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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
June 7, 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 Announces Suit Against Union County Home Improvement Companies Alleging Fraud

NEWARK — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today announced the filing of a lawsuit against three Union County home improvement contracting companies alleging they engaged in multiple violations of New Jersey’s home improvement regulations, during the course of advertising, selling and performing home remodeling services.

New Jersey’s six-count complaint, filed in Union County Superior Court by Attorney General Harvey and New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Kimberly Ricketts, names as defendants: State Remodeling, Inc. (d/b/a/ The Window Factory, the Window Factory of New Jersey and www.stateremodeling.com) and United Remodeling Group, Inc., both of Union, as well as Neighborhood Preservation Program, Inc., of Rahway.

The defendants advertise and offer home improvement services, such as siding installation, window replacement and roof repair, through various media including telemarketing, direct mail and Web site listings. Each company has either conducted business from or maintains a business address at 95 Progress St., Union.

“For most people, home ownership is the biggest investment they will make in their lifetime,” Attorney General Harvey said. “New Jersey residents invest large sums in home improvements, and they are entitled to nothing short of a fair and honest deal. We will continue to enforce our consumer protection laws by bringing actions against unscrupulous contractors who take money from homeowners but don’t perform the work they promise.”

“More than 3,400 homeowners complained to Consumer Affairs last year about problems they were having with home improvement contractors, making this the No. 1 area of complaints for consumers,” Acting Director Ricketts said. “When a homeowner hires a contractor to do work around the house, there’s a great deal of trust on the part of the consumer that the contractor will do what he or she has been hired to do. When contractors fail to make good on their promises and cheat the consumer, they’ve not only violated the consumer’s trust, they’ve also broken the law.”

The suit alleges that in addition to violating the State’s Consumer Fraud Act and home improvement regulations, the defendants violated the New Jersey Do Not Call Law by making unsolicited residential telemarketing calls to New Jersey consumers without being registered with Consumer Affairs and by calling people whose telephone numbers are included on the federal Do Not Call registry.

The suit also alleges that the defendants, among other things:

  • misrepresented in home improvement contracts that it is the consumer’s responsibility to notify the defendants if work has not been started and/or completed within the time period specified in the home improvement contracts;
  • failed to begin or complete work on the date or within the time period specified in the home improvement contract;
  • failed to honor warranties on labor services as provided in the consumers’ home improvement contracts;
  • failed to honor a three-day right of recission, as provided in the consumers’ home improvement contracts; and
  • failed to provide consumers with refunds for work that was never started and/or completed;

The suit alleges that the defendants operated under the name Neighborhood Preservation Program, Inc., and forwarded flyers to consumers that contained statements implying that they were a branch of or affiliated with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Housing and Community Resources, which administers the Neighborhood Preservation Program. The Division of Housing and Community Resources’ program provides grants to eligible municipalities which, in turn, provide financial assistance to communities and homeowners for home improvement and preservation projects. The defendants are not authorized by the Division of Housing and Community Resources to reference the Neighborhood Preservation Program in any of their advertising.

Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Armstrong of the Division of Law is handling this case for the State.

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