Law Office Of Paul DePetris
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New Jersey Pet Shop Facts

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THE NEW JERSEY PET LEMON LAW FACTS

WHAT IS THE NEW JERSEY PET LEMON LAW?
• The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act has a supplement pertaining to pets called the “Pet Purchase Protection Act” (“PPPA”) & more commonly known as the “Pet Lemon Law” or “Puppy Lemon Law”.
• The New Jersey Pet Lemon Law covers the purchase of cats & dogs only.
• The New Jersey Pet Lemon Law requires disclosures by the New Jersey pet shop at time of sale & provides remedies to aggrieved customers purchasing sickly pets.

WHICH NEW JERSEY PET SHOPS MUST FOLLOW THE NEW JERSEY PET LEMON LAW?
New Jersey New Jersey pet shops who must follow the New Jersey Pet Lemon Law include any persons engaged in the ordinary course of business in the sale of cats or dogs to the public for profit or any person who sells or offers for sale more than five cats or dogs in one year any person engaged in the ordinary course of business in the sale of cats or dogs to the public for profit or any person who sells or offers for sale more than five cats or dogs in one year. Under the New Jersey Pet Lemon Law, New Jersey pet shop means any place of business which is not part of a kennel, wherein animals, including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, rabbits, hamsters or gerbils, are kept or displayed chiefly for the purpose of sale to individuals for personal appreciation and companionship rather than for business or research purposes.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED A PET UNFIT FOR PURCHASE UNDER THE NEW JERSEY PET LEMON LAW?
Under the New Jersey Pet Lemon Law, a pet unfit for purchase is a pet that has any disease, deformity, injury, physical condition, illness or defect which is congenital or hereditary and severely affects the health of the animal, or which was manifest, capable of diagnosis or likely contracted on or before the sale and delivery of the animal to the consumer. The death of an animal within 14 days of its delivery to the consumer, except by death by accident or as a result of injuries sustained during that period, shall mean the animal was unfit for purchase.

THE NEW JERSEY PET LEMON LAW IS NOT THE ONLY LAW THAT MAY APPLY TO PEOPLE SELLING PETS IN NEW JERSEY
Even if a New Jersey pet shop is not responsible for following the New Jersey Pet Lemon Law, New Jersey pet shops may be held liable under other laws, such as the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The New Jersey Pet Lemon Law does not interfere with other legal requirements for New Jersey pet shops that are not pet shops or take away from the rights of a consumer purchasing an animal from a New Jersey pet shop that is not a New Jersey pet shop, as may be provided elsewhere in law or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto. Even if the New Jersey pet lemon law does not apply to a New Jersey pet purchase, a New Jersey pet buyer has any recourse or remedy that is otherwise available to a consumer purchasing a cat or a dog from a New Jersey pet shop under any other law.

