NJ Consumer Fraud Act & Damages: The answer?

Let’s use this example:

You unknowingly buy a crash-damaged car for $30,000 and it is dangerous to drive and you would never have purchased the car BUT it has a NADA value of $10,000. You now have driven the car for 5 years due to the length of the litigation, and the car has 100,000 miles. Under current case law the damages are $20,000. Under breach of contract your damages are $20,000. While it is true the damages are tripled under the Act, the dealer gets the benefit of having sold you the car. BUT the dealer might argue that you drove the car and you have no damages. Does this seem fair that you were forced to drive a car you did not want, you only purchased because the dealer lied to you about the history and they get a mileage credit? NO NO NO.

Here is the answer: the damage is the purchase price. The dealer can argue some offset for value or use that a jury can accept or reject. This amount it tripled under the Act and then the set-off is applied.

This is only fair since the dealer lied to sell the car, the consumer got a damaged car they did not want and was forced to drive the car. The burdens should be shifted to reflect the purpose of the Act.

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