Law Office Of Paul DePetris
paul@newjerseylemon.com

New Jersey Home Inspector Fraud FAQS

INTRODUCTION
Read below to learn more about this topic.  Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send him an email.  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or forms on this website are the latest versions, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other laws.  Before taking any action, read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney.  Court addresses, hours of operation and directions may change so check with the court in advance of mailing documents to court or going there!  Some of the webpages on this site don’t apply to all types of New Jersey cases, since there are different rules for different case types!


NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTOR FRAUD FAQS


WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTOR FRAUD?
For most New Jersey home buyers the purchase of a New Jersey home is the greatest single purchase of their lifetime.  The cost of homes in New Jersey is substantial.  The purchase of a New Jersey home is, for most New Jersey home buyers, a very infrequent occurrence, and a very major undertaking.   People may buy a New Jersey home once in a lifetime, or not very often.  New Jersey home inspectors, on the other hand, usually conduct a volume operation.  The New Jersey home inspection report is supposed to serve as a reliable evaluation of a New Jersey home’s fitness for purchase.  The impact upon the New Jersey home buyer upon receiving a false New Jersey home inspection report can be indeed monumental, considering issues such as habitability, health and safety, and financing obligations. Every New Jersey home inspector fraud case essentially consists of the New Jersey home inspector obtaining an unfair advantage against a New Jersey homeowner by some act or omission that is unconscientious or a violation of good faith.  There are different types of New Jersey home fraud cases.  New Jersey home inspectors are not always honest about what they find, sometimes because they are working more for the benefit of the New Jersey realtor who referred them to the New Jersey home buyer rather than for the New Jersey home buyer who actually hired them.  In other situations, the terms of a New Jersey home inspection contract violates New Jersey law.  Sometimes New Jersey home inspectors commit some type of New Jersey Consumer Fraud violation and when they do, if they cause a New Jersey home buyer to suffer a loss of money or property, the New Jersey home buyer has remedies.


WHO CAN BE LIABLE FOR NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTOR FRAUD?
New Jersey home inspectors who violate the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act include a human being or his or her legal representative, as well as a partnership, corporation, company, trust, business entity, association as well as his or her agent, employee, salesperson, partner, officer, director, member, stockholder, associate, trustee or beneficiary of a trust.


EXAMPLES OF NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTION CONSUMER FRAUD CASES
New Jersey Consumer Fraud case brought against New Jersey home inspector performing an inspection of a New Jersey home before its purchase.
New Jersey home buyers sued New Jersey home inspector about a New Jersey septic system inspection.
New Jersey home purchasers brought New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act case against New Jersey builder, manufacturer of exterior siding, New Jersey subcontractor that installed siding and a New Jersey home inspector.


TYPES OF NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTOR FRAUD VIOLATIONS
Often, a New Jersey home buyer has the right to rely on representations made by a New Jersey home inspector.   The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act prohibits New Jersey home inspectors from committing certain types of conduct.  There are three possible ways for a New Jersey home inspector to violate the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.  The first type of New Jersey Consumer Fraud violation involves affirmative acts – something that a New Jersey home inspector does voluntarily. 


NEW JERSEY AFFIRMATIVE ACT VIOLATIONS BY NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTORS
Affirmative acts do not have to be physical acts, since they can also be any steps taken voluntarily by the person to advance a plan or design or to accomplish a purpose.   Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, it is unlawful for certain sellers of goods or services to engage in any of the following type of affirmative acts:  
unconscionable commercial practice -- an activity in the public marketplace, which is basically unfair or unjust, which materially departs from standards of good faith, honesty in fact and fair dealing.
deception – conduct or an advertisement which is misleading to an average consumer to the extent that it is capable of and likely to, mislead an average consumer.  It does not matter that, at a later time, it could have been explained to a more knowledgeable and inquisitive consumer, nor need the conduct or advertisement actually have misled the consumer.  It is not important that the seller may have acted in good faith.  Instead, it is the capacity to mislead that is important.
fraud -- a perversion of the truth, a misstatement or a falsehood communicated to another person and creating the possibility that that other person will be cheated.
false pretense -- an untruth knowingly expressed by a wrongdoer.
false promise -- an untrue commitment or pledge, communicated to another person, to create the possibility that that other person will be misled.
misrepresentation --  a statement made to deceive or mislead.  An untrue statement, made about a fact which is important or significant to a sale or advertisement and which is communicated to another person to create the possibility that the other person will be misled.  