WHAT MUST NEW JERSEY PET SHOPS DO UNDER THE NEW JERSEY PET LEMON LAW?
a. It shall be a deceptive practice for any owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, to sell animals within New Jersey without complying with the provisions and requirements of the New Jersey Pet Lemon Law.
b. Within five days prior to the offering for sale of any animal, the owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, shall have the animal examined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in New Jersey. The name and address of the examining veterinarian, together with the findings made and treatment, if any, ordered as a result of the examination, shall be noted on the animal history and health certificate for each animal as required by regulations adopted pursuant to Title 56 of the Revised Statutes. If fourteen days have passed since the last veterinarian examination of the animal, the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, shall have the animal reexamined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in New Jersey as provided for in subsection g. of this section, except as otherwise provided in that subsection.
c. Each cage in a New Jersey pet shop shall have a label identifying the sex and breed of each animal kept in the cage, the date and place of birth of each animal, and the name and address of the veterinarian attending to the animal and the date of the initial examination of the animal.
d. The owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, shall quarantine any animal diagnosed as suffering from a contagious or infectious disease, illness, or condition and may not sell such an animal until such time as a veterinarian licensed to practice in New Jersey treats the animal and determines that such animal is free of clinical signs of infectious disease or that the animal is fit for sale. All animals required to be quarantined pursuant to this subsection shall be placed in a quarantine area, separated from the general animal population of the New Jersey pet shop.
e. The owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop, or designated employee thereof, may inoculate and vaccinate animals prior to purchase only upon the order of a veterinarian. No owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, may represent, directly or indirectly, that the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or any employee thereof, other than a veterinarian, is qualified to, directly or indirectly, diagnose, prognose, treat, or administer for, prescribe any treatment for, operate concerning, manipulate or apply any apparatus or appliance for addressing, any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound or physical condition of any animal after purchase of the animal, for the prevention of, or to test for, the presence of any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound or physical condition in an animal after its purchase. These prohibitions include, but are not limited to, the giving of inoculations or vaccinations after purchase, the diagnosing, prescribing and dispensing of medication to animals and the prescribing of any diet or dietary supplement as treatment for any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound or physical condition. The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety shall provide each owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop with notification forms, to be signed by the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, and the consumer at the time of purchase of an animal. The notification form shall provide the following: (1) The full text of the rights and responsibilities provided for in subsection h. of this section; (2) The full text and description of the recourse to which the consumer is entitled pursuant to subsection i. of this section; (3) New Jerseyment that it is the responsibility of the consumer to obtain such certification within the required amount of time provided by subsection h. of this section; (4) The full text of the rights and responsibilities of the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, and the employees thereof, and the consumer provided in subsection l. of this section; and (5) The notification, reporting and enforcement provisions provided in New Jersey Statute 56:8-96, including the name and address of the local health authority with jurisdiction over the New Jersey pet shop. The owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, shall obtain the signature of the consumer on the form and shall also sign the form at the time of purchase of an animal, and shall provide the consumer with a signed copy of the form and retain a copy of the form on the New Jersey pet shop premises. Copies of all such notices shall be readily available for inspection by an authorized representative of the Division of Consumer Affairs, upon request. No pet shop owner or operator, or New Jersey pet shop employee, may construe or use the signed notification form required pursuant to this subsection as an abdication of the right to recourse provided for in subsection i., or as a selection of recourse pursuant to subsection k. of this section.
f. The owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, shall have any animal that has been examined more than 14 days prior to the date of purchase, reexamined by a veterinarian for the purpose of disclosing its condition, within 72 hours of the delivery of the animal to the consumer, unless the consumer has waived the right to the reexamination in writing. The owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, shall provide a copy of the written waiver to the consumer prior to the signing of any contact or agreement to purchase the animal and the written waiver shall be in the form established by the director by regulation.
g. If at any time within 14 days after the sale and delivery of an animal to a consumer, the animal becomes sick or dies and a veterinarian certifies, within the 14 days after the date of purchase of the animal by the consumer, that the animal is unfit for purchase due to a non-congenital cause or condition, or that the animal died from causes other than an accident, the consumer is entitled to the recourse described in subsection i. of this section.
