Be certain to cross reference all applicable rules before preparing, filing or serving any papers!!! For example, Special Civil Part Rules often cross reference other rules – rules that apply to Special Civil Part Cases as well as to other types of civil cases not being heard in Special Civil Part.

NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD AFFIRMATIVE ACT VIOLATIONS

WHAT IS AN “AFFIRMATIVE ACT” UNDER THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT?
Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, “affirmative act” is a term used to describe a particular type of violation of the law. New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act prohibits merchants from committing certain conduct. In this context, “affirmative act” means:

• something done voluntarily by a person;

• whether physical acts; or

• steps taken voluntarily by a person

• to advance a plan or design; or

• to accomplish a purpose.

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act prohibits merchants from committing the following types of affirmative acts in connection with the New Jersey sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate, or with the subsequent performance of a New Jersey contract:
• “Unconscionable commercial practice:”

o an activity in the public marketplace;

o that is basically unfair or unjust;

o that materially departs from standards of good faith, honesty in fact and fair dealing;

Factual dishonesty and unfair dealing are the telltale signs of unconscionable commercial practices.

• “Deception:”
o conduct or an advertisement;

o misleading to an average New Jersey consumer to the extent that it is capable of, and likely to, mislead an average New Jersey consumer.

The capacity to mislead is the telltale sign of deception. It does not matter if:

o at a later time, the conduct or advertisement was capable of explanation to a more knowledgeable and inquisitive New Jersey consumer; or

o the conduct or advertisement actually misled claimants ; or

o the New Jersey merchant acted in good faith.

• “Fraud:”
o a perversion of the truth; or

o a misstatement; or

o a falsehood;

o communicated to another person; and

o creating the possibility that that other person will be cheated.

• “False pretense:”
o an untruth;

o knowingly expressed by a wrongdoer.

• “False promise:”
o an untrue commitment or pledge;

o communicated to another person;

o to create the possibility that that other person will be misled.

• “Misrepresentation:”

o an untrue statement;

o made to deceive or mislead;

o made about a fact which is important or significant to the New Jersey sale/advertisement;

o communicated to another person ;

o to create the possibility that other person will be misled.

There are limits to the types of affirmative misrepresentations that support New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violations. For example, when the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act dispute involves an advertisement, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act does not apply to owners or publishers of newspapers, magazines, publications or printed matter wherein such advertisement appears or to the owner or operator of a radio or television station which disseminates such advertisement when they have no knowledge of the advertiser’s intent, design or purpose.

IF A NEW JERSEY MERCHANT COMMITS AN AFFIRMATIVE ACT, PROOF OF AN INTENT TO MISLEAD OR THAT THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER WAS MISLED IS UNNECESSARY TO PROVE A NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT VIOLATION
Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, liability for an affirmative act does not require:
• proof that the New Jersey merchant intent to commit a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
• proof that a New Jersey consumer was in fact misled or deceived by the New Jersey merchant’s affirmative act which violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
Where there is no proof that the New Jersey merchant committed actual fraud or deceit, it is the capacity to mislead that establishes a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation. To constitute a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the New Jersey merchant’s business practice must be misleading and beyond reasonable business practices and thereby victimize average New Jersey consumers.

WHAT TYPES OF CONDUCT ARE “UNCONSCIONABLE COMMERCIAL PRACTICES” UNDER THE NEW JERSERY NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT?
1. Intentionally changing an New Jersey car odometer.
2. Failing to sell a product as it is advertised
3. Failing to sell a product at its advertised price.
4. Sale of lifetime memberships when the New Jersey merchant knows that the longest contract that the New Jersey merchant has with any of its vendors is only 10 years long.
5. In the New Jersey sale of franchises mass marketed to the public, the failure to provide a franchisee with an Federal Trade Commission disclosure statement.
6. Charging rents higher than permitted under a rent control ordinance.
7. Charging New Jersey consumers who enter into a rent to own contract an interest rate above limits set by law.

