Law Office Of Paul DePetris
paul@newjerseylemon.com

What Is Consumer Fraud?

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or forms on this website are the latest versions, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other laws.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

WHAT IS THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT?
Many people ask, what is the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act? New Jersey Consumer Fraud is a very serious problem, causing many Customers financial losses and inconvenience when they unwittingly become Victims. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is a powerful law that regulates Business that sell a variety of goods and services in New Jersey and in some cases, from New Jersey. Many Customers are victims of New Jersey Consumer Fraud. Some New Jersey Consumer Fraud cases involve specific violations of New Jersey regulations or New Jersey laws, while others involve less obvious types of misconduct. Many of us have heard the Latin phrase caveat emptor: “let the buyer beware.” That statement allows little relief to a New Jersey consumer. That statement does not reflect current law in New Jersey. Here, we have a more ethical approach in business dealings with one another. Therefore, each of us may rely on representations made by another in a Business transaction. This approach is reflected in a New Jersey law, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act allows New Jersey plaintiffs to win New Jersey Consumer Fraud triple damages as well as a New Jersey Consumer Fraud refund and other types of nonmonetary relief. Although initially designed to combat "sharp practices and dealings" that victimized consumers by luring them into purchases through fraudulent or deceptive means, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is no longer aimed solely at "shifty, fast-talking and deceptive merchant[s]" but reaches "nonsoliciting artisans" as well. Thus, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is designed to protect the public even when a merchant acts in good faith. Moreover, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act's includes a provision authorizing consumers to bring their own private actions, which is integral to fulfilling the legislative purposes of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The State of New Jersey does not have the resources to fight all New Jersey Consumer Fraud but the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act allows private New Jersey attorneys to represent Customers and to fight for their rights against fraudulent Business.

HOW DOES THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT HELP VICTIMS?
To answer the question what is the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, one must understand how the act helps victims? In 1960, the New Jersey Legislature passed the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act "to permit the New Jersey Attorney General to combat the increasingly widespread practice of defrauding the consumer." The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act conferred on the New Jersey Attorney General the power to investigate New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act complaints and promulgate rules and regulations that have the force of law. In 1971, the New Jersey Legislature amended the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act to "give New Jersey one of the strongest consumer protection laws in the nation." The New Jersey Legislature expanded the definition of "unlawful practice" to include "unconscionable commercial practices" and broadened the New Jersey Attorney General's enforcement powers. That amendment also provided for private causes of action, with an award of treble damages, attorneys' fees, and costs. New Jersey’s government believed that those provisions would provide "easier access to the courts for the consumer, [would] increase the attractiveness of consumer actions to attorneys and [would] also help reduce the burdens on the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs." The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act provides that: (1) The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or the knowing, concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or with the subsequent performance of such person as aforesaid, whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby, is declared to be an unlawful practice; (2) any person who suffers any ascertainable loss of moneys or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by another person of any method, act, or practice declared unlawful under this act may bring an action. In any action under New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act the court shall, in addition to any other appropriate legal or equitable relief, award New Jersey Consumer Fraud triple damages. In all actions under New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act the court shall also provide a New Jersey Consumer Fraud attorney’s fee award of reasonable attorneys' fees, filing fees and reasonable costs of suit. New Jersey courts have emphasized that like most remedial legislation, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act should be construed liberally in favor of consumers. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is broad remedial legislation enacted for the protection of consumers of a variety of goods and services, and its history has been marked by the constant expansion of consumer protection.

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

NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD REFUNDS
To answer the question what is the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, one must understand something about consumer fraud refunds. In addition to allowing Victims to recover New Jersey Consumer Fraud treble damages, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act focuses on allowing individual consumers to recover New Jersey Consumer Fraud refunds for losses caused by New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations Any person violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act shall be liable for a New Jersey Consumer Fraud refund of all moneys acquired by means of any practice declared in the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act to be unlawful. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud refund of moneys may be recovered in a private action.