If the animal becomes sick or dies within 180 days after the date of purchase and a veterinarian certifies, within the 180 days after the date of purchase of the animal by the consumer, that the animal is unfit for sale due to a congenital or hereditary cause or condition, or a sickness brought on by a congenital or hereditary cause or condition, or died from such a cause or condition or sickness, the New Jersey pet buyer shall be entitled to the recourse provided in subsection i. of this section. It shall be the responsibility of the consumer to obtain such certification within the required amount of time provided by this subsection, unless the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or the employee thereof selling the animal to the consumer, fails to provide the notice required pursuant to subsection f. of this section. If the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or the employee thereof, fails to provide the required notice, the New Jersey pet buyer shall be entitled to the recourse provided for in subsection i. of this section.
h. Only the New Jersey pet buyer shall have the sole authority to determine the recourse the consumer wishes to select and accept, provided that the recourse selected is one of the following: (1) The right to return the animal and receive a full refund of the purchase price, including sales tax, plus the reimbursement of the veterinary fees, including the cost of the veterinarian certification, incurred prior to the receipt by the consumer of the veterinarian certification; (2) The right to retain the animal and to receive reimbursement for veterinary fees incurred prior to the consumer's receipt of the veterinarian certification, plus the future cost of veterinary fees to be incurred in curing or attempting to cure the animal, including the cost of the veterinarian certification; (3) The right to return the animal and to receive in exchange an animal of the consumer's choice, of equivalent value, plus reimbursement of veterinary fees, including the cost of the veterinarian certification, incurred prior to the consumer's receipt of the veterinarian certification; or (4) In the event of the death of the animal from causes other than an accident, the right to a full refund of the purchase price of the animal, including sales tax, or another animal of the consumer's choice of equivalent value, plus reimbursement of veterinary fees, including the cost of the veterinarian certification, incurred prior to the death of the animal. The New Jersey pet buyer shall be entitled to be reimbursed an amount for veterinary fees up to and including two times the purchase price, including sales tax, of the sick or dead animal. No reimbursement of veterinary fees shall exceed two times the purchase price, including sales tax, of the sick or dead animal.
i. The veterinarian shall provide to the consumer in writing and within the seven days after the consumer consults with the veterinarian any certification that is appropriate pursuant to this section upon the determination that such certification is appropriate. The certification shall include: (1) The name of the owner; (2) The date or dates of examination; (3) The breed, color, sex and age of the animal; (4) A statement of the findings of the veterinarian; (5) A statement that the veterinarian certifies the animal to be "unfit for purchase"; (6) An itemized statement of veterinary fees incurred as of the date of certification; (7) If the animal may be curable, an estimate of the possible cost to cure, or attempt to cure, the animal; (8) If the animal has died, a statement establishing the probable cause of death; and (9) The name and address of the certifying veterinarian and the date of the certification.
j. Upon the presentation of the veterinarian certification required in subsection j. of this section to the New Jersey pet shop, the New Jersey pet buyer shall select the recourse to be provided and the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or the employee thereof, shall confirm the selection of recourse in writing. The confirmation of the selection shall be signed by the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, and the consumer and a copy of the signed confirmation shall be given to the consumer and retained by the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, on the New Jersey pet shop premises. The confirmation of the selection shall be in the form established by the director by regulation.
k. The owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, shall comply with the selection of recourse by the consumer no later than 10 days after the receipt of the veterinarian certification and the signed confirmation of selection of recourse form. In the event the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, wishes to contest the selection of recourse of the consumer, the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, shall notify the consumer and the director in writing within the five days after the receipt of the veterinarian certification and the signed confirmation of selection of recourse form. After notification to the consumer and the director of the division, the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, may require the consumer to produce the animal for examination by a veterinarian chosen by the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, at a mutually convenient time and place, except if the animal has died and was required to be cremated for public health reasons. The director shall set, upon receipt of such notice of contest on the part of the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or a New Jersey pet shop employee, a hearing date and hold a hearing, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) and the Uniform Administrative Procedure Rules adopted pursuant thereto, to determine whether the recourse selected by the consumer should be allowed. The consumer and the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, shall be entitled to any appeal of the decision resulting from the hearing as may be provided for under the law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, but upon the exhaustion of such remedies and recourse, the consumer and the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop shall comply with the final decision rendered.
l. Any owner or operator of a New Jersey pet shop, or New Jersey pet shop employee, shall be guilty of a deceptive practice if the owner or operator, or New Jersey pet shop employee, secures or attempts to secure a waiver of any of the provisions of this section except as specifically authorized under subsection g. of this section.
m. The owner of a New Jersey pet shop shall be responsible and liable for any recourse or reimbursement due to a consumer because of violations of any provisions of this section by the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or any employee thereof, or because of any document signed pursuant to this section by the owner or operator of the New Jersey pet shop, or any employee thereof.

