The following is an article about New Jersey vehicle repair fraud examples.
WHAT IS NEW JERSEY VEHICLE REPAIR FRAUD?
New Jersey vehicle repair fraud occurs when a a vehicle repair shop performing repairs to a customer’s vehicle or boat rips off the customer by overcharging them, by failing to perform work or use the correct type of parts when performing repair work or by failing to honor guarantees on the work performed to the vehicle or boat. What happens if you take a vehicle or boat to get repaired and you find yourself in a dispute with the a vehicle repair shop that is overcharging you for repair services or that failed to fix your vehicle or boat correctly? A vehicle repair shop customers should be able to expect that a a vehicle repair shop’s work will get their vehicle or boat fixed and that they will not be overcharged for repair services. A a vehicle repair shop’s failure to follow the New Jersey Automotive Repair Regulations or Watercraft Repair Regulations may result in a violation of New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, a powerful law designed to fight fraud committed by certain businesses and persons selling goods or services for profit.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF NEW JERSEY VEHICLE REPAIR FRAUD?
The following are some examples of New Jersey vehicle repair fraud cases:
- A customer thought that he paid a vehicle repair shop in full for the repairs before the work was done and when the repairs were done, a customer refused to pay an additional bill. The vehicle repair shop refused to release the vehicle to the consumer, who then sued the vehicle repair shop.
- A mechanic promised to completely rebuild an engine to make the vehicle like new but failed to do so, failed to install a new oil pump as promised and caused the vehicle’s engine to fail before the rest of the vehicle.
- A customer hired a vehicle repair shop to perform repairs and the only claimed written authorization for this repair work was on two card receipts, one containing an amount of $2,250 with a deposit stated as $500, and the other containing the reference “Body Repair,” and setting forth a payment of $1,700. The vehicle repair shop failed to provide a detailed written estimate and obtain a written authorization from the customer before performing repairs. The credit card slips failed to satisfy the requirements of the New Jersey Automotive Repair Regulations. A completed invoice provided after the work was done didn’t satisfy the Regulations.
- A vehicle repair shop didn’t get authorization from the customer to install a fuel pump on a vehicle, starting work without a proper estimate, made deceptive or misleading statements to the customer, tried to charge the customer more than the estimate provided and didn’t give the customer a written invoice stating the guarantees for the work.
- An aircraft repair shop didn’t give its customer a written estimate and the bill for the repairs was tens of thousands of dollars more than the customer expected and the repairs were incomplete when the airplane was picked up from the shop.
- Boat mechanic failed to give the consumer a written estimate, failed to tell the customer about a cost overrun and billed the customer much more than the mechanic’s verbal price quote.
- A vehicle repair shop didn’t give a customer a repair estimate.
- A vehicle repair shop gave a customer a firm price for repairs but billed the customer over twice the amount of the quoted price.
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER EXAMPLES OF NEW JERSEY VEHICLE REPAIR FRAUD?
New Jersey vehicle repair fraud can take many forms. For example, any of the following affirmative acts committed by a New Jersey a vehicle repair shop could support a New Jersey Consumer Fraud claim or breach of contract claim or breach of warranty claim against the vehicle repair shop:
- “Unconscionable commercial practice” - an activity which is basically unfair or unjust which materially departs from standards of good faith, honesty in fact and fair dealing in the public marketplace. To be unconscionable, there must be factual dishonesty and a lack of fair dealing.
- “Deception” - conduct or advertisement which is misleading to an average consumer to the extent that it is capable of, and likely to, mislead an average consumer. It does not matter that at a later time it could have been explained to a more knowledgeable and inquisitive consumer. It does not matter whether the conduct or advertisement actually have misled the customer. The fact that the business may have acted in good faith is irrelevant. It is the capacity to mislead that is important.
- “Fraud” - a perversion of the truth, a misstatement or a falsehood communicated to another person creating the possibility that that other person will be cheated.
- “False pretense” - an untruth knowingly expressed by a wrongdoer.
- “False promise” - an untrue commitment or pledge, communicated to another person, to create the possibility that that other person will be misled.
