Defense Against Deceptive Trade Practices
"False advertising" has always been an overused and misconstrued term. How many times have you heard a customer at the grocery store get bent out of shape because of incorrect pricing on an item? If a sign or sticker states something other than the correct amount, those two words are soon to follow. This is not the sort of incident that the law refers to when it comes to false advertising. According to the law, false advertising falls under the more inclusive description of "deceptive trade practices." Along with odometer tampering, these practices include any activity by an individual or business intended to lure or mislead the public into purchasing goods or services.
Mileage is money. An odometer measures mileage. A used car sales person closes a deal every time a customer is satisfied with the number on the odometer. So, you can imagine the importance of that the odometer gauge is accurate, and how a less scrupulous sales person might be tempted to tamper with it. That is just one offense. The following is a brief, by no means exhaustive list of deceptive trade practices:
False description of a good or service in regard to the source, sponsorship, approval, certification, characteristic, benefit or quantity.
Passing off deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, or used items as original or new.
False claims that certain services, replacements, or repairs are needed
Sometimes the customer at the grocery store is right. An item misplaced is one thing. A store advertising goods or services with the intent of not selling them as advertised, or with the intent of not having enough in stock to meet reasonably expected demand, is another thing.
New Jersey Statute 56:8-2 is the specific law that addresses deceptive trade practices. It is important to note that this includes real estate. If you end up seeking the aid of an attorney, it can be extremely beneficial to find one with experience in both real estate and consumer law. In the meantime, it cannot hurt to be familiar with the outcomes or penalties you might expect to pursue if you are the victim of a deceptive trade practice.
- Injunctions – An injunction is simply an order from the court to cease the deceptive trade practice.
- Returns – The court may require anything gained as a result of false or deceptive advertising to be returned.
- Fines – Financial repercussions for false advertising and deceptive trade practices are no laughing matter. The first offense carries a price tag of up to $10,000. The second offense and any subsequent violations can cost offenders up to $20,000. See New Jersey Statute 56:8-13.
You have probably heard of Small Claims Court. It is where many of these cases end up so long as all you want is to get back whatever you lost. If hefty fines are what you are after, it gets a bit more complicated. Either way, a consumer protection attorney is what you need. Contact the Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC for a free consultation.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
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