Securing Veterinarian Certification Under New Jersey Pet Lemon Laws
a. Any consumer who purchases from a New Jersey pet shop an animal that becomes sick or dies after the date of purchase may take the sick or dead animal to a veterinarian within the period of time required pursuant to the notification form provided upon the date of purchase, receive certification
from the veterinarian of the health and condition of the animal, and pursue
the recourse provided for under the circumstances indicated by the
veterinarian certification, as required and provided for pursuant to section 4
of P.L.1999, c.336 (C.56:8-95).

b. Upon receipt of the certification from the veterinarian, the consumer
may report the sickness or death of the animal and the New Jersey pet shop where the
animal was purchased to the local health authority with jurisdiction over the
municipality in which the New Jersey pet shop where the animal was purchased is
located, and to the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the
Department of Law and Public Safety. The New Jersey pet buyer shall provide a copy of
the veterinarian certificate with any such report. The director shall forward
to the appropriate local health authority a copy of any such report the division receives. The local health authority shall record and retain the records of any such report and documentation submitted by a consumer.

c. By the May 1 immediately following the effective date of this act,
and annually thereafter, the local health authority with jurisdiction over pet
shops shall review any files it has concerning reports filed pursuant to
subsection b. of this section and shall recommend to the municipality in
which the New Jersey pet shop is located the revocation of the license of any pet shop
with reports filed as follows:

(1) 15% of the total number of animals sold in a year by the New Jersey pet shop
were certified by a veterinarian to be unfit for purchase due to congenital or
hereditary cause or condition, or a sickness brought on by a congenital or
hereditary cause or condition;

(2) 25% of the total number of animals sold in a year by the New Jersey pet shop
were certified by a veterinarian to be unfit for purchase due to a noncongenital
cause or condition;

(3) 10% of the total number of animals sold in a year by the New Jersey pet shop
died and were certified by a veterinarian to have died from a non-congenital
cause or condition; or

(4) 5% of the total number of animals sold in a year by the New Jersey pet shop
died and were certified by a veterinarian to have died from a congenital or
hereditary cause or condition, or a sickness brought on by a congenital or
hereditary cause or condition.

d. By the May 1 immediately following the effective date of this act,
and annually thereafter, the local health authority with jurisdiction over pet
shops shall review any files it has concerning reports filed pursuant to
subsection b. of this section and shall recommend to the municipality in
which the New Jersey pet shop is located a 90-day suspension of the license of any pet
shop with reports filed as follows:

(1) 10% of the total number of animals sold in a year by the New Jersey pet shop
were certified by a veterinarian to be unfit for purchase due to congenital or
hereditary cause or condition, or a sickness brought on by a congenital or
hereditary cause or condition;

(2) 15% of the total number of animals sold in a year by the New Jersey pet shop
were certified by a veterinarian to be unfit for purchase due to a noncongenital
cause or condition;

(3) 5% of the total number of animals sold in a year by the New Jersey pet shop
died and were certified by a veterinarian to have died from a non-congenital
cause or condition; or

(4) 3% of the total number of animals sold in a year by the New Jersey pet shop died and were certified by a veterinarian to have died from a congenital or
hereditary cause or condition, or a sickness brought on by a congenital or
hereditary cause or condition.

e. Pursuant to the authority and requirements provided in section 8 of
P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.8), the owner of the New Jersey pet shop shall be afforded a
hearing and, upon the recommendation by the local health authority
pursuant to subsection c. or d. of this section, the local health authority, in
consultation with New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, shall
set a date for the hearing to be held by the local health authority or New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior Services and shall notify the New Jersey pet shop
involved. The municipality may suspend or revoke the license, or part
thereof, that authorizes the New Jersey pet shop to sell cats or dogs after such hearing
has been held and as provided in section 8 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-
15.8). At the hearing, the local health authority or New Jersey Department of
Health and Senior Services, whichever entity is holding the hearing, shall
receive testimony from the New Jersey pet shop and shall determine if the New Jersey pet shop: (1)
failed to maintain proper hygiene and exercise reasonable care in
safeguarding the health of animals in its custody, or (2) sold a substantial
number of animals that the New Jersey pet shop knew, or reasonably should have
known, to be unfit for purchase.

f. No provision of subsection c. shall be construed to restrict the local
health authority or New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services from
holding a hearing concerning any pet shop in New Jersey irrespective of the
criteria for recommendation of license suspension or revocation named in
subsection c. or d., or from recommending to a municipality the suspension
or revocation of the license of a New Jersey pet shop within its jurisdiction for other
violations under other sections of law, or rules and regulations adopted
pursuant thereto.

