By Jim Donovan: The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced today that it is citing 26 home improvement contractors for alleged violations of state consumer protection laws. The state is seeking $251,602 in civil penalties and consumer restitution, based on complaints and referrals by consumers across New Jersey.

New Jersey law (and Pennsylvania too by the way) requires that home improvement contractors register with the Attorney General’s Office.

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The contractors cited today include both registered and unregistered contractors at the time of the alleged consumer law violations.

AAA ‐ Above All Average Painting Company/Above All Average Construction
, Mays Landing (Unregistered)
Angel Berdugo d/b/a Elegant Home Remodeling, Willingboro (Unregistered)
Anthony Wyatt t/a Anthony’s Custom Exteriors, Mantua (Unregistered)
Ermal Rustemlliu d/b/a Tri State Construction, West Caldwell (Unregistered)
Fritzky Contracting LLC, Pompton Plains (Unregistered)
G. Lee Sales, Inc., Tuxedo Park, NY (Unregistered)
Gualdino Santos, Elizabeth (Unregistered)
Hydra‐Shield, Inc. d/b/a Hydra‐Shield Waterproofing, Deerfield (Unregistered)
Kevin Matthew Harrison d/b/a Arias Restoration and Renovation, Berlin (Unregistered)
Mark Walton t/a All Exteriors Roofing & Siding, Seaside Heights (Unregistered)
Michael McNamara t/a Affordable Masonry, Randolph (Unregistered)
Myck General Contractors,LLC, Paterson (Unregistered)
Nicholas Marino d/b/a Pools! Pools! Pools! Levittown, PA (Unregistered)
Robert Haines, Egg Harbor City (Unregistered)
Salahudin Abdullah t/a New Day Reconstruction, Camden (Unregistered)
Stephen B. Hensler Custom Builders, Point Pleasant (Unregistered)
At Home Renovations & Repairs Company, L.L.C., Hamburg (Registered)
Carmen’s Anthony, Inc. d/b/a Anthony L. Falcone General Contracting, Ventor City (Registered)
Garry N Moore t/a General Contractors, Blackwood (Registered)
GSR Masonry & Contracting Inc., Kendall Park (Registered)
Hercules Contracting Limited Liability Company, Raritan (Registered)
Keith Tanis d/b/a Keith’s Contracting, North Haledon (Registered)
Norwestar Services LLC d/b/a Norwestar Services, Bloomfield Registered
Paul Iski t/a Gutter Up Construction Co., Bordentown (Registered)
Smith Design and Construction Limited Liability Company, Collingswood (Registered)
Straight Light Painting & Construction Limited Liability Company, Clark (Registered)

Of the contractors being cited today, the Division has directed all but three to pay a total of $153,582 in restitution to consumers. The restitution amounts range from $200 to $27,400, and represent the amounts allegedly owed to consumers due to the performance of shoddy work, or the failure to start and/or finish work for which consumers had pre-paid.

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In addition, the Division is citing all 26 contractors for various violations of New Jersey’s Contractors’ Registration Act. For example, 16 are cited for soliciting home improvement work despite having failed to register with the Division, as required by law. Others are cited for violations such as failure to provide consumers with detailed, written contracts, which are required by law for all home improvement contracts costing more than $500. The State has assessed a total of $97,750 in civil penalties against the 26 contractors, in addition to the assessed consumer restitution.

Today’s action follows the Division’s July 16, 2014 announcement of Notices of Violation to 68 home improvement contractors, seeking a total of $1,046,978 in consumer restitution and $276,250 in civil penalties. Home improvement complaints are typically the largest consumer complaint category the Division of Consumer Affairs receives each year – as was the case in 2013, when the Division received 1,434 consumer complaints about home improvement contractors.

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Each of the contractors receiving a Notice of Violation has the opportunity to contest the alleged violation, or the opportunity to correct the violation by desisting from any practices in violation of the law, paying a civil penalty and/or consumer restitution where required, and submitting an application for registration, if not registered. Each contractor also may contest the Division’s assessment of consumer restitution.