WHAT TYPES OF CONDUCT ARE “UNCONSCIONABLE”, “DECEPTIVE” OR “FRAUDULENT” OR CONSTITUTE “FALSE PRETENSES”, “FALSE PROMISES” OR “MISREPRESENTATIONS”?
• charging an unreasonably high price that can’t be negotiated for merchandise that isn’t very valuable to the New Jersey consumer.
• giving “firm” prices for the completion of work and later billing over twice the amount of those “firm” prices.
• A New Jersey realtor’s describing an inexperienced builder with a history of poor workmanship as being known for his attention to detail and craftsmanship, having built hundreds of homes and being one of the best builders in New Jersey.

WHEN ARE STATEMENTS “AFFIRMATIVE MISREPRESENTATIONS” UNDER THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT?
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act applies to oral misrepresentations and written misrepresentations. However, not every incorrect statement will support a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation. To constitute an “affirmative misrepresentation” under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the statement must be:
• a statement of fact made when the parties formed their bargain;
• material to the transaction;
• made to induce the buyer to make the purchase; and
• found to be false.
But it is not always necessary that the New Jersey consumer receive the New Jersey Consumer Fraud misrepresentation to have a valid New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Claim. For example, what if the New Jersey Consumer Fraud misrepresentation is made to someone acting as the New Jersey consumer’s agent and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud misrepresentation deceived that agent into entering into a New Jersey contract with the New Jersey merchant?
A statement is material to the transaction if:
• the statement is made at the time a bargain is struck and not thereafter; and
• a reasonable person would attach importance to its existence in determining a choice of action; or
• the maker of the representation knows or has reason to know that its recipient regards or is likely to regard the matter as important in determining his choice of action, even though a reasonable person would not so regard it.
The statement must be made at the same time the bargain is formed -- otherwise, the statement isn’t made to induce a buyer to make a purchase. Where a New Jersey merchant makes statements to prospective purchasers to convince them to buy something, those statements may be sufficient to support a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation.
The following are examples of statements that may violate the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act:
• Advertisement for New Jersey consumer financial help services where the New Jersey merchant provided no meaningful assistance but instead charged New Jersey consumers approximately $200 just for referring the New Jersey consumers to a bankruptcy attorney, when the New Jersey consumers could receive such referrals for free from other services.

• An New Jersey car dealership’s using the term “dealer invoice” in an New Jersey car advertisement, when the term had no clear meaning to the average New Jersey consumer.

• Advertisement describing windows as “insulated aluminum windows” could be found misleading to the average New Jersey consumer when describing windows with insulated glass and uninsulated aluminum frames.

• Contact lenses advertisement failing to explain that additional professional services not included in the advertised price were required for most New Jersey consumers.

• A cell phone service provider’s advertisement that its wireless service was so reliable that "you
can make your wireless phone your only phone."

• A drugstore chain’s advertisement claiming "the lowest and best prices" on pharmaceuticals and a best-price guarantee to "meet or beat" its competitors' prescription prices, when the chain encouraged its pharmacists to charge more than the chain’s stated retail price to New Jersey consumers that were unlikely to challenge the prices.

• A New Jersey real estate agent’s claim that a property’s termite problem was “minimal” when in fact there was proof that the problem was severe.

• A New Jersey real estate broker’s misrepresentation about the neighborhood where a home for sale was located.

• A New Jersey real estate broker’s misrepresentation that a certificate of occupancy satisfied a city’s certificate of land use requirement for a multi-family property located in a single family zone.

• Representations by a distributorship seller that: (1) many of its distributors earned "this kind of money ($50,000) and more," while none of the New Jersey seller’s distributors ever achieved annual retail sales commissions above $50,000; and (2) distributors were "working far less hours than the average woman and earning far more" when in reality the New Jersey seller had no marketing experience or the independent study results to support the claim.

• A home health care service’s brochure claiming its "reliable employees" would "assist with washing, dressing and helping individuals as needed" and would "provide friendship [and] someone to talk to and be there" when the primary caregiver was unable to do so and that "[a]ll employees [were] supervised and a close relationship [was] maintained between [the] employees, clients, client's families, and [Live-In Companion's] administration."

