New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Files Action Against Two North Jersey Home Improvement Companies for Alleged Consumer Fraud and Other Violations
NEWARK - The Office of the Attorney General and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs have filed suit against Anthony Angelo Pizza of Clifton and two home improvement companies he operates, A. Pizza Contracting, LLC and AP Building & Construction, LLC (a/k/a "AP Builders & Construction, LLC") for allegedly violating the state's Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors' Registration Act, and related regulations.
Among other things, the state's seven-count complaint, filed in State Superior Court in Bergen County, alleges that AP Building & Construction, LLC performed work even though it was never registered as a home improvement contractor with the Division of Consumer Affairs. In addition, the state alleges that A. Pizza Contracting, LLC failed to maintain commercial general liability insurance and failed to disclose a civil judgment on its annual registration renewal application as required.
To date, the Division has received thirteen consumer complaints against A. Pizza Contracting, LLC, and two consumer complaints against AP Building & Construction, LLC. In their complaints, consumers allege that the companies performed substandard work or even that no work was undertaken despite payment being made, among other violations. In addition, certain contracts failed to include required information such as signatures, a description of the work, start and stop dates and cancellation information. The companies maintained business locations in Clifton and Rutherford.
"When homeowners spend their hard-earned dollars on renovations, they expect to add value to their biggest investment and gain new pride and pleasure from their homes," said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. "But this contractor allegedly hung customers out to dry, leaving them instead with nothing but headaches and holes in their bank accounts."
"What these consumers experienced is every homeowner's worst nightmare. Homeowners depend on the expertise on the professionals they hire, and time and time again, Pizza and his companies allegedly took consumers' money and failed to fulfill contractual obligations," said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
In its filed complaint, the State alleges that Pizza and his companies violated the Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors' Registration Act, the Contractor Registration Regulations, and the Home Improvement Regulations by:
Failing to begin and/or complete work on the agreed upon date or time period represented orally or in the home improvement contract;
Failing to respond to consumers' calls, e-mails and/or texts inquiring into when work would begin or continue home improvement work that they had already commenced, but then been abandoned;
Commencing home improvement work without confirming that any requisite permits had been issued;
Failing to arrange for the required inspections of the home improvement work for which permits should have been issued and obtaining complete payment from consumers;
Accelerating previously agreed-upon payment schedules and obtaining complete payment without the work being completed;
Failing to provide, upon request of the consumer, copies of invoices evidencing that Pizza and his companies ordered and/or purchased building materials (e.g., fixtures, cabinets, roof tiles) with accelerated and/or additional funds the consumer had provided to Pizza and his companies for that purpose;
Stopping the contracted-for home improvement work, and then informing consumers that they would not continue the work unless the consumers paid additional money;
Accepting a down payment for home improvement work under the condition that if a municipality denied a requested permit, Pizza and his companies would return the down payment, but then failing to do so;
Installing a product that was different than what was agreed upon without consumers' consent (e.g., used floors and windows, the wrong model door, the wrong color shingles);
Performing home improvements in a substandard manner and failing to make the necessary corrective repairs including, but not limited to: (a) installing gutters that leaked; (b) failing to install Tyvek paper under siding; (c) replacing a driveway that shortly developed large cracks and craters; (d) failing to properly seal surfaces or to install flashing; (e) installing siding improperly as to void the warranty; and (f) repairing leaks in a manner as to make the leaks worse;
Causing damage to a consumer's home while performing home improvements and then failing to fix, clean, or compensate the consumer for the damage (e.g., allowing concrete splatter to dry on various surfaces; putting holes in screens, failing to place a tarp on open areas causing water damage;);
Representing that they would return to the consumers' homes and make the necessary corrective repairs, but then failing to do so;
Failing to return the consumers' calls when consumers attempted to contact Pizza and his companies regarding, among other things, substandard work; and
Refusing to issue refunds when requested by consumers after Pizza and his companies failed to perform the contracted-for home improvement work.
Investigator Jared O'Cone in the Division of Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Cathleen O'Donnell in the Division of Law's Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section is representing the state.
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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