Can you sue a finance company for consumer fraud as a result of a repossession? YES YOU CAN

THE REMEDIES PROVIDED IN THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT ARE CUMULATIVE AND, IN ADDITION TO ANY REMEDIES CONTAINED IN THE UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE, THUS THE CLAIMS ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE

The rights provided under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act are in addition to any other statutory or common law rights. N.J.S.A. 56:8-2.3 which provides as follows:

The rights, remedies and prohibition accorded by the provisions of this Act are hereby declared to be in addition to and cumulative above any other rights, remedies or prohibition accorded by the common law or statutes of this State, and nothing contained herein shall be construed to deny, abrogate, or impair any such common law or statutory right, redress or prohibition.
The clear intent of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act was to provide consumers with additional and cumulative remedies and in no way curtail their remedial opportunities for the redress of fraud and other unconscionable practices afforded by any other statute or common law.  Cybul v. Atrium Palace Syndicate, 272 N.J. Super. 330, 335 (App. Div. 1994).

In Cybul, the Appellate Division held that the plaintiff could maintain a cause of action under an administrative scheme wherein there was no direct provision for a cause of action to the plaintiff. In Lemelledo v. Beneficial Management, 150 N.J. 255 (1997), a watershed case, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the plaintiff could maintain a private cause of action in addition to a statutory scheme which provided the plaintiff only a return of premiums paid under the policy. The New Jersey Supreme Court held that: “The CFA simply complements those statutes, allowing for regulation by the Division of Consumer Affairs and a private cause of action to recover damages. The damages cause of action in no way inhibits enforcement of other statutes, because a Court can assess damages in addition to any other penalty to which a defendant is subject.”

In the current case the defendant posits that violations of the Uniform Commercial Code are not actionable as CFA violations. The defendant asserts that since the repossession requirements are set forth in the Uniform Commercial Code the plaintiff cannot resort to the remedies provided in the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The defendant cannot cite even a single case that supports this legal position because they cannot. The defendant’s position is not supported, nor has it even been supported by New Jersey law, statutes or otherwise. The plaintiffs free to plead a cause of action and maintain remedies under the UCC and any other statute that is applicable. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act should be liberally construed to effectuate it remedial purpose. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act was passed in 1960 to permit the Attorney General to combat the increasingly widespread practice of defrauding the consumer. Cox v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 138 N.J. 2, 14 (1994). The defendant’s interpretation would render the CFA useless in combatting any conduct that was even remotely covered by the UCC and this cannot be the intent of the CFA.
The plaintiffs free to plead a cause of action and maintain remedies under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. This is the specific mandate of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The defendant’s assertion that the plaintiff is “super sizing” a UCC cause of action in an “improper manner” is not consistent with New Jersey law. New Jersey law is relatively straightforward on this issue. There is a specific claim against the finance company for the repossession practices. Jefferson Loan Co., Inc. v. Session, 397 N.J.Super. 520, 538 (2008). The remedies provided for in UCC are in addition to the remedies and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. N.J.S.A. 56:8-2.3.