Law Office Of Paul DePetris
paul@newjerseylemon.com

New Jersey Consumer Fraud Defense

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.

Warning – this article does not necessarily include every New Jersey court rule, code or law 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of the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other federal or state law. This database may include laws that: (1) never became operable due to unmet conditions; (2) expired; (3) were repealed or amended; (4) were declared void by a court of law; (5) or are otherwise invalid. Do not rely upon the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website for any purpose! Before taking any legal action, read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney for changes. Addresses, hours of operation and directions may change so be sure to check with the court in advance of mailing documents to court or going to any court!!! Some of the webpages on this site do not apply to all types of New Jersey cases, since there are different rules for different case types!

DEFENSE OF NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD LAWSUITS

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD LAWSUIT?
A New Jersey consumer fraud lawsuit is a New Jersey civil case filed against a New Jersey business, New Jersey individual or out of state business or individual in which the New Jersey plaintiff claims that the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act was somehow violated by the New Jersey defendant named to the New Jersey Consumer Fraud complaint.

WHY SHOULD A NEW JERSEY BUSINESS OR NEW JERSEY INDIVIDUAL BE CONCERNED ABOUT A NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD LAWSUIT?
If a New Jersey business or New Jersey individual or out of state business or individual is sued in a New Jersey consumer fraud lawsuit, they could face triple damages, having to give a refund of a customer’s money, being unable to collect a bill and having to pay a customer’s attorney’s fees and court costs. Small sales of goods and services can result in large New Jersey consumer fraud verdicts against New Jersey businesses.

WHAT IS THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT?
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is a New Jersey law that seeks to stop the perpetration of New Jersey Consumer Fraud upon New Jersey consumers. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act:
• Was enacted 1960.
• Eradicates fraud in the marketplace.
• Requires merchants to make disclosures.
• Is liberally construed to accomplish objectives.
• Compensates New Jersey Consumer Fraud victim for actual losses.
• Promotes truth & fair dealing in marketplace.
• Punishes wrongdoers.
• can be raised in complaint or counterclaim & as affirmative defense.

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act prohibits certain conduct in connection with the New Jersey sale or advertisement of merchandise or real estate and declares the following as unlawful practices: the act, use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation or the knowing concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission in connection with the New Jersey sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate, or with the subsequent performance of such person as aforesaid, whether or not any New Jersey consumer has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.

The purpose of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is to protect New Jersey consumers from sharp practices and dealings in the marketing of merchandise and real estate which could New Jersey Consumer Fraud victimize the New Jersey consumer by luring the New Jersey consumer into a purchase through fraudulent, deceptive or other similar kinds of selling or advertising practices. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is remedial legislation and should be construed liberally in favor of New Jersey's New Jersey consumers.

There are 3 types of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act liability:
• Per se violations
• Violations of specific subsections of statute
• Violations of administrative code
• Imposes strict liability upon the offending party.
• Affirmative acts
• unconscionable commercial practice;
• deception, fraud;
• false pretense;
• false promise; &
• Misrepresentation.
• Intent unnecessary
• Knowing, concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely thereon

Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, unconscionable conduct implies a lack of good faith, honesty or fair dealing. A simple breach of warranty or breach of New Jersey contract is not automatically unconscionable conduct in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. If a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff proceeds under the first prong of section 2 of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act – trying to prove a New Jersey Consumer Fraud affirmative act violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and relying on fraud as the unconscionable conduct, a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff must show that the New Jersey Consumer Fraudulent conduct of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendant is unconscionable.

If a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff proceeds under the second prong of section 2 of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act based upon a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff’ allegations that the New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendant knowingly concealed information from a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff, a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff must show that the concealment was knowing and that it was made with the intent to induce a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff’ entering into the new mortgage. A simple erroneous statement by a New Jersey party will not constitute a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act unless it is an unconscionable practice under the first prong of section 2 of the statute.

As to defenses, subjective good faith of a New Jersey business is not a defense under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. In order to defend a New Jersey Consumer Fraud lawsuit under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the merchant must show that he did not engage in unconscionable conduct in the New Jersey sale of financing and that he did not make a knowing concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact with the intent to induce the New Jersey purchase of the financing. Importantly, the burden of proof still rests with a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff, so that a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff must prove the elements under either prong of section 2 of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

CAN NEW JERSEY BUSINESS OWNERS FACE PERSONAL LIABILITY FOR NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD LAWSUITS?
For over 30 years, NJ courts have held New Jersey corporate officers, New Jersey company members and New Jersey employees liable for New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations. Presently, piercing the New Jersey corporate veil that often protects corporate and company officers and employees from personal liability is unnecessary in New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act cases because New Jersey courts look to the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act’s expansive definition of who is liable under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. New Jersey corporate officers’ liability for New Jersey consumer fraud depends on the New Jersey corporate officers’ participation in the New Jersey consumer fraud violation. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act declares following to be unlawful practices:
o the act, use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or the knowing, concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate, or with the subsequent performance of such person as aforesaid, whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act defines the term "person" as any natural person or his legal representative, partnership, corporation, company, trust, business entity or association, & any agent, employee, salesman, partner, officer, director, member, stockholder, associate , trustee or cestuis que trustent thereof. Therefore, corporate and company officers and employees can be personally responsible for New Jersey consumer fraud awards, including triple damages and attorney’s fees.

EXAMPLES OF POTENTIAL INDIVIDUAL LIABILITY OF NEW JERSEY CORPORATE OFFICERS, NEW JERSEY COMPANY MEMBERS & NEW JERSEY EMPLOYEES LIABLE FOR NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT VIOLATIONS
The following are some examples of New Jersey consumer fraud cases in which corporate officers or company employees were potentially liable for New Jersey consumer fraud:
• New Jersey builder & his wife, who was an officer in the New Jersey builder’s corporation & a realtor, for affirmative misrepresentation of the New Jersey builder’s experience & qualifications.
• New Jersey builder of a single-family home using substandard materials in violation of the New Jersey contract.
• Company’s founder offering lifetime memberships in entity providing discounts from merchants, none of which contracted for a period greater than 10 years.
• New Jersey corporate principal participating in a deceptive pyramid sale scheme to attract distributors for the corporation’s cosmetic products.
• Brothers who were principals together in a New Jersey home repair contractor business where defendants allegedly violated home improvement practices regulations by failing to execute a written contract for the work, obtain final approval of the project before accepting final payment & modified a retaining wall’s design & substituted inferior backfill material for that specified by contract.
• Insurance company employees allegedly conspiring to deny an insured’s allegedly legitimate claim.
• New Jersey corporate president who was 50% shareholder of the New Jersey corporate defendant was liable for misrepresentations in the sale of mattresses.
• Landscaping company’s New Jersey corporate officer preparing the contract submitted to plaintiff, inspecting the work during its performance & discussing change orders with plaintiff.
• Sole New Jersey shareholder of a consumer financial help services corporation.
• The owner & director of a New Jersey home health care service company.

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 consumers, home buyers, home sellers, home repair customers, home repair contractors, home inspectors, real estate brokers, real estate agents, junk yard dealers, automobile purchasers and owners, new and used car dealers, banks and automotive 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.
• defended businesses and corporate officers in New Jersey consumer fraud cases.
• Prepared successful motions to dismiss New Jersey consumer fraud lawsuits filed against businesses.

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 plaintiffs and New Jersey 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 plaintiffs and New Jersey 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 plaintiffs and New Jersey 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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