Law Office Of Paul DePetris
paul@newjerseylemon.com

Repair Fraud Examples

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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of the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other federal or state law. This database may include laws that: (1) never became operable due to unmet conditions; (2) expired; (3) were repealed or amended; (4) were declared void by a court of law; (5) or are otherwise invalid.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!

NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR FRAUD EXAMPLES

WHAT NEW JERSEY CONSUMER LAWS AND NEW JERSEY CONSUMER REGULATIONS APPLY TO NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTORS AND NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS?
• New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act regulates New Jersey home improvement/repair contracts with one statutory subsection & two administrative code subsections, as follows: (1) New Jersey Contractor Registration Act; (2) New Jersey Contractor Registration Regulations; & (3) New Jersey home improvement Practices Regulations.

WHAT TYPE OF NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR SERVICES AND NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT SERVICES ARE COVERED BY THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT LAWS AND REGULATIONS?
• landscaping services.
• cleaning & restoration services, such as fire or flood mitigation work.
• manager of real estate investment & management companies who: (1) located properties for companies to purchase; (2) oversaw renovations; (3) hired subcontractors; & (4) managed the company’s rental properties.
• contractor other than home builder in direct privity with homeowner.
• contractor claiming homeowners acted as their own general contractor, when the contractor: (1) prepared the contract between the parties; (2) agreed to perform New Jersey home improvements at the homeowners’ residence; (3) was listed as “Contractor” & indicated that contractor would “furnish all materials & necessary equipment & perform all labor necessary to complete the ... work;” & (4) “precluded ‘any alteration or deviation from the plans & specification’ without written orders for same.”
• unoccupied property having both residential & commercial uses.
• Homeowner contracting directly with building contractor to perform a New Jersey home improvement, without engaging the services of a general contractor.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTS AND NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTS?
• Secure, maintain & file with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs proof of a certificate of commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $500,000.00 per occurrence.
• prominently display their registration numbers in various locations & in various materials, including in contracts.
• Use/issue documents prominently containing the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs toll-free telephone number for consumers making inquiries regarding contractors.
• For every New Jersey home improvement contract for a purchase price in excess of $500, & all changes in the terms & conditions of the contract, use written contracts containing the mandatory disclosure requirements of the New Jersey Contractors’ Registration Act and New Jersey home improvement Practices Regulations, including the notice of the consumer’s right to cancel.

CUSTOMER HAS THE RIGHT TO CANCEL A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT AND A NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACT
• On or after December 31, 2005, the consumer may cancel a New Jersey home improvement contract for any reason at any time before midnight of the third business day after the consumer receives a copy of it.
• To cancel a contract, the consumer shall notify the contractor of the cancellation in writing, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested or by personal delivery, to the address specified in the contract.
• Within 30 days of receiving the cancellation, the contractor must make a full refund of all moneys paid pursuant to the cancelled contract.
• If the consumer executed any credit or loan agreement through the contractor to pay all or part of the contract, the agreement or note shall be cancelled without penalty to the consumer & written notice of that cancellation shall be mailed to the consumer within 30 days of receipt of the notice of cancellation.

WHAT REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE TO NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACT FRAUD VICTIMS AND NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT FRAUD VICTIMS?
• 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 contractor’s New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.

EXAMPLES OF NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR FRAUD CASES
Attorney’s fees awarded against New Jersey home repair contractor for failing to include start and completion dates in contract – A New Jersey home repair contractor’s contract with New Jersey homeowners for the renovation of a Victorian home failed to set forth the work start and completion dates. The New Jersey home repair job that began in late summer could not be finished before winter set in, and a small portion of the work had to be carried over to the following year. The New Jersey court found that failure to set forth starting and completion dates was a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud regulations. Even though the New Jersey court found that the New Jersey homeowners suffered no damages as a result of the information missing in the New Jersey home repair contract, the New Jersey court allowed the New Jersey homeowners to recover an award of reasonable attorneys' fees, filing fees, and reasonable costs of suit.

