Under federal and state law, consumers are protected against deceptive business practices, such as fraud, false promises, or misrepresentation related to the sale of goods, real estate, or services. In 1960, New Jersey enacted the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA) to extend this legal protection to corporations and businesses, as well as increased penalties for parties that commit consumer fraud.
NJFCA covers a wide variety of commercial areas, including:
- Sale or lease of goods, real estate, and services
- Repair services
- Refund polices
- Funeral home practices
- Ordering and delivery of goods
The act has undergone further amendments over the years to cover more transactions as well as additional parties that may be liable for consumer fraud.
Penalties for Consumer Fraud
If a party is found guilty of violating NJFCA, that party is required to pay three times the amount of damages awarded to the victim. For example, if the judge or jury determine that a party committed $100,000 in damages, it will be mandatory for the party to pay $300,000 in damages.
The guilty party will also be held responsible for covering the cost of the opposing party’s attorney fees, regardless of whether the trial establishes damages. Therefore, if the court determines that the claim of consumer fraud failed to cause damages, the plaintiff will still be awarded a sum to cover the cost of his or her attorney.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
Fighting accusations of fraud in New Jersey can be complex and overwhelming without the guidance of an experienced defense attorney. At Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo, our legal team is committed to defending individuals, as well as small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies against criminal allegations. In many cases, consumer fraud charges are based on false or misleading evidence, and our attorneys can provide the aggressive, effective representation our clients need and deserve to protect their reputations and future.