NJ ILLEGAL HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTS
New Jersey has some of the strictest consumer protection laws in the nation. That said, NJ is nationally notorious for having disproportionate share of crooked and/or negligent construction businesses, a number of which are "fly-by-night" outfits that rob people of their savings. How many times have you walked down the street and seen shoddy concrete or cement work that cracks weeks after installation? Don't be a victim! Before you sign a construction or home improvement contract, be sure you know your rights.
There are a number of technical, contractual formalities that all construction companies must follow when they want to do business in this state.
1. The NJ Administrative Code, 13:45A-16.1 to 16.2 (Home Improvement Practices) and the NJ Administrative Code 13:45A-17 (Home Improvement Contractor Registration), requires that all home improvement contracts for more than $500, as well as any and all changes to the terms of said contracts, be in writing and include extensive disclosures. If a company fails to comply with the code, its a violation of the NJ Consumer Fraud Act. The Penalties for such a violation can include a refund of all money collected (NJ Statutes 56:8-2.11 or treble damages plus legal fees (NJ Statutes 56:8-19).
2. If a company fails to disclaim warranties under NJ Statutes 12A:2-316, an implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose will be created. Such a warranty means that the business must ensure that their goods are reasonably fit for the general purpose for which they are sold. You can't enter into a contract for one thing, and then get something else entirely.
3. Additional Fines:
a. Omission of the notice required by NJSA 17:16C-63 (home repair financing) can result in a $500 fine and may bar recovery of finance charges.
b. Omission of the notice required by NJSA 17:16C-100 (home repair) risks a fine of $500 and makes the contractor liable for the owner's attorney fees.
c. Failure to make federal truth-in-lending disclosures requires restitution of the overcharge.
d. Failure to include the disclosures required by 12 Code of Federal Regulations 226.15 extends the right of rescission to three years (rather than three days).
e. Omitting insulation disclosures required by 16 Code of Federal Regulations 460 can result in an $11,000 fine.
If you live in South Jersey and have been the victim of an illegal construction contract, then contact my office immediately for a free consultation. I treat every client with extra-special care and go over the evidence and facts of their case, in-depth, so that no stone is unturned in their legal case.