Installer of kitchen cabinets in new home can be held responsible for New Jersey Consumer Fraud – New Jersey homeowners hired a general contractor to construct a new home and contracted with a second contractor (the New Jersey home repair contractor) who was not acting as a subcontractor of the general contractor, to install custom kitchen cabinets, interior doors, a front door, and certain moldings at the home. After a dispute arose between the New Jersey homeowners and the New Jersey home repair contractor regarding payment and timing of work, each filed complaints against the other. The New Jersey court concluded that the New Jersey home repair contractor was indeed a “seller” of a “home improvement” as defined in home improvement regulations and thus, subject to the regulations and to the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

New Jersey home repair contractor suing New Jersey homeowners faces countersuit and court finds contractor committed New Jersey Consumer Fraud – A New Jersey home repair contractor sued New Jersey homeowners for the balance due on a New Jersey home repair contract and they counterclaimed alleging a New Jersey Consumer Fraud claim. The New Jersey home repair contractor’s complaint for money due for the New Jersey home repairs was dismissed and the New Jersey court found that the New Jersey home repair contractor committed New Jersey Consumer Fraud and awarded the New Jersey homeowners $22,146.14 in treble damages, attorney's fees.

Landscape irrigation contractor commits New Jersey Consumer Fraud – A landscape irrigation contractor brought a lawsuit against its customer, seeking the balance due on sprinkler installation contract and the New Jersey home repair customer counterclaimed, alleging violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The New Jersey court ruled that the New Jersey home repair contractor violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, was not entitled to enforce the New Jersey home repair contract and had to pay the New Jersey home repair customer a refund and attorney’s fees. On September 15, 2004, Michael Finnegan, the owner of the company, prepared and presented for signature a document entitled “Irrigation Contract Proposal.” The New Jersey home repair proposal was signed on or about September 29, 2004, by both Finnegan, owner of the New Jersey home repair contractor company and the New Jersey home repair customer. The New Jersey home repair contract was entered for the purpose of the installation of a sprinkler irrigation system in the New Jersey home repair customer's back yard. The installation took one day. The New Jersey home repair contract price was $3,500. While the New Jersey home repair contract provided for a deposit of $1,500, the New Jersey home repair customer only paid a $500 deposit. The New Jersey home repair contract price was reduced by $150. The New Jersey home repair contractor claimed it was because the New Jersey home repair customer insisted on performing the system connection to the house and the New Jersey home repair customer says the reduction had nothing to do with the connection, but was simply a negotiated reduction of price. The New Jersey home repair contractor sought $2,850 from the New Jersey home repair customer. The New Jersey home repair contract was silent as to whether the New Jersey home repair contractor or any of its employees were licensed. The New Jersey home repair customer was not aware of the requirement for a license or certificate until after the system was installed. The New Jersey home repair customer did not pay the New Jersey home repair contractor after the system was installed because he believed that the New Jersey home repair contractor did not fulfill the terms of the New Jersey home repair contract. The New Jersey home repair contractor installed five sprinkler zones but the New Jersey home repair customer interpreted the New Jersey home repair contract as requiring the installation of nine zones. Item 1 under the New Jersey home repair contract stated: “Automatic Controller, Nine Zone LXI plus (Rainbird).” As it turned out, the New Jersey home repair contractor installed an eight-zone Rainbird controller. The controller became an issue in the case. The New Jersey home repair customer specifically wanted a nine-zone LXI Rainbird brand controller. Rainbird only makes an eight-zone or twelve-zone controller. The distinction between the capacity of the controller and the number of zones actually to be installed was not made clear in the New Jersey home repair contract and was not understood by the New Jersey home repair customer. On this point, the credibility of Finnegan was severely tested. Finnegan did not testify in his case-in-chief. In fact, he was not present in the New Jersey courtroom to hear his office manager testify. His office manager testified on the first day of the trial that upon learning a nine-zone Rainbird was not even available she ordered the eight-zone controller on her own because it was closest to nine zones. She did it without consulting the New Jersey home repair customer. She was believable. Finnegan, on the other hand, was somewhat evasive in his testimony. He testified only on rebuttal. To the direct question by the New Jersey court as to who ordered the controller, he said that he did. Finnegan said that he explained to the New Jersey home repair customer that the controller had to be eight zones and not nine. His testimony on this point was not credible, clearly contradicting his office manager. He also tried to give the impression that he was at the New Jersey home repair customer's home during