WHAT KIND OF STATEMENTS FAIL TO SUPPORT NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT CLAIMS (PUFFERY)?
New Jersey Courts distinguish between mere puffery and misrepresentations violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. For example, the following statements did not support New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations:
• A boat seller’s claim that the boat was “good” when in fact the boat had undergone engine repairs before it was sold and without the New Jersey seller’s knowledge.
• “You're in good hands with Allstate."
• A pharmaceutical company’s advertisement for allergy medication stating that a person could “lead a normal nearly symptom-free life again.”
• a vehicle’s satellite navigation system failing to provide the claimant with directions that was advertised with the statement “if there's a road that goes there, the s-class can show you the way.”

DOES THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HAVE EXPERIENCE HANDLING NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT DISPUTES?
Yes. Paul DePetris has performed the following tasks:
• represented New Jersey consumers, home buyers, home sellers, home repair New Jersey consumers, home repair contractors, home inspectors, real estate brokers, real estate agents, junk yard dealers, New Jersey car purchasers and owners, new and used car dealers, banks and New Jersey car lenders, boat purchasers and owners, watercraft purchasers and owners and marinas in New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act disputes.
• appeared in court in cases involving New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act disputes.
• mediated, arbitrated and tried New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act cases.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR NEW JERSEY CASE?
Handling your New Jersey case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent New Jersey lawyer!
Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your New Jersey case. Not all New Jersey cases require you to pay expensive legal fees to get legal help.

WHY SHOULD NEW JERSEY PRO SE PLAINTIFFS AND NEW JERSEY PRO SE DEFENDANTS SEEK HELP FROM A NEW JERSEY LAWYER?
Handling your New Jersey case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent New Jersey lawyer!
Many New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants make the mistake of not consulting a New Jersey lawyer before filing New Jersey Court papers only to later learn that the New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants made serious mistakes that could cause them to lose their New Jersey case. Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your New Jersey case.

CAN I RELY ON NEW JERSEY COURT PERSONNEL FOR LEGAL ADVICE?
New Jersey Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a New Jersey Court judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees. Most New Jersey Court employees are not trained New Jersey attorneys and therefore, they may not know what advice to give you. Working at the New Jersey Court as a non-judge is not the same as practicing law.

CAN I RELY ON NEW JERSEY COURT FORMS PROVIDED BY THE NEW JERSEY COURT?
The New Jersey Court usually provides certain types of New Jersey Court legal forms to the public and those forms are often very helpful. However, beware relying on New Jersey Court forms provided by the New Jersey Court – the New Jersey Court forms are often deceptively simple, while New Jersey cases often are much more complex than they first appear to be. There is simply no substitute for a competent New Jersey attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey who has experience handling New Jersey cases. New Jersey Court forms don’t talk and New Jersey Court forms and their directions rarely, if ever, cover every possible situation, set of facts or legal issue that may arise in a New Jersey case. Each New Jersey case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges. If you can afford a competent New Jersey attorney, it is best to have the New Jersey attorney prepare your New Jersey Court paperwork for you.

CAN I HANDLE A NEW JERSEY CASE MYSELF?
Many New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants can and do successfully handle New Jersey cases, from filing the first paperwork to the collection of a New Jersey Court judgment. However, many other New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants also make mistakes that lead to the dismissal of their New Jersey cases or that result in the entry of a New Jersey Court money judgment against them. The greater the money at stake, the greater the reason to consider using the services of a competent attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey to handle part or all of the New Jersey case. The following are reasons to use an attorney to handle part or all of your New Jersey case:
• New Jersey Court fees often change
• New Jersey Court rules often change
• New Jersey Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a New Jersey Court judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees
• New Jersey Court forms available on websites may not cover every situation you may face in Court
• each New Jersey case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges
• it is very common for New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants to file inadequate or incorrect New Jersey Court complaints that result in the New Jersey Court complaints or answers to New Jersey Court complaints being rejected by the New Jersey Court or being dismissed by the New Jersey Court after filing and before or after trial because of procedural deficiencies.
• it is not uncommon for judges to get very frustrated by an unrepresented party’s lack of preparation or ignorance of the facts or law of the New Jersey case.
• a Court has the power to punish unprepared New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiffs and New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendants, such as by throwing their New Jersey case out of Court or limiting what they can present at the New Jersey Court trial.
• New Jersey has many published cases, laws, regulations, Court rules and rules of evidence that can be very tricky to understand and that can be used to prevent you from doing much of what you want to do at the New Jersey Court trial.
• it is very common for Courts to refuse to allow a party to use or refer to documents or items at the New Jersey Court trial that the person themselves never prepared. Often New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiffs and New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendants stumble into New Jersey Court with a video, photograph, bill or affidavit or other form of written statement, thinking they are going to use it as proof that they lost money or that they are not responsible for someone else’s damages, only to have a New Jersey Court judge tell the New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiffs and New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendants that it is not going to even consider such items or documents.
• without the proper preparation, items and documents may never be considered by the New Jersey Court. Also, if there are any legal issues to be dealt with at the New Jersey Court trial, you must be prepared to argue them, which may require you to refer to Court rules, evidence rules, laws, regulations or published cases.
• you cannot show up at the New Jersey Court expecting the judge hearing your New Jersey case to explain Court rules, evidence rules, Court procedure or the details of the law that applies to your New Jersey case. The judge hearing your New Jersey case is not permitted to give you legal advice.

