New Jersey Deceptive Trade Practices Laws


Deceptive trade practices including unlawful advertisements are dealt under New Jersey Statutes, Title 56, Chapter 8 Section 1 et seq.  Under Section 56:8-2 of Chapter 8 (Trade Names, Trade-Marks and Unfair Trade Practices), any act in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate in order to fraudulently induce others to rely upon the said act will be punished.  According to Section 56:8-10, the provisions of this Chapter shall not bar any claim against any person who has acquired money through unlawful practices.  Under Section 56:8-11, an Attorney General can bring an action against violators of any of the provisions of this Chapter.  In addition to any other penalty provided in this Chapter, any person convicted of violating any provision will be liable to a penalty not exceeding $10,000 for the first offence and not exceeding $20,000 for the second and each subsequent offence.  This is prescribed under Section 56:8-13.  Under Section 56:8-11, an Attorney General shall be entitled to recover costs for the use of this State.  Pursuant to Section 56:8-14, any senior citizen who was injured, by any act declared unlawful by this Chapter, will receive twice the amount or value as compensation.

Any person who falsely misrepresents a used odometer of a motor vehicle where he has changed the reading of the mileage shall be guilty for such misrepresentation pursuant to Section 2C:21-8 of Chapter 21 (Forgery and Fraudulent Offenses).

N.J. Stat. § 56:8-2

Fraud, etc., in connection with sale or advertisement of merchandise or real estate as unlawful practice
The act, use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or the knowing, concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate, or with the subsequent performance of such person as aforesaid, whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby, is declared to be an unlawful practice; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall apply to the owner or publisher of newspapers, magazines, publications or printed matter wherein such advertisement appears, or to the owner or operator of a radio or television station which disseminates such advertisement when the owner, publisher, or operator has no knowledge of the intent, design or purpose of the advertiser.

N.J. Stat. § 56:8-10

Claims against persons acquiring money or property by unlawful practices
Subject to an order of the court terminating the business affairs of any person after receivership proceedings held pursuant to this act, the provisions of this act shall not bar any claim against any person who has acquired any moneys or property, real or personal, by means of any practice herein declared to be unlawful.

N.J. Stat. § 56:8-11

Costs in actions or proceedings brought by attorney general
In any action or proceeding brought under the provisions of this act, the Attorney General shall be entitled to recover costs for the use of this State.

N.J. Stat. § 56:8-3.1

Violations; penalty
Upon receiving evidence of any violation of the provisions of chapter 39 of the laws of 1960, the Attorney General, or his designee, is empowered to hold hearings upon said violation and upon finding the violation to have been committed, to assess a penalty against the person alleged to have committed such violation in such amount within the limits of chapter 39 of the laws of 1966 as the Attorney General deems proper under the circumstances. Any such amounts collected by the Attorney General shall be paid forthwith into the State Treasury for the general purposes of the State.

N.J. Stat. § 56:8-13

Penalties
Any person who violates any of the provisions of the act to which this act is a supplement shall, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, be liable to a penalty of not more than $ 10,000 for the first offense and not more than $ 20,000 for the second and each subsequent offense. The penalty shall be exclusive of and in addition to any moneys or property ordered to be paid or restored to any person in interest pursuant to section 2 of P.L. 1966, c. 39 (C. 56:8-14) or section 3 of P.L. 1971, c. 247 (C. 56:8-15).

N.J. Stat. § 56:8-14

Enforcement of penalty; process
The Superior Court and every municipal court shall have jurisdiction of proceedings for the collection and enforcement of a penalty imposed because of the violation, within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, of any provision of the act to which this act is a supplement. Except as otherwise provided in this act the penalty shall be collected and enforced in a summary proceeding pursuant to “the penalty enforcement law” (N.J.S. 2A:58-1 et seq.). Process shall be either in the nature of a summons or warrant and shall issue in the name of the State, upon the complaint of the Attorney General or any other person.
In any action brought pursuant to this section to enforce any order of the Attorney General or his designee the court may, without regard to jurisdictional limitations, restore to any person in interest any moneys or property, real or personal, which have been acquired by any means declared to be unlawful under this act, except that the court shall restore to any senior citizen twice the amount or value, as the case may be, of any moneys or property, real or personal, which have been acquired by any means declared to be unlawful under P.L. 1960, c. 39 (C. 56:8-1 et seq.).
In the event that any person found to have violated any provision of this act fails to pay a civil penalty assessed by the court, the court may issue, upon application by the Attorney General, a warrant for the arrest of such person for the purpose of bringing him before the court to satisfy the civil penalty imposed.
A person who fails to restore any moneys or property, real or personal, found to have been acquired unlawfully from a senior citizen shall be subject to punishment for criminal contempt pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:29-9, which is a crime of the fourth degree.

N.J. Stat. § 2C:21-8

Misrepresentation of mileage of motor vehicle
A person commits a disorderly persons offense when he sells, exchanges, offers for sale or exchange or exposes for sale or exchange a used motor vehicle on which he has changed or disconnected the mileage registering instrument on the vehicle to show a lesser mileage reading than that actually recorded on the vehicle or on the instrument with purpose to misrepresent the mileage of the vehicle. This provision shall not prevent the servicing, repair or replacement of a mileage registering instrument which by reason of normal wear or through damage requires service, repair or replacement if the instrument is then set at zero or at the actual previously recorded mileage.
In addition to the penalty authorized for violation of this section, the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles may, after notice and hearing, revoke the license of any motor vehicle dealer as defined in R.S. 39:1-1 so convicted.