LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS
paul@newjerseylemon.com
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New Jersey Home Improvement Practice Rules Violations

INTRODUCTION
Read below to learn more about this topic. Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send him an email. Warning – this article does not necessarily include every New Jersey court rule, code or law that may apply to your New Jersey case! The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other laws. Before taking any action, read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney. Court addresses, hours of operation and directions may change so check with the court in advance of mailing documents to court or going there! Some of the webpages on this site don’t apply to all types of New Jersey cases, since there are different rules for different case types!

NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR FRAUD REGULATION VIOLATION FAQs

WHAT ARE NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR FRAUD REGULATION VIOLATIONS?
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and its regulations regulate certain New Jersey home repair contractors that sell New Jersey home repair services to New Jersey homeowners. New Jersey Consumer Fraud in New Jersey home repair contracts is a very serious problem, causing many New Jersey homeowners financial losses and inconvenience. To fight the commission of New Jersey consumer fraud in New Jersey home repair contracts, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs adopted New Jersey consumer fraud regulations that regulate New Jersey home repair contractors.

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT UNDER THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS?
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, "Home improvement" means the remodeling, altering, painting, repairing, renovating, restoring, moving, demolishing, or modernizing of residential or noncommercial property or the making of additions thereto, and includes, but is not limited to, the construction, installation, replacement, improvement, or repair of driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, patios, landscaping,fences, porches, windows, doors, cabinets, kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements and basement waterproofing, fire protection devices, security protection devices, central heating and air conditioning equipment, water softeners, heaters, and purifiers, solar heating or water systems, insulation installation, siding, wall-to-wall carpeting or attached or inlaid floor coverings, and other changes, repairs, or improvements made in or on, attached to or forming a part of the residential
or noncommercial property, but does not include the construction of a new residence. The term extends
to the conversion of existing commercial structures into residential or noncommercial property
and includes any of the above activities performed under emergency conditions.

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT UNDER THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS?
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, "Home improvement contract" means an oral or written agreement between a seller and an owner of residential or noncommercial property, or a seller and a tenant or lessee of residential or noncommercial property, if the tenant or lessee is to be obligated for the payment of home improvements made in, to, or upon such property, and includes all agreements under which the seller is to perform labor or render services for home improvements, or furnish materials in connection therewith.

TO WHAT TYPES OF PROPERTIES DO THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS APPLY?
The New Jersey home improvement regulations apply to "residential or non-commercial property" which means a structure used, in whole or in substantial part, as a home or place of residence by any natural person, whether or not a single or multi-unit structure, and that part of the lot or site on which it is situated and which is devoted to the residential use of the structure, and includes all appurtenant structures.

WHO IS A SALES REPRESENTATIVE UNDER THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS?
"Sales representative" means a person employed by or contracting with a seller for the purpose
of selling home improvements.

WHO IS A SELLER REPRESENTATIVE UNDER THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS?
"Seller" means a person engaged in the business of making or selling home improvements and
includes corporations, partnerships, associations and any other form of business organization or
entity, and their officers, representatives, agents and employees.

HOW DOES A NEW JERSEY HOME IMROVEMENT CONTRACTOR VIOLATE THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS?
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, utilization by a seller of the following acts and practices involving the sale, attempted sale, advertisement or performance of New Jersey home improvements shall be unlawful. The following are some examples of actions by a New Jersey home improvement contractor that violate the New Jersey Home Improvement Regulations.

MODEL HOME MISREPRESENTATIONS BY A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, the New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot misrepresent or falsely state to a prospective buyer that the buyer's residential or noncommercial property is to serve as a "model" or "advertising job", or use any other prospective buyer lure to mislead the New Jersey homeowner into believing that a price reduction or other compensation will be received by reason of such representations.

PRODUCT AND MATERIAL MISREPRESENTATIONS BY A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, the New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot misrepresent directly or by implication that products or materials to be used in the home improvement:
i. Need no periodic repainting, finishing, maintenance or other service;
ii. Are of a specific or well-known brand name, or are produced by a specific manufacturer
or exclusively distributed by the seller;
iii. Are of a specific size, weight, grade or quality, or possess any other distinguishing characteristics
or features;
iv. Perform certain functions or substitute for, or are equal in performance to, other products
or materials;
v. Meet or exceed municipal, state, federal, or other applicable standards or requirements;
vi. Are approved or recommended by any governmental agency, person, firm or organization,
or that they are the users of such products or materials;
vii. Are of sufficient size, capacity, character or nature to do the job expected or represented;
viii. Are or will be custom-built or specially designed for the needs of the New Jersey homeowner; or
ix. May be serviced or repaired within the New Jersey homeowner's immediate trade area, or be maintained with replacement and repair parts which are readily available.

