Law Office Of Paul DePetris
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New Jersey Home Improvement Contract Rip Offs

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or forms on this website are the latest versions, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other laws.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 IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT RIP OFFS


WHAT IS NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT FRAUD LAW?
Many New Jersey homeowners are victims of New Jersey home improvement contract rip offs.  The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is a powerful law that regulates New Jersey home improvement contractors that sell New Jersey home improvement services to New Jersey homeowners.  New Jersey Consumer Fraud in New Jersey home improvement contracts is a very serious problem, causing many New Jersey homeowners financial losses and inconvenience when they unwittingly become New Jersey home improvement fraud victims.   There are ways that New Jersey homeowners can take precautions against New Jersey home improvement fraud and New Jersey home improvement contract rip offs.   For example, if a New Jersey homeowner knows some of the things that a New Jersey home improvement contractor is not allowed to do and some of the things that a New Jersey home improvement contractor must do, the New Jersey homeowner can avoid some common mistakes made by many other New Jersey homeowners who are victimized by fraudulent home improvement practices and thereby avoid New Jersey home improvement contract rip offs.


WAYS IN WHICH NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS RIP OFF NEW JERSEY HOMEOWNERS
There are many ways in which a New Jersey home improvement contractor can try to rip off New Jersey homeownwers, such as the following:


