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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
May 27, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
- Kimberly Ricketts, Acting Director

 

Genene Morris
Jeff Lamm
973-504-6327

 

Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs Sue Two Union County Companies For Violating NJ Do Not Call Law

NEWARK — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey filed suit today against two Union County companies alleging they repeatedly violated the State’s Do Not Call Law and Consumer Fraud Act. The suit alleges, among other things, that the companies failed to register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs as telemarketers and made unsolicited telemarketing calls to New Jersey residents whose telephone numbers were on the federal Do Not Call registry.

The complaint, which seeks civil penalties and restitution, was filed by Attorney General Harvey and New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Kimberly Ricketts in Union County Superior Court against Matrix Management & Marketing Group, L.L.C. (d/b/a Matrix Marketing) and Total Remodeling, Inc. The case marks the first time the State has filed suit under the New Jersey Do Not Call Law and regulations which took effect last year.

"Our Do Not Call Law was enacted to provide New Jersey consumers with strong protections against unwanted and annoying telemarketing calls," Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said. "Gone are the days when telemarketers could make sales calls whenever they wanted without any regard for the people they were calling. This law is about respecting the wishes of consumers and holding accountable any company that ignores those wishes."

"Most New Jerseyans do not want to be harassed in their homes by callers selling unwanted goods and services," said Attorney General Harvey. "If telemarketers ignore the Do Not Call Law and phone consumers who have registered for its protection, we will investigate and, where appropriate, file suit to impose penalties against them."

"The law is clear, telemarketers can’t make calls to New Jersey consumers if they are not registered in New Jersey to do so, and they certainly can’t call people who don’t want to receive their calls," Acting Director Ricketts said. "Under the New Jersey Do Not Call Law, we have strong enforcement powers and, as this case demonstrates, we fully intend to exercise those powers."

Total Remodeling provides home improvement services, including home remodeling, window replacement, siding installment and roof repair. The company has advertised its home improvement services to consumers through various media including telemarketing and its Web site, www.totalremodeling.com. Matrix Marketing makes residential telemarketing calls to New Jersey consumers to encourage them to purchase home improvement services from home repair contractors, including Total Remodeling.

To date, Consumer Affairs has received approximately 400 consumer complaints against the defendants stemming from their alleged unlawful telemarketing calls and Total Remodeling’s home improvement practices.

The suit alleges that Matrix Marketing and Total Remodeling, both of which operate a principal place of business at 1767 Route 22, Union, violated the Do Not Call law during the course of selling or offering home remodeling services to New Jersey residents. Specifically, the complaint alleges the defendants:

  • made telemarketing sales calls to New Jersey residents without being registered with Consumer Affairs;
  • made unsolicited calls to people registered on the federal Do Not Call list;
  • made telemarketing calls to consumers who asked to be removed from their in-house call list;
  • failed to disclose to consumers, within the first 30 seconds of telemarketing calls, the name of the person making the call, the entity on whose behalf the call was being made, the name of the telemarketing entity and the purpose of the call; and
  • misrepresented to consumers that intra-state telemarketing calls are not subject to restrictions under the New Jersey Do Not Call law.

In addition, the suit alleges that Total Remodeling violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and home improvement regulations by, among other things:

  • falsely informing a consumer that he may rescind his home improvement contract at any time before the work was scheduled to commence, when, in fact, the home improvement contract only gave the consumer three days to cancel;
  • telling a consumer that he would receive a discount on home improvement services, but only if he signed the home improvement contract immediately; and
  • failing to provide consumers with refunds for home improvement work that was never started and/or completed.

The State’s suit seeks to have the defendants pay civil monetary penalties, attorney’s fees and costs as well as restitution to affected consumers.

The case has been handled for the State by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Armstrong of the Division of Law and Investigator Aziza Salikhov of the Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection. Union County Consumer Affairs Office also assisted the State in the investigation.

How Consumers Can Stop Telemarketing Calls:

  • Individuals who want to stop telemarketing calls, may register their home and/or mobile phone numbers by calling the Federal Trade Commission at 1-888-382-1222 or by logging onto www.DoNotCall.gov. New Jersey’s Do Not Call Law allows Consumer Affairs to utilize the New Jersey telephone numbers on the federal "Do Not Call" registry to establish a State-specific no telemarketing call list. That means anyone who has signed up for the federal registry is automatically placed on the State’s list and covered under the law.
  • To register by phone, consumers must call from the telephone number they want to register. To register online, consumers will need an active e-mail address. If they have more than one telephone number, they must be sure to register each one or they may still get calls on the number that’s not registered.
  • The phone number will remain on the registry for five years from the date the consumer registers it (unless he or she takes the number off the list or the phone is disconnected.)
  • Registration is free.
  • Telemarketers will have up to three months from the date the consumer registers to stop calling him or her.

How Consumers Can File a Complaint:

Consumers who have registered their telephone numbers on the federal registry for at least three months and are still receiving telemarketing calls, may contact Consumer Affairs at 888-NJNOCALL (888-656-6225) or log onto www.NJ.gov/DoNotCall for a complaint form. Consumers may either file their complaints online or fill out the complaint form, sign it and return it to: New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 45025, Newark, N.J. 07101. Complaints should include the date of the call, the name of the telemarketer, the name of the seller, the telemarketer’s address and/or the telemarketer’s telephone number, if available.

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