g. No action taken by the local health authority or municipality
pursuant to this section or section 8 of P.L.1941, c.151 (C.4:19-15.8) shall
be construed to limit or replace any action, hearing or review of complaints
concerning the New Jersey pet shop by the Division of Consumer Affairs in the
Department of Law and Public Safety to enforce consumer fraud laws or
other protections to which the consumer is entitled.

h. The requirements of this section shall be posted in a prominent
place in each pet shop in New Jersey along with the name, address and
telephone number of the local health authority that has jurisdiction over the
pet shop, and this information shall be provided in writing at the time of
purchase to each consumer and to each licensed veterinarian contracted for
services by the New Jersey pet shop upon contracting the veterinarian.

i. The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs may investigate and
pursue enforcement against any pet shop reported by a consumer pursuant to subsection b. of this section.

WHAT RULES AND REGULATIONS MAY ALSO APPLY TO NEW JERSEY PET SHOPS?
The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of
Law and Public Safety may adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure
Act," P.L.1968, c. 410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), any rules or regulations as the
director deems necessary for the implementation of this act.

CAN NEW JERSEY PET SHOPS BE LIABLE FOR NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT VIOLATIONS?
Yes. In addition to being liable for violations of the New Jersey Pet Lemon Law, New Jersey pet shops may be liable for violations of Section 2 of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Under that Section of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, any of the following types of misconduct that directly cause a customer to lose money or property can make a New Jersey pet shop liable for consumer fraud: 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.

WHAT TYPES OF DAMAGES AND OTHER REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT VICTIMS?
• Compensatory & treble damages & equitable relief
• Mandatory counsel fees & costs of suit
• No expert witness fees
• No recovery for personal injuries & emotional distress
• For private litigant to recover treble damages, they must prove they suffered ascertainable loss of money or property proximately caused by the fraud & capable of being proven within a reasonable degree of certainty
IF I AM A NEW JERSEY VICTIM OF NEW JERSEY FRAUD, CAN I DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?
Whenever there is a fraud in the execution or consideration of a New Jersey contract, the New Jersey car sales fraud victim defrauded at any time thereafter may institute a New Jersey lawsuit to recover the money owing on such New Jersey contract although, by its terms, the debt contracted or the money secured to be paid thereby is not then due or payable; and the New Jersey fraud victim may, upon discovery of the fraud, either rescind the New Jersey contract entirely and recover the money or property obtained by the fraud, or, sue on the New Jersey contract to recover thereon.

In certain situations, a New Jersey plaintiff could assert that, since the New Jersey contract was the product of fraud, a New Jersey plaintiff is entitled to rescind the New Jersey contract and/or to recover the money and/or lien on property obtained under same.

New Jersey contract rescission is the equivalent of New Jersey contract cancellation. It is an equitable remedy which is only available in limited circumstances. Aside from situations where parties consent to New Jersey contract rescission, New Jersey contracts may normally only be rescinded where there is either original invalidity, fraud, failure of consideration, a material breach or default. Even where grounds for New Jersey contract rescission exist, the remedy is discretionary in nature. New Jersey contract rescission will not be granted where the party seeking same has not acted within a reasonable time or where substantial performance has already occurred. Indeed, delay in the rescission of a New Jersey contract is evidence of an election to treat a New Jersey contract as valid. However, the duty to rescind a New Jersey contract does not first arise until the party seeking New Jersey contract rescission discovers the grounds for same. To grant New Jersey contract rescission, a New Jersey court must be able to return the parties to their position before they entered into the New Jersey contract. Accordingly, a party cannot usually simply rescind a New Jersey contract and at the same time keep possession of goods or services received under the New Jersey contract. To complete a New Jersey contract rescission following partial performance, the party seeking to rescind the New Jersey contract must return or tender the consideration previously received. New Jersey contracts are subject to rescission where they are obtained by fraud. Indeed, the very existence of a fraudulently procured New Jersey contract causes damage, so that where fraud is found, damage may be presumed. In the absence of actual fraud, undue influence or misrepresentation, New Jersey contract rescission will not be permitted.