BAIT SELLING BY A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot offer or represent specific products or materials as being for sale, where the purpose or
effect of the offer or representation is not to sell as represented but to bait or entice the
buyer into the purchase of other or higher priced substitute products or materials.

DISPARAGING, DEGRADING OR OTHERWISE DISCOURAGING THE PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS OR MATERIALS OFFERED OR REPRESENTED BY THE SELLER AS BEING FOR SALE BY A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot disparage, degrade or otherwise discourage the purchase of products or materials offered
or represented by the seller as being for sale to induce the New Jersey homeowner to purchase
other or higher priced substitute products or materials.

REFUSAL TO SHOW, DEMONSTRATE OR SELL BY A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot refuse to show, demonstrate or sell products or materials as advertised, offered, or represented
as being for sale.

SUBSTITUTION OF PRODUCTS OR MATERIALS BY A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot substitute products or materials for those specified in the home improvement contract,
or otherwise represented or sold for use in the making of home improvements by sample,
illustration or model, without the knowledge or consent of the New Jersey homeowner.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S FAILURE TO HAVE PRODUCT MEET DEMANDS
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot Fail to have available a quantity of the advertised product sufficient to meet reasonably
anticipated demands or misrepresent that certain products or materials are unavailable or that there will be a long delay in their manufacture, delivery, service or installation in order to induce a
buyer to purchase other or higher priced substitute products or materials from the seller.

DECEPTIVELY GAINING ENTRY INTO A HOME BY A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot deceptively gain entry into the prospective buyer's home or onto the New Jersey homeowner's property under the guise of any governmental or public utility inspection, or otherwise misrepresent
that the seller has any official right, duty or authority to conduct an inspection.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S MISREPRESENTATIONS THAT OTHERS WILL ASSUME OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot misrepresent that the seller is an employee, office or representative of a manufacturer,
importer or any other person, firm or organization, or a member of any trade association, or that such person, firm or organization will assume some obligation in fulfilling the terms of the New Jersey home improvement contract.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S MISREPRESENTATIONS AS TO STATUS AUTHORITY OR POSITION IN AN ORGANIZATION
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot misrepresent the status, authority or position of the sales representative in the organization
he represents.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S MISREPRESENTATIONS AS TO RELATIONSHIP TO PARTICULAR SELLER
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot misrepresent that the sales representative is an employee or representative of or works
exclusively for a particular seller.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S MISREPRESENTATIONS AS TO AFFILIATION WITH GOVERNMENT OR PUBLIC AGENCY
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot misrepresent that the seller is part of any governmental or public agency in any printed
or oral communication including but not limited to leaflets, tracts or other printed material,
or that any licensing denotes approval by the governmental agency.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S MISREPRESENTATIONS AS TO GIFT OFFERS
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot offer or advertise any gift, free item or bonus without fully disclosing the terms or conditions
of the offer, including expiration date of the offer and when the gift, free item or bonus will be given or
fail to comply with the terms of such offer.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S PRICE AND FINANCING MISREPRESENTATIONS
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot:
i. Misrepresent to a prospective buyer that an introductory, confidential, close-out, going
out of business, factory, wholesale, or any other special price or discount is being given,
or that any other concession is made because of a market survey or test, use of materials
left over from another job, or any other reason;
ii. Misrepresent that any person, firm or organization, whether or not connected with the
seller, is especially interested in seeing that the prospective buyer gets a bargain, special
price, discount or any other benefit or concession;
iii. Misrepresent or mislead the prospective buyer into believing that insurance or some
other form of protection will be furnished to relieve the New Jersey homeowner from obligations under the
contract if the New Jersey homeowner becomes ill, dies or is unable to make payments;
iv. Misrepresent or mislead the New Jersey homeowner into believing that no obligation will be incurred because of the signing of any document, or that the New Jersey homeowner will be relieved of some or all obligations under the New Jersey home improvement contract by the signing of any documents;
v. Request the New Jersey homeowner to sign a certificate of completion, or make final payment on the New Jersey home improvement contract before the home improvement is completed in accordance with the terms of the
contract;
vi. Misrepresent or fail to disclose that the offered or contract price does not include delivery
or installation, or that other requirements must be fulfilled by the New Jersey homeowner as a condition
to the performance of labor, services, or the furnishing of products or materials at
the offered or contract price;
vii. Mislead the prospective buyer into believing that the down payment or any other sum
constitutes the full amount the New Jersey homeowner will be obligated to pay;
viii. Misrepresent or fail to disclose that the offered or contract price does not include all financing
charges, interest service charges, credit investigation costs, building or installation
permit fees, or other obligations, charges, cost or fees to be paid by the New Jersey homeowner;
ix. Advise or induce the New Jersey homeowner to inflate the value of the New Jersey homeowner's property or assets, or to misrepresent or falsify the New Jersey homeowner's true financial position in order to obtain credit; or x. Increase or falsify the New Jersey home improvement contract price, or induce the New Jersey homeowner by any means to misrepresent or falsify the New Jersey home improvement contract price or value of the home improvement for financing purposes or to obtain additional credit.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S NONPERFORMANCE OF CERTAIN OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot:
i. Deliver materials, begin work, or use any similar tactic to unduly pressure the New Jersey homeowner into a home improvement contract, or make any claim or assertion that a binding contract
has been agreed upon where no final agreement or understanding exists;
ii. Fail to begin or complete work on the date or within the time period specified in the
home improvement contract, or as otherwise represented, unless the delay is for reason
of labor stoppage; unavailability of supplies or materials, unavoidable casualties, or any
other cause beyond the seller's control. Any changes in the dates or time periods stated
in a written contract shall be agreed to in writing; or
iii. Fail to give timely written notice to the New Jersey homeowner of reasons beyond the seller's control for any delay in performance, and when the work will begin or be completed.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S DISPARAGEMENT OF COMPETITORS
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot:
i. Misrepresent that the work of a competitor was performed by the seller;
ii. Misrepresent that the seller's products, materials or workmanship are equal to or better
than those of a competitor; or
iii. Use or imitate the trademarks, trade names, labels or other distinctive marks of a competitor.
9. Sales representations:
i. Misrepresent or mislead the New Jersey homeowner into believing that a purchase will aid or help some
public, charitable, religious, welfare or veterans' organization, or misrepresent the extent
of such aid or assistance;
ii. Knowingly fail to make any material statement of fact, qualification or explanation if the
omission of such statement, qualification or explanation causes an advertisement, announcement,
statement or representation to be false, deceptive or misleading; or
iii. Misrepresent that the customer's present equipment, material, product, home or a part
thereof is dangerous or defective, or in need of repair or replacement.