The New Jersey home improvement contractor overcharges the New Jersey homeowner for home improvements.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor substitutes lower quality materials for higher quality materials used in New Jersey home improvements.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor takes a large deposit when the New Jersey home improvement contract is first signed and leaves the New Jersey home, never to return there.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor takes a large deposit when the New Jersey home improvement contract is first signed and performs some home improvements but eventually stops working, demanding more money from the New Jersey homeowners.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor promises to get permits for the New Jersey home improvements but never intends to do so and starts work without the necessary permits, so that the New Jersey home improvements are illegal or violate building codes.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to get a New Jersey home improvement license from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to maintain the minimum required insurance policy.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor performs work outside the New Jersey home improvement contract without first getting the New Jersey homeowner to sign a change order stating the scope of additional work to be performed and its agreed upon price.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor misrepresents or falsely states to a prospective buyer that the buyer's residential or noncommercial property is to serve as a "model" or "advertising job", or use any other prospective buyer lure to mislead the New Jersey homeowner into believing that a price reduction or other compensation will be received by reason of such representations.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor misrepresents directly or by implication that products or materials to be used in the home improvement:  i. Need no periodic repainting, finishing, maintenance or other service; ii. Are of a specific or well-known brand name, or are produced by a specific manufacturer or exclusively distributed by the seller; iii. Are of a specific size, weight, grade or quality, or possess any other distinguishing characteristics or features; iv. Perform certain functions or substitute for, or are equal in performance to, other products or materials; v. Meet or exceed municipal, state, federal, or other applicable standards or requirements; vi. Are approved or recommended by any governmental agency, person, firm or organization, or that they are the users of such products or materials; vii. Are of sufficient size, capacity, character or nature to do the job expected or represented; viii. Are or will be custom-built or specially designed for the needs of the New Jersey homeowner; or ix. May be serviced or repaired within the New Jersey homeowner's immediate trade area, or be maintained with replacement and repair parts which are readily available.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor offers or represents specific products or materials as being for sale, where the purpose or effect of the offer or representation is not to sell as represented but to bait or entice the buyer into the purchase of other or higher priced substitute products or materials.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor disparages, degrades or otherwise discourages the purchase of products or materials offered or represented by the seller as being for sale to induce the New Jersey homeowner to purchase other or higher priced substitute products or materials.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor refuses to show, demonstrate or sell products or materials as advertised, offered, or represented as being for sale.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to have available a quantity of the advertised product sufficient to meet reasonably anticipated demands or misrepresent that certain products or materials are unavailable or claims that there will be a long delay in their manufacture, delivery, service or installation in order to induce a buyer to purchase other or higher priced substitute products or materials from the seller.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor deceptively gains entry into the prospective buyer's home or onto the New Jersey homeowner's property under the guise of any governmental or public utility inspection, or otherwise misrepresent that the seller has any official right, duty or authority to conduct an inspection.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor misrepresents that the seller is an employee, office or representative of a manufacturer, importer or any other person, firm or organization, or a member of any trade association, or that such person, firm or organization will assume some obligation in fulfilling the terms of the New Jersey home improvement contract.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot misrepresent the status, authority or position of the sales representative in the organization he represents.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor misrepresents that the sales representative is an employee or representative of or works exclusively for a particular seller.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot misrepresent that the seller is part of any governmental or public agency in any printed or oral communication including but not limited to leaflets, tracts or other printed material, or that any licensing denotes approval by the governmental agency.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot offer or advertise any gift, free item or bonus without fully disclosing the terms or conditions of the offer, including expiration date of the offer and when the gift, free item or bonus will be given or fails to comply with the terms of such offer.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor does any of the following:   i. Misrepresent to a prospective buyer that an introductory, confidential, close-out, going out of business, factory, wholesale, or any other special price or discount is being given, or that any other concession is made because of a market survey or test, use of materials left over from another job, or any other reason; ii. Misrepresent that any person, firm or organization, whether or not connected with the seller, is especially interested in seeing that the prospective buyer gets a bargain, special price, discount or any other benefit or concession; iii. Misrepresent or mislead the prospective buyer into believing that insurance or some other form of protection will be furnished to relieve the New Jersey homeowner from obligations under the contract if the New Jersey homeowner becomes ill, dies or is unable to make payments; iv. Misrepresent or mislead the New Jersey homeowner into believing that no obligation will be incurred because of the signing of any document, or that the New Jersey homeowner will be relieved of some or all obligations under the New Jersey home improvement contract by the signing of any documents; v. Request the New Jersey homeowner to sign a certificate of completion, or make final payment on the New Jersey home improvement contract before the home improvement is completed in accordance with the terms of the contract; vi. Misrepresent or fail to disclose that the offered or contract price does not include delivery or installation, or that other requirements must be fulfilled by the New Jersey homeowner as a condition to the performance of labor, services, or the furnishing of products or materials at the offered or contract price; vii. Mislead the prospective buyer into believing that the down payment or any other sum constitutes the full amount the New Jersey homeowner will be obligated to pay; viii. Misrepresent or fail to disclose that the offered or contract price does not include all financing charges, interest service charges, credit investigation costs, building or installation permit fees, or other obligations, charges, cost or fees to be paid by the New Jersey homeowner; ix. Advise or induce the New Jersey homeowner to inflate the value of the New Jersey homeowner's property or assets, or to misrepresent or falsify the New Jersey homeowner's true financial position in order to obtain credit; or x. Increase or falsify the New Jersey home improvement contract price, or induce the New Jersey homeowner by any means to misrepresent or falsify the New Jersey home improvement contract price or value of the home improvement for financing purposes or to obtain additional credit. 
The New Jersey home improvement contractor does any of the following: Deliver materials, begin work, or use any similar tactic to unduly pressure the New Jersey homeowner into a home improvement contract, or make any claim or assertion that a binding contract has been agreed upon where no final agreement or understanding exists; ii. Fail to begin or complete work on the date or within the time period specified in the home improvement contract, or as otherwise represented, unless the delay is for reason of labor stoppage; unavailability of supplies or materials, unavoidable casualties, or any other cause beyond the seller's control. Any changes in the dates or time periods stated in a written contract shall be agreed to in writing; or iii. Fail to give timely written notice to the New Jersey homeowner of reasons beyond the seller's control for any delay in performance, and when the work will begin or be completed.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor does any of the following:  i. Misrepresent that the work of a competitor was performed by the seller; ii. Misrepresent that the seller's products, materials or workmanship are equal to or better than those of a competitor; or iii. Use or imitate the trademarks, trade names, labels or other distinctive marks of a competitor;  iv. Misrepresent or mislead the New Jersey homeowner into believing that a purchase will aid or help some public, charitable, religious, welfare or veterans' organization, or misrepresent the extent of such aid or assistance; v. Knowingly fail to make any material statement of fact, qualification or explanation if the omission of such statement, qualification or explanation causes an advertisement, announcement, statement or representation to be false, deceptive or misleading; or vi. Misrepresent that the customer's present equipment, material, product, home or a part thereof is dangerous or defective, or in need of repair or replacement.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor commences work until he is sure that all applicable state or local building and construction permits have been issued as required under state laws or local ordinances.
Where midpoint or final inspections are required under state laws or local ordinances, the New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to provide copies of inspection certificates to the New Jersey homeowner when construction is completed and before final payment is due or the signing of a completion slip is requested of the New Jersey homeowner.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to furnish the New Jersey homeowner a written copy of all guarantees or warranties made with respect to labor services, products or materials furnished in connection with home improvements. Such guarantees or warranties shall be specific, clear and definite and shall include any exclusions or limitations as to their scope or duration. Copies of all guarantees or warranties shall be furnished to the New Jersey homeowner at the time the seller presents his bid as well as at the time of execution of the New Jersey home improvement contract, except that separate guarantees or warranties of the manufacturer of products or materials may be furnished at the time such products or materials are installed.
For all home improvement contracts for a purchase price in excess of $500.00, and all changes in the terms and conditions, the New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to put the contracts and changes in writing, signed by all parties thereto and which is given to the New Jersey homeowner.
For all home improvement contracts for a purchase price in excess of $500.00, the New Jersey home improvement contract fails to clearly and accurately set forth in legible form and in understandable language all terms and conditions of the New Jersey home improvement contract, including, but not limited to, the following:  i. The legal name and business address of the seller, including the legal name and business address of the sales representative or agent who solicited or negotiated the New Jersey home improvement contract for the seller; ii. A description of the work to be done and the principal products and materials to be used or installed in performance of the New Jersey home improvement contract. The description shall include, where applicable, the name, make, size, capacity, model, and model year of principal products or fixtures to be installed, and the type, grade, quality, size or quantity of principal building or construction materials to be used. Where specific representations are made that certain types of products or materials will be used, or the New Jersey homeowner has specified that certain types of products are to be used, a description of such products or materials shall be clearly set forth in the New Jersey home improvement contract; iii. The total price or other consideration to be paid by the New Jersey homeowner, including all finance charges. If the New Jersey home improvement contract is one for time and materials, the hourly rate for labor and all other terms and conditions of the New Jersey home improvement contract affecting price shall be clearly stated;  iv. The dates or time period on or within which the work is to begin and be completed by the seller; v. A description of any mortgage or security interest to be taken in connection with the financing or sale of the home improvement; and vi. A statement of any guarantee or warranty with respect to any products, materials, labor or services made by the seller.
If a person other than the New Jersey home improvement seller is to act as the general contractor or assume responsibility for performance of the New Jersey home improvement contract, the New Jersey home improvement seller must disclose the name and address of such person in the oral or written contract, except as otherwise agreed, and the New Jersey home improvement contract shall not be sold or assigned without the written consent of the New Jersey homeowner.  
The New Jersey home improvement contract requires or entail the execution of any note, unless such note shall have conspicuously printed thereon the disclosures required by either State law (N.J.S.A. 17:16C-64.2 (consumer note)) or Federal law (16 C.F.R. section 433.2) concerning the preservation of buyers' claims and defenses.
The New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to prominently display their registration numbers within their places of business, in all advertisements distributed within this State, on business documents, contracts and correspondence with consumers of home improvement services in this State, and on all commercial vehicles registered in this State and leased or owned by New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registrants and used by New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registrants for the purpose of providing home improvements, except for vehicles leased or rented to customers of New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registrants by a registrant or any agent or representative therof.  Any invoice, contract or correspondence given by a registrant to a consumer shall prominently contain the toll-free telephone number provided pursuant to section 14 of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act.
If the New Jersey home improvement contract was for a purchase price in excess of $500, the New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to provide the New Jersey homeowner a copy of the certificate of commercial general liability insurance required of a contractor pursuant to the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act and the telephone number of the insurance company issuing the certificate.
If the New Jersey home improvement contract was for a purchase price in excess of $500, the New Jersey home improvement contractor fails to provide the New Jersey homeowner a contract that contains the mandatory cancellation notice required pursuant to the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act.
If the New Jersey home improvement contract was for a purchase price in excess of $500 and the New Jersey homeowner timely and properly notifies the New Jersey home improvement contractor that the contract is being cancelled, failing to accept that cancellation and to refund any money due the New Jersey homeowner due to the cancellation.