A unilateral mistake of a fact unknown to the other party to a New Jersey contract is not ordinarily grounds for New Jersey contract rescission. To qualify for such relief, a party must show special circumstances justifying a departure from the generally controlling principle that parties are bound by the New Jersey contracts they make for themselves. Accordingly, the circumstances providing for New Jersey contract rescission due to a unilateral mistake fact are: [1] the mistake is of such a great consequence that to enforce the New Jersey contract as actually made would be unconscionable; [2] the matter as to which the mistake was made must relate to the material feature of the New Jersey contract; the mistake must have occurred notwithstanding the exercise of reasonable care by the party making the mistake; and [4] the requested New Jersey contract rescission cannot cause serious prejudice to the other party, except for loss of bargain.

WHEN IS A NEW JERSEY CONTRACT INVALID BECAUSE IT WAS ENTERED INTO THROUGH FRAUD?
In the absence of a trust or confidential relationship, statements of opinion or matters of judgment, though known to be false when actually made, do not constitute New Jersey fraud. However, false representations as to material elements of the New Jersey contract are grounds for rescission. Fraudulent misconduct is not excused by the credulity or negligence of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud victim or by the fact that the New Jersey Consumer Fraud victim might have discovered the New Jersey Consumer Fraud through prior investigation.

Purposeful concealment can be as destructive as an affirmative false statement. There exists a duty upon a New Jersey party to a New Jersey contract to disclose to the other New Jersey party facts basic to the transaction if the first party knows that the other is about to enter into the transaction under a mistake as to the facts and that the other, because of the relationship between the parties, the customs of the trade or other objective circumstances, would reasonably expect disclosure of the facts. Where such a duty to speak exists, the failure to speak constitutes unfair conduct likely to cause harm. An unconscionable bargain is one such as no person in their senses and not under delusion would make and as no honest and fair person would accept.

WHAT REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE TO NEW JERSEY FRAUD VICTIMS WHO SIGN FRAUDULENT NEW JERSEY CONTRACTS?
Whenever there is a fraud in the execution or consideration of a New Jersey contract, the New Jersey fraud victim at any time thereafter may institute a civil action, to recover the money owing on such New Jersey contract although, by its terms, the debt contracted or the money secured to be paid thereby is not then due or payable; and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud victim may, upon discovery of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud, either rescind the New Jersey contract entirely and recover the money or property obtained by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud, or, sue on the New Jersey contract to recover thereon.

In certain situations, a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff could assert that, since the New Jersey contract was the product of New Jersey Consumer Fraud, a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff is entitled to rescind the New Jersey contract and/or to recover the money and/or lien on property obtained under same.

New Jersey contract rescission is the equivalent of New Jersey contract cancellation. It is an equitable remedy which is only available in limited circumstances. Aside from situations where parties consent to New Jersey contract rescission, New Jersey contracts may normally only be rescinded where there is either original invalidity, fraud, failure of consideration, a material breach or default. Even where grounds for New Jersey contract rescission exist, the New Jersey remedy is discretionary in nature. New Jersey contract rescission will not be granted where the party seeking same has not acted within a reasonable time or where substantial performance has already occurred. Indeed, delay in the rescission of a New Jersey contract is evidence of an election to treat a New Jersey contract as valid. However, the duty to rescind a New Jersey contract does not first arise until the party seeking New Jersey contract rescission discovers the grounds for same. To grant New Jersey contract rescission, a New Jersey court must be able to return the parties to their position before they entered into the New Jersey contract. Accordingly, a New Jersey party cannot usually simply rescind a New Jersey contract and at the same time keep possession of goods or services received under the New Jersey contract. To complete a New Jersey contract rescission following partial performance, the party seeking to rescind the New Jersey contract must return or tender the consideration previously received. New Jersey contracts are subject to rescission where they are obtained by fraud. Indeed, the very existence of a fraudulently procured New Jersey contract causes damage, so that where fraud is found, damage may be presumed. In the absence of actual fraud, undue influence or misrepresentation, New Jersey contract rescission will not be permitted.