A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR’S OBLIGATIONS PERTAINING TO PERMITS
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement contractor cannot:
i. commence work until he is sure that all applicable state or local building and construction permits have been issued as required under state laws or local ordinances; or
ii. Where midpoint or final inspections are required under state laws or local ordinances,
copies of inspection certificates shall be furnished to the New Jersey homeowner by the seller when construction is completed and before final payment is due or the signing of a completion slip
is requested of the New Jersey homeowner.

MANDATORY WARRANTY DISCLOSURES BY NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, a New Jersey home improvement seller shall furnish the New Jersey homeowner a written copy of all guarantees or warranties made
with respect to labor services, products or materials furnished in connection with home
improvements. Such guarantees or warranties shall be specific, clear and definite and
shall include any exclusions or limitations as to their scope or duration. Copies of all
guarantees or warranties shall be furnished to the New Jersey homeowner at the time the seller presents
his bid as well as at the time of execution of the New Jersey home improvement contract, except that separate guarantees
or warranties of the manufacturer of products or materials may be furnished at the
time such products or materials are installed.

REQUIREMENT THAT CERTAIN NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTS BE IN WRITING
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, all home improvement contracts for a purchase price in excess of $500.00, and all changes in the terms and conditions thereof shall be in writing. Home improvement contracts which are required by this subsection to be in writing, and all changes in the terms and conditions thereof, shall be signed by all parties thereto, and shall clearly and accurately set forth in legible form and in understandable language all terms and conditions of the New Jersey home improvement contract, including, but not limited to, the following:
i. The legal name and business address of the seller, including the legal name and business
address of the sales representative or agent who solicited or negotiated the New Jersey home improvement contract
for the seller;
ii. A description of the work to be done and the principal products and materials to be used
or installed in performance of the New Jersey home improvement contract. The description shall include, where applicable,
the name, make, size, capacity, model, and model year of principal products or fixtures
to be installed, and the type, grade, quality, size or quantity of principal building or
construction materials to be used. Where specific representations are made that certain
types of products or materials will be used, or the New Jersey homeowner has specified that certain types
of products are to be used, a description of such products or materials shall be clearly
set forth in the New Jersey home improvement contract;
iii. The total price or other consideration to be paid by the New Jersey homeowner, including all finance
charges. If the New Jersey home improvement contract is one for time and materials, the hourly rate for labor and all
other terms and conditions of the New Jersey home improvement contract affecting price shall be clearly stated;
iv. The dates or time period on or within which the work is to begin and be completed by
the seller;
v. A description of any mortgage or security interest to be taken in connection with the financing
or sale of the home improvement; and
vi. A statement of any guarantee or warranty with respect to any products, materials, labor
or services made by the seller.

