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Consumer Protection - Contractors Need To Make Sure That Their Representations When Bidding For Work Are Completely Accurate

January 19, 2016

Michael J. Rankin reports a recent case dealing with representations made by a contractor being actionable under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.   A Condominium Association filed a complaint against a contractor installing tennis courts under the Consumer Fraud Act.  The contractor obtained a request for proposal to install an outdoor tennis court for the Association.  Before submitting the proposal, the contractor was aware that the tennis court would be installed over concrete.   The contractor told the Association that it was qualified by experience to install the tennis court over concrete (an “open-cell” court).  The contractor installed a “closed-cell” tennis court.  The contractor admitted at trial that he was not certified as an installer of the court as he represented and also that he did not know the difference between an open-cell and closed-cell tennis court.   The Court held that the Association had a viable claim for a Consumer Fraud Act violation.    

To avoid liability under the Consumer Fraud Act, a contractor must be forthcoming and accurate with claimed experience and certifications to perform work requested.  The mere “capacity to mislead” is a prime ingredient of all types of consumer fraud cases.  Even if the affirmative misrepresentations made are unintentional, a contractor can still be subject to violating the Consumer Fraud Act and subject to paying three times the proven damages. 

Please contact Michael J. Rankin if you have any questions or need any assistance in connection to this subject.