A unilateral mistake of a fact unknown to the other New Jersey party to a New Jersey contract is not ordinarily grounds for New Jersey contract rescission. To qualify for such relief, a New Jersey party must show special circumstances justifying a departure from the generally controlling principle that parties are bound by the New Jersey contracts they make for themselves. Accordingly, the circumstances providing for New Jersey contract rescission due to a unilateral mistake fact are: [1] the mistake is of such a great consequence that to enforce the New Jersey contract as actually made would be unconscionable; [2] the matter as to which the mistake was made must relate to the material feature of the New Jersey contract; the mistake must have occurred notwithstanding the exercise of reasonable care by the party making the mistake; and [4] the requested New Jersey contract rescission cannot cause serious prejudice to the other New Jersey party, except for loss of bargain.

HOW DO I PROVE FRAUD IN A NEW JERSEY CONTRACT CASE?
Under New Jersey common law, there are two types of New Jersey common law fraud: New Jersey equitable fraud and New Jersey legal fraud. To prove a claim for New Jersey common law equitable fraud, a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff must show the following:

• a material misrepresentation of a presently existing or past fact;

• made with the intent that a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff rely upon it; and

• detrimental reliance by a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff.

Even an innocent misrepresentation can constitute New Jersey equitable fraud justifying rescission of a New Jersey contract. But the only remedy available for New Jersey equitable fraud is equitable in nature: rescission or reformation of the New Jersey contract.

To prove a claim for New Jersey common law legal fraud, a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff must show the following:

• a material misrepresentation of a presently existing or past fact;

• knowledge or belief by a New Jersey Consumer Fraud defendant of its falsity;

• made with the intent to mislead the a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff;

• that such misrepresentation was justifiably relied upon by a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff; and

• that a New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff sustained damages therfrom.

NEW JERSEY ORAL CONTRACT NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT CASES AND NO CONTRACT NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT CASES FAQS

DOES THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT APPLY TO ORAL CONTRACTS?
• You don’t always need a written contract to have a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act case.
• The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act applies equally to both oral misrepresentations & written ones.
• Not every erroneous statement is an affirmative misrepresentation prohibited by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
• To constitute an affirmative misrepresentation, the statement must be:
o a statement of fact made contemporaneously with the formation of the bargain;
o material to the transaction;
o made to induce the New Jersey buyer to make the New Jersey purchase; and
o found to be false.
• The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claimant does not have to receive the misrepresentation to have standing.
• If the misrepresentation is made to someone acting as the New Jersey consumer’s agent & the agent was thereby induced into entering into a New Jersey contract with the merchant, the New Jersey consumer has standing to bring a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claim.

DO I HAVE TO HAVE A NEW JERSEY CONTRACT TO HAVE A NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT CASE?
• You don’t always need a New Jersey oral or written contract to have a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act case.
• Privity of contract = having a New Jersey contract with someone else.
• Privity of contract is not a prerequisite to New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act standing.
• If representations are made in connection with the New Jersey sale of merchandise, indirect promises are actionable.
• Parties may conclude a New Jersey contract for the New Jersey sale of goods notwithstanding whether they agreed upon a price.
• The absence of privity of contract no longer bars a buyer from reaching through the chain of distribution to a product’s manufacturer.
• But absence of a New Jersey contract may affect a New Jersey party’s amount of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act damages.

EXAMPLES OF CASES WHERE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD CLAIMANTS DID NOT HAVE VALID NEW JERSEY CONTRACTS BUT HAD POTENTIAL NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT CASES
• The post-repossession conduct of the assignee of retail installment New Jersey car sales contract who is not in privity with a New Jersey Consumer Fraud victim.
• A New Jersey car, New Jersey truck and New Jersey SUV New Jersey buyer sued an New Jersey used car dealership for misrepresentation of the advertisement for sale of a New Jersey car, New Jersey truck or New Jersey SUV at a specific price. Even though the parties never entered into a binding agreement, claimant’s recovered the difference between the New Jersey car, New Jersey truck or New Jersey SUV’s advertised price & that provided via a subsequent offer.
• A New Jersey car, New Jersey truck and New Jersey SUV New Jersey buyer placed a phone order with an New Jersey used car dealer but never executed a New Jersey contract for the New Jersey car, New Jersey truck and New Jersey SUV’s purchase.
• New Jersey buyers of a New Jersey home infested with termites brought a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claim against various parties, including the seller’s real estate broker. Since the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act granted a remedy to any person suffering any New Jersey ascertainable loss caused by a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation, claimants were entitled to relief for losses sustained from the selling broker’s concealment of termite damage.
• A builder failed to construct a house on New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiffs’ lot & after the construction stalled, the property owners sued the builder for damages. At a proof hearing, New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiffs failed to establish the existence of an enforceable contract.
• Residents of a development’s second phase brought New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claims against a builder & bank for flooding of second phase property caused by development of third phase authorized after alleged misrepresentations & omissions to the planning board. The alleged New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations were committed “in connection with the New Jersey sale of real estate” & sufficient nexus existed between alleged misrepresentations & flooding.
• New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claims against successor landlord stepping into shoes of the original landlord that contracted with the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claimants were viable, notwithstanding the fact that the claims arose after the New Jersey consumers’ tenancies commenced.