NEW JERSEY KNOWING OMISSION VIOLATIONS BY NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTORS
The second type of New Jersey Consumer Fraud violation involves acts of omission – a New Jersey home inspector’s failure to do something that the law requires be done.  Omissions that violate the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act consist of any of the following:
knowing concealment of any material fact.
suppression of any material fact.
omission of any material fact.


PER SE VIOLATIONS BY NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTORS
The third type of New Jersey Consumer Fraud violation is the violation of a law passed by the New Jersey Legislature or the violation of a regulation adopted by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.  These laws and regulations prohibit certain sellers of goods or services from performing certain kinds of conduct.  Not all laws and regulations apply to New Jersey home inspectors


DOES THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT APPLY TO ORAL NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTION CONTRACTS?
You don’t always need a written New Jersey home inspection contract to have a New Jersey home inspector fraud case.  The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act applies equally to both oral misrepresentations & written ones by New Jersey home inspectors.  If a New Jersey home inspector makes representations to a New Jersey home buyer about a New Jersey home, indirect promises may hold up in court against the New Jersey home inspector.  But absence of a New Jersey home inspection contract may affect a New Jersey party’s amount of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act damages.  


IF I AM A VICTIM OF NEW JERSEY HOME INSPECTOR FRAUD, WHAT REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE TO ME?
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act provides strong remedies to New Jersey home buyers who are victims of New Jersey home inspector fraud when the New Jersey home inspector’s conduct results in New Jersey Consumer Fraud violations.   Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, New Jersey home buyers may be entitled to refunds.  Also, under New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act the court shall, in addition to any other appropriate legal or equitable relief, award New Jersey Consumer Fraud triple damages. In all actions under New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act the court shall also provide a New Jersey Consumer Fraud attorney’s fee award of reasonable attorneys' fees, filing fees and reasonable costs of suit.  New Jersey courts have emphasized that like most remedial legislation, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act should be construed liberally in favor of consumers.


NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD TRIPLE DAMAGE AWARDS
New Jersey Consumer Fraud triple damages, also called New Jersey Consumer Fraud treble damages, are available to certain New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiffs.  New Jersey Consumer Fraud triple damages are an important part of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.  The tripling of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud damages award is meant to punish the New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendant.  


NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD REFUNDS
In addition to allowing New Jersey Consumer Fraud victims to recover New Jersey Consumer Fraud treble damages, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act focuses on allowing individual consumers to recover New Jersey Consumer Fraud refunds for losses caused by New Jersey Consumer Fraud violations Any person violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act shall be liable for a New Jersey Consumer Fraud refund of all moneys acquired by means of any practice declared in the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act to be unlawful.   The New Jersey Consumer Fraud refund of moneys may be recovered in a private action.   


NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ATTORNEY’S FEE AWARDS 
In a consumer fraud action, the Legislature has recognized that the right of access to the courts is meaningless unless the injured party has the resources to launch a suit.  New Jersey Consumer Fraud Attorney’s Fee Awards provide incentives to competent New Jersey attorneys to undertake high-risk cases and to represent victims of fraud who suffer relatively minor losses.  In this way, New Jersey Consumer Fraud Attorney’s Fee Awards is the Legislature's attempt to provide equal access to the courts by encouraging private enforcement of law.   The Legislature intended plaintiffs to have access to the court system to pursue relatively small claims against deceptive retailers.  In that respect, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Attorney's Fees provision one of the deterrent aspects of the legislation, and therefore, fraudulent retailers should beware.   If the New Jersey court award damages to a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act also requires the New Jersey court to award New Jersey Consumer Fraud attorney’s fees against the New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendant.   The New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendant could face a judgment to pay whatever reasonable New Jersey Consumer Fraud attorney’s fees that the New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff incurred in the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act case.  Only a New Jersey judge decides the proper amount of a New Jersey Consumer Fraud attorney’s fee award.  
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