most of the installation, but his installer's testimony hardly mentioned his presence. Clearly, Finnegan's testimony lacked credibility. His explanation that the New Jersey home repair contract called for five zones to be installed was based on Item 2 on the form contract, which stated: “Electric Valves with Boxes 4-7.” Finnegan explained that this meant four to seven zones would be installed because each valve is a zone. While it may be true that each zone has electric valves, this explanation is not included in the New Jersey home repair contract. The New Jersey home repair contract is not clear. Next, the New Jersey home repair customer believed that the system was to provide water to his entire property, including the area on both sides of his driveway. Finnegan said that was not provided for under the New Jersey home repair contract. The New Jersey home repair contract, however, is silent as to the scope of area to which the system would provide water. Thirdly, there was the issue as to who would tie in the system to the house. The New Jersey home repair contract provides that the New Jersey home repair contractor would have that responsibility and would install a new “one-inch ball valve and drain spigot.” It was the New Jersey home repair customer who actually had another contractor make the final connection. The evidence shows that the New Jersey home repair contractor’s installer tried to make the connection on the far side of the water conditioner, but because of low water pressure the New Jersey home repair customer had to have a second contractor make the connection on the well side of the water conditioner. The New Jersey home repair contractor states that the New Jersey home repair customer insisted on the tie-in be on the far side of the water conditioner so that the water would not stain his concrete. Customer denied that. The New Jersey court found that the New Jersey home repair contract called for a nine-zone Rainbird controller, which the defendant wanted and specified. The New Jersey home repair contractor had the obligation not to specify a product that does not exist. He should have informed the New Jersey homeowner in advance of signing the New Jersey home repair contract that such a product as the New Jersey homeowner wanted was not available. In the event that the New Jersey home repair contractor realized that only an eight-zone or twelve-zone controller of that brand was available, a written change order to the New Jersey home repair contract should have been prepared. The New Jersey court noted that the New Jersey home repair contract was prepared by the New Jersey home repair contractor on September 15th and installation did not take place until September 29th, leaving adequate time to renegotiate the New Jersey home repair contract and provide a written change order with the appropriate controller, instead of the nine-zone controller specified in the original contract. The evidence showed that there were two significant changes in the New Jersey home repair contract. The first is, as discussed above, that the controller was changed from a nine-zone to an eight-zone controller. And secondly, there was a change that was testified to by the plaintiff that the connection of the system to the house would no longer be done by the plaintiff as called for in the New Jersey home repair contract. Neither of these two changes was made in writing and thus this constitutes a violation of the regulations. If there had been written changes, the dispute among these parties may never have occurred. In addition, while the New Jersey home repair contract has a starting date, it does not provide for an ending date or a time for performance. The New Jersey home repair contractor, Finnegan, testified that was because the system was installed on the same day as the New Jersey homeowner signed the agreement. The regulations do not provide for such flexibility or discretion for the New Jersey home repair contractor. As the New Jersey home repair contract is written, a contractor could have started the New Jersey home repair job in the morning and left the site not to return until some indefinite period in the future. It is this circumstance, undoubtedly, that the regulations seek to avoid. In summary, the New Jersey court found that the New Jersey home repair contractor violated regulations and thereby violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The New Jersey court also found that the New Jersey home repair contractor was a landscape irrigation contractor and no persons employed by the company held the required certificate. The New Jersey home repair contractor conceded these facts as well. The New Jersey home repair customer argued that the New Jersey home repair contractor, acting contrary to the law undertook an unconscionable and unlawful act by entering into the subject contract contrary to the terms of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and, therefore, that the New Jersey home repair customer was entitled to a refund. The New Jersey court reasoned that to now permit the New Jersey home repair contractor to enforce the New Jersey home repair contract in the face of the unlawful regulatory violations and its failure to operate with the mandated license and recover the unpaid sums otherwise due would strip the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act of the gravitas intended by the Legislature as a remedial statute. Accordingly, the New Jersey court dismissed the New Jersey home repair contractor’s complaint.

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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