WHAT PENALTIES DO NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS FACE IF THEY VIOLATE THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT?
New Jersey home improvement contract rip offs have serious consequences for New Jersey home improvement contractors.  If a New Jersey homeowner is a New Jersey home improvement fraud victim due to a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation, the New Jersey homeowner may be entitled to the following types of relief:
Cancellation of fraudulent debts.
Treble damages for ascertainable loss of money or property caused by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
Attorney’s fee award for prosecuting the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation or defending against lawsuits by contractors to collect a fraudulent debt.
Refund of money lost due to the New Jersey home improvement contractor’s New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.




HOW DO I RECOVER DAMAGES UNDER THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT FOR NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR FRAUD?
A New Jersey homeowner or customer who is able to prove that a New Jersey home improvement contractor, New Jersey home improvement contractor or the seller of New Jersey home improvement services committed a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act which directly caused the New Jersey home improvement fraud victim to suffer an ascertainable loss of money or property is entitled to receive an award of triple damages, attorney’s fees and litigation costs.  In certain situations, a New Jersey home improvement fraud victim may also be entitled to a refund or to cancel a New Jersey fraudulent debt.  However, under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, a New Jersey home improvement fraud victim is not entitled to recover pain and suffering damages.  


WHAT HAPPENS IF A NEW JEREY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR TRIES TO COLLECT A FRAUDUENT NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR BILL?
If a New Jersey homeowner is a New Jersey home improvement fraud victim, the New Jersey home repair bill may be uncollectible or void.   Consult with a New Jersey lawyer to find out if you qualify for that type of relief against a New Jersey home improvement contractor.  Don’t let yourself be another victim of New Jersey home improvement contract rip offs.

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