New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Files Action Against Unregistered Monmouth County Home Improvement Contractor for Shoddy, Unfinished Work and Other Consumer Fraud Violations
NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has filed an action against Tinton Falls resident Erich Niemann and his companies, Niemann General Contractor Builder LLC and Restore the Shore Contracting LLC, for allegedly working as an unregistered contractor, performing shoddy work, leaving home improvement jobs unfinished, and numerous other consumer protection violations.
In a six-count complaint filed in Monmouth County Superior Court, the Division alleges Niemann and his companies violated the Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors’ Registration Act, the Contractor Registration Regulations, and the Home Improvement Regulations.
Niemann, who used more than half a dozen business names, specialized in basement renovations and the building of patios and decks. From September 2010 to March 2016, Niemann allegedly deceived, misled, and/or defrauded 17 consumers across New Jersey by, among other things, taking money for jobs that were poorly done or not completed.
“Home improvement projects are expensive endeavors that often cause significant disruptions in consumers lives. Contractors who accept money for these jobs are expected to finish the work on time, within budget, and to the specifications found in the contract,” said Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy. “We will not tolerate unscrupulous contractors who flout our laws by pocketing consumers’ hard-earned money and leaving them little to show for it but a mess.”
The Complaint alleges that Niemann violated consumer protection laws through practices that include:
- Failing to provide consumers with home improvement contracts.
- Starting projects then abandoning them and not returning for weeks, months, or at all.
- Performing additional work or using materials not specified in the contract and then charging consumers for the additional costs.
- Doing shoddy work that consumers had to pay other contractors to correct.
- Stopping contracted-for home improvement work, then informing consumers that they would not resume until consumers had paid Niemann additional money.
- Threatening to place construction liens on the homes of consumers who did not pay additional money.
- Failing to perform work according to contract specifications, then demanding and receiving money for unperformed work.
- Giving consumers the “run around” as to why home improvement work could not start, or had stopped.
The Complaint against Niemann seeks consumer restitution, reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and costs, and civil penalties for each statutory and regulatory violation committed by Niemann and his companies. It also seeks to permanently enjoin Niemann from owning or operating a home improvement business in New Jersey.
“This action demonstrates the Division of Consumer Affairs’ commitment to protecting consumers from contractors who force consumers to chase them down and beg for completion of the work paid for,” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “Dishonest contractors will learn the hard way that cheating customers is no way to do business in New Jersey.”
Niemann also advertised under the following business names: Niemann Contracting, NJ Custom Finished Decks, NJ Custom Finished Basements, NJ Finished Basements, NJ Finished Basements & Decks, Basementsremodel.com, NJpatiopavers.com, and Custompatiodecks.com.
Investigators Joseph Iasso and Brittany Kieran in the Division of Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigation of this matter.
Deputy Attorney General Alina Wells in the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law is representing the state in this action.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse,
can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting
its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.
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