MANDATORY DISCLOSURES AND OBLIGATIONS CONCERNING PRESERVATION OF BUYERS' CLAIMS AND DEFENSES
Under the New Jersey home improvement regulations, If a person other than the New Jersey home improvement seller is to act as the general contractor or assume responsibility for performance of the New Jersey home improvement contract, the name and address of such person shall be disclosed in the oral or written contract, except as otherwise agreed, and the New Jersey home improvement contract shall not be sold or assigned without the written consent of the New Jersey homeowner. No New Jersey home improvement contract shall require or entail the execution of any note, unless such note shall have conspicuously printed thereon the disclosures required by either State law (N.J.S.A. 17:16C-64.2 (consumer note)) or Federal law (16 C.F.R. section 433.2) concerning the preservation of buyers' claims and defenses.

WHAT PENALTIES DO NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTORS FACE IF THEY VIOLATE THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS?
It is an unlawful practice and a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation to violate any provision of the New Jersey Home Improvement Regulations. The following are some of the remedies that New Jersey home repair fraud victims may be entitled to under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act:
• Cancellation of fraudulent debts.
• Treble damages for ascertainable loss of money or property caused by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
• Attorney’s fee award for prosecuting the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation or defending against lawsuits by contractors to collect a fraudulent debt.
• Refund of money lost due to the New Jersey home improvement contractor’s New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.

In the typical New Jersey home repair breach of contract case that does not involve New Jersey consumer fraud, where a New Jersey homeowner prevents a New Jersey home repair contractor from completing the New Jersey home improvement contracted work under the New Jersey home repair contract, the New Jersey home repair contractor may be entitled to recover legal damages. But if a New Jersey home repair contract violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act or the New Jersey Home Improvement Regulations, so as to make the New Jersey home repair contract unenforceable, the New Jersey home repair contract may be prevented from collecting some or even all of the unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill. Consult with a New Jersey lawyer to find out if you qualify for that type of relief against a New Jersey home repair contractor.

EXAMPLES OF NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR CASES IN WHICH THE NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR WAS PREVENTED FROM RECOVERING A NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACT BILL BECAUSE THE NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR COMMITTED NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD VIOLATIONS
The following are examples of New Jersey cases where New Jersey home repair contractors failed to collect on their New Jersey home repair contracts because they committed New Jersey consumer fraud violations:
• An unlicensed landscape irrigation New Jersey home repair contractor sued a New Jersey homeowner to collect an unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill for a sprinkling system and the New Jersey homeowner countersued the New Jersey home repair contractor, alleging that the New Jersey home repair contract was not enforceable because the New Jersey home repair contractor violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
• An owner of a cleaning and restoration franchise specializing in mitigating damage following a fire or flood filed a New Jersey collection lawsuit against New Jersey homeowners and they countersued the New Jersey home repair contractor. The New Jersey court found that the New Jersey home repair contractor caused the dispute and therefore that the New Jersey home repair contractor was not allowed to collect the unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill.
• A New Jersey home repair contractor sued a New Jersey homeowner to collect an unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill. But because the New Jersey home repair contractor failed to display its New Jersey home repair contractor registration number on the New Jersey home repair contract, on most invoices and change orders, failed to display the Division of Consumer Affairs’ toll-free number on its documents and failed to put every change order in writing, the New Jersey home repair contract bill was uncollectible.
• A New Jersey home repair contractor sued a New Jersey homeowner to collect an unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill and the New Jersey homeowner countersued the New Jersey home repair contractor because the work was shoddy. Thereafter, the New Jersey court found that not only was the New Jersey home repair contractor’s work shoddy but that the New Jersey home repair contractor violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The New Jersey home repair contractor was prevented from recovering the unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill. 
 

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