WHAT REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE TO NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD VICTIMS?
• Cancellation or New Jersey fraudulent debts.
• New Jersey Consumer Fraud treble damages for New Jersey ascertainable loss of money or property caused by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
• New Jersey attorney’s fee award for prosecuting the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation or defending against lawsuits by contractors to collect a fraudulent debt.
• New Jersey Consumer Fraud refund of money lost due to the contractor’s New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.

ARE NEW JERSEY CONTRACTS THAT VIOLATE THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT ABLE TO BE CANCELLED?
• New Jersey contracts that violate the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and New Jersey debts that are caused by violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act may be cancelled by a New Jersey court. Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, fraudulent debts are subject to cancellation via the equitable relief afforded to New Jersey Consumer Fraud victims.
• If a merchant violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act so as to render the contract unenforceable, the merchant is typically precluded from recovering any profit for the services rendered & instead, might only recover via quantum meruit, if at all.
• Even recovery via quantum meruit is questionable, as those who commit New Jersey Consumer Fraud should not profit from their misconduct.
• Before filing suit on behalf of a merchant seeking to collect debts that may be the product of New Jersey Consumer Fraud, attorneys should warn their clients in writing of the possibility that, if the debt is found to be the product of New Jersey Consumer Fraud, the suit may result in their:
o recovering nothing or far less than the amount sought;
o facing a judgment for their New Jersey consumer’s fees & costs in defending the collection action, regardless of proof of any New Jersey ascertainable loss ; &
o Facing New Jersey Consumer Fraud treble damages for causally related New Jersey ascertainable loss.

WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF NEW JERSEY DEBTS THAT ARE NOT ABLE TO BE COLLECTED BECAUSE THE BUSINESS OWED THE DEBT VIOLATED THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT?
The following are some examples of New Jersey debts that are not able to be collected because the business owed the debt violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act:
• Temporary help service firm not registered as a temporary help service firm with the Attorney General, sued another temporary help service firm for breach of contract for failure to pay for the first firm’s subcontractors’ services.
• NJ corporation recruiting & placing temporary computer consultants which was not registered as a temporary help service firm with the Attorney General, entered into an employment agreement with a computer consultant & sued him when he left the job.
• Mechanic’s efforts to collect on an outstanding bill via a counterclaim. Notwithstanding complete good-faith in performance, mechanic committed per se New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations of the automotive repair New Jersey Consumer Fraud regulations. mechanic’s efforts to collect on an outstanding bill via a counterclaim. Notwithstanding his being an impressive witness & showing complete good-faith in the performance of the parties’ agreement, the mechanic committed per se New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations of the automotive repair New Jersey Consumer Fraud regulations & the New Jersey consumer recovered New Jersey Consumer Fraud treble damages, fees & costs.
• Unlicensed landscape irrigation contractor sued to collect an unpaid bill for a sprinkling system. The collection complaint was dismissed & the New Jersey consumer obtained a New Jersey Consumer Fraud refund & an award of fees & costs.
• Owner of cleaning & restoration franchise specializing in mitigating damage following a fire or flood filed a collection action. New Jersey Consumer Fraud plaintiff’s failure to provide a written estimate & obtain a written authorization placed the cost of his services in doubt.

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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