Consumer Protection


 

Although consumer protection has recently gained national spotlight, New York and New Jersey have long standing legislation and regulations in place designed to protect individuals from predatory and unscrupulous home improvement contractors, builders, and repair contractors. Tesser & Cohen has been at the forefront of this ever expanding practice and routinely lectures on the topic before other members of the bar and trade organizations. 

In order to best represent its clients, Tesser & Cohen focuses on consumer protection laws only as they apply to the construction industry and construction projects.  Our specialization allows us to protect our construction industry clients by assuring that their contracts and business practices fully comply with the law.  It also provides us with the keen ability to fully prosecute owners’ claims that arise out of failed home improvement projects, “bait and switch” construction and repair contracts and contractors who work without the appropriate permits.

For the Contractor

The Consumer Fraud Act, Home Improvement Practices Regulations and other regulations adopted by New Jersey and New York create numerous legal obligations for contractors, extending from the language and provisions that must be included in any contract for home improvement to how a contractor performs the work and deals with their client.  New York and New Jersey define home improvements very broadly and it is likely that if you are a contractor who performs any work to an existing residence, you are performing home improvements and are therefore subject to the consumer protection laws. Our experience has shown that many home improvement contractors are unaware of the laws and regulations and unknowingly fail to comply with their requirements.  Failure to comply with the laws can render home improvement contracts unenforceable and exposes the contractor to significant liability, including treble damages and an award of attorneys’ fees.  Tesser & Cohen can help all contractors protect themselves by assuring compliance with the laws’ very technical requirements.

For the Owner

While not all home improvement projects go awry, many do.  Most problems start with the contract and/or proposal and can be avoided by having an attorney fully familiar with the applicable laws and trade practices review it.  Tesser & Cohen will review the contract/proposal with a careful and experienced eye to assure compliance with the law an in an effort to best protect the owner’s interests.  If the project does take a turn for the worse, defects arise after construction is completed, or the contractor fails to complete, Tesser & Cohen’s extensive litigation experience and knowledge of the law assures that the owner’s interests and claims will be properly advanced and prosecuted.

Growing governmental regulations as well as environmental awareness and concern continues to force changes in the way companies operate.  Tesser & Cohen offers clients traditional environmental and planning law advice as well as representation in relation to environmental disputes that occur from time to time.

We assist in the resolution of disputes relating to soil contamination, asbestos abatement, cleaning agents, land development, and waste disposal. Our attorneys represent public and private clients in environmental civil litigation, under federal and state environmental laws and regulations, and in related insurance disputes.

A part of our commitment to provide clients with comprehensive environmental legal consulting, we also provide compliance and litigation-avoidance assistance and work with our clients to develop appropriate protocols.  Governments have begun providing corporate environmental programs with tax breaks and subsidies, and have increased accountability standards with threats of sanctions. Tesser & Cohen is adept at negotiating with the appropriate public or private entities to resolve outstanding problems, negotiating and drafting purchase, lease, and financing agreements to minimize and/or allocate ongoing environmental liabilities, and structuring transactions so as to limit environmental risk.
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Office Locations

Bergen County, New Jersey
946 Main Street
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Tel (201) 343-1100
Fax (201) 343-0885

New York City
591 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10012
Tel (212) 226-1900
Fax (201) 343-0885

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