Consumer Fraud & Consumer Protection
Consumer Fraud and Consumer Protection laws stand for the idea that consumers should be able to trust what a business tells them whether verbally or in writing. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) is one of the strongest consumer laws in the nation The CFA prohibits fraud, deception, misrepresentation, omissions, and unconscionable commercial practices in a consumer transaction. The law applies to any size of business–the large retailer, the small business, or even a single-person business. Almost any transaction is covered by the CFA, including the advertisement or sale of goods, merchandise, real estate, financial transactions, and services.
If you are a victim under the Consumer Fraud Act, you may be entitled to up to three times your actual damages, plus your attorney's fees and costs. This allows the firm to take your case on contingency, meaning that the firm may be able to represent you at no cost to you.Do I have a Claim under the Consumer Fraud Act?
Because the CFA covers such a wide variety of business practices, you may find it hard to know whether you are a victim of consumer fraud. If you believe that a business deceived or cheated you, please contact the law firm for a free consultation. A skilled attorney will evaluate your claim and explain your options. Please review the firm's Practice Areas and the examples below for ways that businesses violate your rights as a consumer.
- Health Club/Fitness Center Memberships
When you join a health club or fitness center, the contract must be in writing and signed by you. The health club must give you a copy of the contract. If you purchase other services from the health club, such as sessions with a personal trainer, then you must have a written contract for those, too.
Ways Health Clubs Violate the Consumer Fraud Act
Health Clubs/Fitness Centers are required to have certain provisions in the contract you sign with them. Any of the following are ways that your contract may violate the CFA.
- Runs for more than three years.
- Fails to properly state your 3-Day Right to Cancel after you sign up.
- Fails to properly state out your right to end the contract under certain conditions, such as a change in your health that prevents you from using the membership or if you move more than 25 miles away from the nearest affiliated club.
- Contains a termination procedure that is so difficult or burdensome that it constitutes an unfair commercial practice.
- Fails to show the New Jersey Certificate of Registration number in the upper right-hand corner of the contract.
- Home Appliance Repair and Servicing
When you need repairs or servicing to home appliances (air conditioners, large and small kitchen appliances, washers, dryers, electronic equipment, stove and oven, to name a few), the repair/servicing business must tell you the cost of the service call or any diagnostic charges, before you commit to any expense. After the repair/servicing business has diagnosed the problem, you must receive a written itemized estimate of the labor and parts necessary to make the repairs for you to sign.Ways Repair Businesses Violate the Consumer Fraud Act
- Except for the diagnostic work to which you agreed, the repair/servicing business starts to work on the appliance before you have signed a written estimate. If you are unavailable to sign, the business must advise you of the estimate and receive your verbal consent before starting the repairs.
- Making deceptive or misleading statements, such as false or unrealistic promises, and groundless estimates to persuade you to authorize the repair.
- Charging you more than the written estimate without your consent