CHANGES IN THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT TO PROTECT CAR SALESMAN
There is a bill pending in the Assembly which significantly and permanently change the way that businesses transact business in the State of New Jersey and the rights afforded to consumers. The bill is labeled [A3333] and if passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, it would forever and permanently damage the rights of New Jersey consumers. There are various and daunting adoptions of anti-consumer rights in this bill. Unfortunately, this bill is sponsored by a democrat and a republican.
Initially, the substance of this bill would reduce consumers’ rights to proceed on claims against car dealerships.
A nickname for this bill should be the Car Dealership Protection Act. A major portion of the exemptions written to this bill would exempt businesses who were regulated by other agencies and/or authorities. This means that a car dealership who would be regulated by the Banking and Insurance and the Division of Motor Vehicles would likely be exempt from the protections that consumers have under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
Hypothetically, if a car dealership were to have to a new car on their lot, crash it and sell this vehicle which was damaged, the plaintiff would be without rights under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. This would mean that an individual could not sue the direct car dealership for consumer fraud and seek attorney’s fees and triple damages. The car dealerships would gain significant protection if this bill were passed. This bill is definitely and certainly anti-consumer in every way, shape and form. This bill would protect businesses that engaged in fraudulent acts, to the detriment of consumers.
It would force the conduct of businesses to be reduced to the lowest common denominator. In effect, the businesses that were acting honestly and within the law would be encouraged and forced to act in the manner inconsistent with the law as a result of the competition with the illegal or improper businesses. This is anti-competitive and will cost New Jersey consumers a significant amount of money. There would be almost no consequences for violating the law.