It is important to remember that even if you have an attorney, you could lose your New Jersey case. Hiring an attorney to handle part or all of your New Jersey case does not guarantee your success. However, it may provide what is needed to win your New Jersey case or to avoid certain mistakes.

DOES THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HAVE EXPERIENCE HANDLING NEW JERSEY CASES?
Yes. Paul DePetris has performed the following tasks:
• handled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey, from Bergen County New Jersey to Cumberland County New Jersey, including representations of individuals, small businesses and large corporations.
• settled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey.
• reviewed many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
• enforced many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
• provided New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants with New Jersey Court legal advice and prepared New Jersey Court legal forms
• prepared and filed many New Jersey Court complaints
• tried New Jersey Court jury trials
• mediated many New Jersey cases
• argued New Jersey Court motions
• handled New Jersey Court proof hearings
• handled New Jersey Court post judgment collection proceedings

Mr. DePetris has appeared before the Superior Court of New Jersey in the following counties:
• Atlantic County New Jersey Court
• Bergen County New Jersey Court
• Burlington County New Jersey Court
• Camden County New Jersey Court
• Cape May County New Jersey Court
• Cumberland County New Jersey Court
• Essex County New Jersey Court
• Gloucester County New Jersey Court
• Hudson County New Jersey Court
• Mercer County New Jersey Court
• Middlesex County New Jersey Court
• Monmouth County New Jersey Court
• Morris County New Jersey Court
• Ocean County New Jersey Court
• Passaic County New Jersey Court
• Salem County New Jersey Court
• Somerset County New Jersey Court
• Sussex County New Jersey Court
• Union County New Jersey Court
• Warren County New Jersey Court

IN WHAT NEW JERSEY COUNTIES WILL THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HANDLE NEW JERSEY CASES?
The Law Office of Paul DePetris offers to handle and help individuals and businesses with New Jersey Court Claims cases in North, Central and Southern New Jersey, including cases in the following New Jersey counties:
• Atlantic County New Jersey Court
• Bergen County New Jersey Court
• Burlington County New Jersey Court
• Camden County New Jersey Court
• Cape May County New Jersey Court
• Cumberland County New Jersey Court
• Essex County New Jersey Court
• Gloucester County New Jersey Court
• Hudson County New Jersey Court
• Mercer County New Jersey Court
• Middlesex County New Jersey Court
• Monmouth County New Jersey Court
• Morris County New Jersey Court
• Ocean County New Jersey Court
• Passaic County New Jersey Court
• Salem County New Jersey Court
• Somerset County New Jersey Court
• Sussex County New Jersey Court
• Union County New Jersey Court
• Warren County New Jersey Court

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HANDLE MY NEW JERSEY CASE FROM BEGINNING TO END?
In many situations, the Law Office of Paul DePetris offers alternatives to handling New Jersey cases for an hourly fee, such as by offering to handle your New Jersey case up to trial for a fixed fee or to help you handle your New Jersey case by yourself. Such flexible methods may allow you to keep the amount legal fees you spend on your New Jersey case to a fixed sum, while providing you the help you need to handle your New Jersey case. For a no obligation phone consultation about what the Firm might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris.
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