NEWARK – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and the Division of Consumer Affairs have filed suit against a South Jersey paving company after 47 consumers complained about substandard work, bait-and-switch pricing and warranties that were not honored, among other violations.
Williams Asphalt Materials, LLC, which is also known as Williams Asphalt Paving, Williams Asphalt Paving & Excavating, Williams Paving & Excavating, Williams Paving and/or Williams Paving Asphalt Contracting, is alleged to have violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq., the Contractors’ Registration Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-136 et seq., the Regulations Governing Contractor Registration, N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.1 et seq., and the Regulations Governing Home Improvement Practices, N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.1 et seq.
“Customers typically paid thousands of dollars to have their driveways paved, and soon experienced cracking, disintegration or formation of holes,” Attorney General Dow said. “We’re seeking restitution for these consumers, assessment of civil penalties against the defendant and defendant’s adherence to our consumer protection laws and regulations.”
The state’s six-count Complaint was filed in State Superior Court in Burlington County. The defendant maintains business addresses in Millville, Cumberland County; Browns Mills, Burlington County; and Freehold, Monmouth County. Home improvement contractor registration records show that Henry Williams of Flanders, New Jersey, is the owner of Williams Asphalt Materials, LLC.
According to the complaint, the company generated business by having employees drive up to consumers’ homes, unsolicited, and state that they had just completed a paving job in the area and, because they had leftover paving material, could offer the consumer a discounted price on driveway paving.
When consumers attempted to contact the defendant for repair or warranty work, the defendant failed to respond.
The state alleges that the defendant violated the Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors’ Registration Act, and related regulations. The allegations include, among others, unconscionable commercial practices; false promises, misrepresentations and knowing omissions of material fact; and bait-and-switch pricing.
Some of the violations alleged in the state’s Complaint include:
- Failing to use or using incomplete cancellation language in home improvement contracts;
Failing to set forth the signatures of both parties to the home improvement contract;
Failing to set forth the legal name, business address and registration number on home improvement contracts;
- Misrepresenting to consumers that products or materials used in the home improvement were of a sufficient size, capacity or character to withstand the weight and traction of motor vehicles;
- Beginning work without authorization from the consumer in order to pressure the consumer into entering into a binding home improvement contract;
- Requesting that the consumer make final payment on the contract before defendant completed the home improvement in accordance with the terms of the contract; and
- Failing to include in home improvement contracts the dates or time periods on or within which work is to be completed.
“The Division is here as a resource and can tell consumers if we’ve taken action against a contractor or if other consumers have filed complaints,” said Sharon Joyce, Acting Consumer Affairs Director.
Consumers can check whether a contractor is registered through the Division of Consumer Affairs’ web site, http://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/consumeraffairs/search/searchentry.pl?searchprofession=1301 or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200. The web site is searchable by contractor name and, in addition, a ‘search by town’ feature allows consumers to locate contractors in their community.
All home improvement contracts for a purchase price in excess of $500, among other things, must be signed by both parties and must specify the work to be performed and the materials to be used.
Deputy Attorney General Sabina P. McKinney of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section is representing the State in this matter.