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

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT VIOLATIONS?
To answer the question what is the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, one must understand something about the types of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations. There are three possible types of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations. Two New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violations are violations of section 2 of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act; the third New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation is derived from either specific-situation New Jersey law violations or New Jersey Consumer Fraud regulation violations. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act itself declares two general categories of conduct as unlawful. The first category of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation makes “any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise or misrepresentation” unlawful. These are considered affirmative acts. The second category of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation involves the “knowing concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact.” These are considered conduct by omission. The third New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation involves either a specific-situation New Jersey law or administrative regulations enacted to interpret the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act itself. Such New Jersey law and regulations define specific conduct prohibited by law.


WHAT ARE PER SE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT VIOLATIONS?
To answer the question what is the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, one must understand something about per se violations. The third type of basis for liability under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act involves either a specific-situation New Jersey law or administrative regulations enacted to interpret the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act itself. Such New Jersey law and regulations define specific conduct prohibited by law. A per se New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation occurs when a New Jersey merchant violates a specific-situation New Jersey law or New Jersey Consumer Fraud administrative regulations.

NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION VIOLATIONS
To answer the question what is the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, one must understand something about regulatory violations. The following are examples of potential New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act administrative regulations:
SUBCHAPTER 1 - DECEPTIVE MAIL ORDER PRACTICES
SUBCHAPTER 2 - MOTOR VEHICLE ADVERTISING PRACTICES
SUBCHAPTER 3 - SALE OF MEAT AT RETAIL
SUBCHAPTER 4 - BANNED HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS
SUBCHAPTER 5 - DELIVERY OF HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE & FURNISHINGS
SUBCHAPTER 6 - DECEPTIVE PRACTICES CONCERNING AUTOMOTIVE SALES PRACTICES
SUBCHAPTER 7 - DECEPTIVE PRACTICES CONCERNING AUTOMOTIVE REPAIRS AND
ADVERTISING
SUBCHAPTER 8 - TIRE DISTRIBUTORS AND DEALERS
SUBCHAPTER 9 - MERCHANDISE ADVERTISING
SUBCHAPTER 10 - SERVICING & REPAIRING OF HOME APPLIANCES
SUBCHAPTER 11 - (RESERVED)
SUBCHAPTER 12 - SALE OF ANIMALS
SUBCHAPTER 13 - POWERS TO BE EXERCISED BY COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL OFFICERS OF
CONSUMER AFFAIRS
SUBCHAPTER 14 - UNIT PRICING OF CONSUMER COMMODITIES IN RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS
SUBCHAPTER 15 - DISCLOSURE OF REFUND POLICY IN RETAIL ESTABLISHMENT
SUBCHAPTER 16 - HOME IMPROVEMENT PRACTICES
SUBCHAPTER 17 - SALE OF ADVERTISING IN JOURNALS RELATING OR PURPORTING TO
RELATE TO POLICE, FIREFIGHTING OR CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS
SUBCHAPTER 18 - PLAIN LANGUAGE REVIEW
SUBCHAPTER 19 - (RESERVED)
SUBCHAPTER 20 - RESALE OF TICKETS OF ADMISSION TO PLACES OF ENTER¬TAINMENT
SUBCHAPTER 21 - REPRESENTATIONS CONCERNING AND REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SALE OF
KOSHER FOOD
SUBCHAPTER 22 - INSPECTIONS OF KOSHER MEAT DEALERS AND KOSHER POULTRY
DEALERS; RECORDS REQUIRED TO BE MAINTAINED BY KOSHER MEAT DEALERS AND
KOSHER POULTRY DEALERS
SUBCHAPTER 23 - DECEPTIVE PRACTICES CONCERNING WATERCRAFT REPAIR

NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD LAW VIOLATIONS
The following are examples of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act law violations:
56:8-2.1 Operation simulating governmental agency
56:8-2.2 Scheme not to sell as advertised
56:8-2.3 Notification of prize winner
56:8-2.4 Picturing assembled merchandise
56:8-2.5 Selling item without price label
56:8-2.7 False solicitation of contribution
56:8-2.8 Going out of business sale
56:8-2.9 Misrepresentation of food
56:8-2.14 Refund Policy Disclosure Act
56:8-2.22 Providing copy of contract to consumer
56:8-2.23 Soliciting used goods
56:8-21 Unit Price Disclosure Act
56:8-26 Resale of tickets

 

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