- “Misrepresentation” - an untrue statement made about a fact which is important or significant to the sale/advertisement, communicated to another person to create the possibility that other person will be misled. A “misrepresentation” is a statement made to deceive or mislead.
For any of the above affirmative acts, it is not necessary for liability under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act that a person actually be misled or deceived by another’s conduct. It is not necessary for the customer to show that the business intended to deceive. What is important is that the affirmative act must have had the potential to mislead or deceive when it was performed. The capacity to mislead is the prime ingredient of affirmative consumer fraud claims Proof of intent is not necessary an essential element for these affirmative acts
A business may also be found liable for violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act if the business knowingly concealed, hid/suppressed, kept something from being known/omitted, or left out or did not mention an important or significant fact purposely or with the intent that others would rely on that concealment/suppression/omission in connection with the sale/advertisement of any merchandise. For these acts of omission, a person acts “knowingly” if he/she is aware that his/her conduct is of a nature that it is practically certain that his/her conduct will cause a particular result. He/She acts with knowledge, consciously, intelligently, willfully or intentionally. To “conceal” is to hide, secrete, or withhold something from the knowledge of others or to hide from observation, cover or keep from sight or prevent discovery of. “Concealment” is a withholding of something which one is bound or has a duty to reveal so that the one entitled to be informed will remain in ignorance. To “suppress” is to put a stop to a thing actually existing, to prohibit or put down, or to prevent, subdue, or end by force. “Suppression” is the conscious effort to control or conceal unacceptable impulses, thought, feelings or acts. A person acts “purposely” if it is his/her conscious object to engage in conduct that of a certain nature or cause a particular result and he/she is aware of hopes or believes that the attendant circumstances exist. “Intent” is a design, resolve, or determination with which a person acts. It refers only to the state of mind existing when an act is done or omitted. It is not necessary that any person be, in fact, misled or deceived by another’s conduct. What is important is that the business must have meant to mislead or deceive when he/she/it/they acted. The fact that the business acted knowingly or with intent is an essential element of acts of omission and knowledge or intent must be shown. Where the alleged consumer fraud can be viewed as either an omission or an affirmative act, the business is liable for the conduct as an omission only where defendant committed a consumer fraud by omission and intent is shown.
WHAT TYPE OF REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE TO NEW JERSEY VEHICLE REPAIR FRAUD VICTIMS?
New Jersey vehicle repair fraud may be a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, which may allow the consumer to recover the following remedies against the dealer:
- Treble damages for an ascertainable loss of money or property caused by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
- Attorney’s fee award for prosecuting the claim.
- Cancellation of fraudulent debts.
- Refund of money lost due to the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
TO LEARN MORE, GET A NO OBLIGATION CONSULT
Call Perlman DePetris Consumer Law for a no obligation phone consultation. Handling your case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Try to do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent lawyer! You might be entitled to be represented on a contingent basis, meaning that the attorney won’t get paid unless the case is successful and that the lawyer gets paid from your recovery instead of requiring you to pay attorney’s fees out of your own pocket up front. Other cases can be handled for a relatively small one-time payment of an up-front fixed attorney’s fee and with a contingent fee at the end of the case. Filing a claim yourself is very risky, since businesses often hire experienced defense attorneys to fight your case. Also, if you try to negotiate a settlement yourself, you may get less money than you deserve. You should always speak with an attorney before coming to any conclusions about your claim. Do not try to interpret the law by reading a website! Even if the facts of your case don’t fit Consumer Law requirements, you may be entitled to sue a business for a breach of your warranties under other state and federal laws or for a breach of contract or for some other type of claim and you may recover money damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.
While this page gives some general background information, there is the danger that relying on this information alone could lead you to lose your claim. Laws and regulations frequently change and the law may have changed since the posting of this webpage. Factual differences between your case and cases described on this webpage can affect your chance of success. Don’t attempt to rely on the internet as the only source of information for your claim! Instead, get competent legal advice from a New Jersey licensed attorney. Call Perlman DePetris Consumer Law for a no obligation phone consultation.