35 Contractors Cited in NJ Crackdown
Dozens of New Jersey roofers, pavers and contractors will share responsibility for almost $570,000 in penalties and restitution for failing to complete work, refusing to refund deposits and other issues.
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced Dec. 29 that it had issued Notices of Violation to 35 contractors, seeking $567,676.41.
The contractors cited include MK Blacktop & Seal Coating, of National Park; Emerald Paving & Masonry, of Dover; Empire State Building & Contractors Inc., of Nanuet, NY; and Reliable Roofing Company, of Bridgewater.
For all of 2014, the Division’s crackdown on noncompliant contractors resulted in violation notices against a total of 130 contractors, seeking more than $2.1 million in consumer restitution and penalties.
“Our year-long crackdown is bringing significant amounts of restitution back to those consumers who allegedly were left with unfinished or unsatisfactory products by contractors who refused to provide refunds,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said in a statement.
“Home improvement projects are among the most expensive and stressful expenses a homeowner is likely to take on.
“We will continue to aggressively police the home improvement marketplace—and require contractors to comply with the law—throughout the coming year as well.”
Restitution and Penalties
The 35 contractors cited were directed to pay a total of $438,176.41 in restitution to consumers, in amounts ranging from $1,500 to $68,405. The contractors allegedly failed to complete work that consumers had paid for in advance, failed to refund deposits, or other issues.
New Jersey's Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman says the state will continue to police the home improvement marketplace for rogue contractors.
The state agency also directed the contractors to pay a total of $129,500 in civil penalties for violating state laws.
The division cited each of the contractors for alleged violations of the state's Contractors' Registration Act, such as the failure to provide consumers with detailed, written contracts for home improvement projects costing more than $500.
Under the law, the contract must provide the project's agreed-upon price; the starting and ending dates; the scope of work; the contractor's business name, address, and registration number; and other required information.
In addition, 22 of the companies were also cited for operating without being registered as home-improvement contractors, as is required under state law.
The registration application requires demonstration that the contractor has a legitimate street address and at least $500,000 in liability insurance.
Opportunity to Contest
Each of the contractors receiving a Notice of Violation has the opportunity to contest the assertion that he or she has violated the law or the opportunity to correct the violation by desisting from any practices in violation of the law; paying a civil penalty and/or consumer restitution where required; and submitting an application for registration, if not registered.
Each contractor also may contest the state's assessment of consumer restitution.
The division says it will continue to take similar actions against allegedly unregistered and/or otherwise non-compliant home improvement contractors throughout 2015.