Consumer Fraud

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act ("the Act") was first enacted in 1960 at the dawn of the advertising age and in direct "response to widespread complaints about selling practices which victimized consumers."  Fenwick v. Kay American Jeep, Inc., 72 N.J. 372, 376 (1977).  Over the years, the Act has been amended several times and today is widely considered to be "one of the strongest consumer protection laws in the nation."  Bosland v. Warnock Dodge, Inc., 197 N.J. 543, 547 (2009).  The Act applies to all "unlawful practices" committed by any "person" (individual or corporation) in connection with that person's "sale" or "advertisment" of "merchandise" or real estate.  The term "unlawful practice" has been defined as any unconscionable commercial practices, deception, misrepresentation, false statements and promises, and/or omissions.  New Jersey courts have repeatedly held that the Act should be construed liberally in order to achieve the underlying objectives of the act--to protect New Jersey consumers.