[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Manalapan 10-27-1993 by Ord. No. 93-30 as Ch. 89 of the 1993 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Consumer Protection Ordinance of the Township of Manalapan."
It is not intended by this chapter to repeal, abrogate, annul or in any way impair or interfere with the existing provisions of other laws or ordinances except those specifically repealed by this chapter. Where this chapter imposes a greater restriction upon persons, premises or personal property than is imposed or required by such existing provisions of law, ordinance, contract or deed, the provisions of this chapter shall control.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes the attempt, directly or indirectly, by publication, dissemination, solicitation, endorsement or circulation or in any other way to induce, directly or indirectly, any person to enter or not enter into any obligation or acquire any title or interest in any merchandise or to increase the consumption thereof or to make any loan.
- A purchaser, lessee, prospective purchaser or recipient of consumer goods, services or credit.
- General contractor, building contractor, swimming pool contractor or sign erector, including, but not limited to, engaging in the construction of structures for industry or business, dwelling homes, swimming pools and signs or the repair, alteration or modification thereof.
- DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES
- Any one or combination of one or more of the following:
- A. Representation or representations that the merchandise or services have sponsorship approval, accessories, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, quality or quantities that they do not have.
- B. Representation or representations that the merchant, realtor, developer or contractor has a sponsorship approval, status affiliation or connection that he does not have.
- C. Representation or representations that the merchandise is original or new when, in fact, the same has been reconditioned, reclaimed or is secondhand.
- D. Representation or representations that the merchandise or services are of a particular standard, quality, grade, style or model when, in fact, they are not.
- E. Advertising or offering merchandise or services without intent to sell them as advertised or offered.
- F. Advertising or offering merchandise or services that are limited in quantity or quality without disclosing in such advertisement or offer the limitation that is imposed therein.
- G. Knowingly stating that services, replacements or repairs are needed when, in fact, they are not.
- H. Falsely stating the reasons for offering merchandise or services at sale or discount prices.
- I. The act, use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation or the knowing, concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact with the intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or with the subsequent performance of such person as aforesaid, whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.
- J. The harassment of or threat to any person either by telephone, cards or letters with regard to any act other than legal process.
- K. Any false or misleading oral or written statement, visual descriptions or other representation of any kind which has the effect of deceiving or misleading consumers in connection with the sale of merchandise; the extension of consumer credit or the collection of consumer debts.
- Includes any objects, wares, goods, commodities, services or anything offered, directly or indirectly, to the public for sale.
- Includes any natural person or his legal representative, partnership, corporation, company, trust, business entity or association and any agent, employee, salesman, partner, officer, director, member, stockholder, associate, trustee or cestui que trust thereof.
- Licensed real estate broker and licensed real estate salesman duly licensed by the appropriate agency of this state.
- Includes any sale, rental or distribution or attempt directly or indirectly to sell, rent or distribute.
- UNCONSCIONABLE TRADE PRACTICES
- Any one or combination of one or more of the following:
- A. Failure to provide a consumer with a written estimate of repairs, alterations, modifications or servicing, when requested.
- B. Making repairs, alterations, modifications or servicing exceeding by 10% or more the price quoted either orally or by a written statement without prior oral or written approval of the consumer.
- C. Failure to supply a consumer with a copy of a sales or service contract, lease, promissory note or other written evidence of indebtedness for which said consumer becomes obligated.
- D. The sale of merchandise or service on credit when the merchant, realtor, developer or contractor has knowledge that the consumer does not have the financial means with which to pay for said merchandise or service.
- E. Knowledge by the merchant, realtor, developer or contractor at the time of agreement of sale or service of the inability of the consumer to receive a benefit from the sale or service.
- F. Gross disparity between the price of the merchandise or service and the value of merchandise or service when measured by the price at which similar merchandise or service are readily obtainable (on transactions involving the same merchandise or service).
- G. The inclusion in the sale price for merchandise or service insurance coverages without informing the consumer of the same and including the amount of premium in the purchase price that is reflected therefor.
- H. Knowledge on the part of the merchant, realtor, developer or contractor in making a sale of merchandise or service that the particular consumer is unable to protect his interest by reason of physical or mental infirmity, ignorance, illiteracy or inability to understand the language set forth in said agreement.
- I. Replacement of parts in electrical, mechanical or other appliances or personalty when such parts are not defective unless requested so to do by the consumer.
- J. Representing that repairs, alterations, modification or servicing has been made and receiving payment therefor when, in fact, the same has not been done.
Regulations and requirements for realtors, developers and contractors advertising or selling land or structures for industrial, commercial or residential use within the Township of Manalapan are as follows:
All realtors, developers and contractors owning or selling land within the Township of Manalapan within a major or minor subdivision who have obtained a tentative approval to subdivide said land and construct homes or other structures thereon shall, prior to the sale of said lots or homes upon said lots, maintain a sales office, either within or without the Township.
The sales office shall be opened during normal business hours and shall have prominently displayed therein the following:
The sales map shall be based on the official Tax Map information or some other similarly accurate base at a scale of not less than 100 feet to the inch throughout the map, which said scale shall be clearly indicated thereon and shall be consistent in all directions shown thereon. The map shall show the owner's tentatively approved subdivision and all lands contiguous thereto for a distance of 2,500 feet, within or without the Township of Manalapan.
The sales map shall clearly show and include for the area within 2,500 feet of the subdivision the following information:
The location of proposed streets and the layout of proposed lots within the subdivision.
The location of all state, county and municipal roads in existence on the date of the tentative approval of the subdivision.
The location of all state, county and municipal roads proposed and approved by any governmental agency having jurisdictions to establish such roads. The location of all such roads shall be as shown on the Official Master Plan adopted by the appropriate agency of the state, county or municipality.
The location of all existing structures and wooded areas within the subdivision and for a distance of 2,500 feet beyond the boundaries of said subdivision.
A designation of the zoning district to be subdivided and the zoning districts of all contiguous property within the distance of 2,500 feet.
The location of all railroads and railroad rights-of-way, airports and airport runways, overhead easements for the transmission of power or otherwise and rights-of-way for public utilities.
The location of all public or private utility plants and the location of all sanitary landfill operations in existence or proposed.
The location of all schools, parks, playgrounds and public buildings.
The location of all streams, ponds and watercourses, including floodplains.
The location and description of any use approved by the Board of Adjustment or other governmental agency having jurisdiction during the previous three years. The Secretary of the Board of Adjustment shall maintain a list of all variances granted during the previous three years and shall make said list available to the Township Engineer.
The location of all drainage ditches within the area shown on the sales map.
The annual and monthly current tax rate and annual and monthly tax cost per unit, property or home.
The type of septic or sewerage system installed and/or proposed.
Responsibilities of realtor, developer or contractor.
The information to be depicted on the sales map shall be obtained by the realtor, developer or contractor.
The realtor, developer or contractor shall review each sales map displayed pursuant to the terms of this chapter and, not less than once every three months, shall submit an updated map to the Township Engineer for his review and approval.
Prior to the delivery and execution of a purchase agreement for the purchase of land, the person selling the same shall obtain from the consumer a writing setting forth that all provisions of § 91-4 of this chapter have been fully explained to the consumer, and a copy of said writing shall be transmitted to the Code Enforcement Officer by the seller or consumer.
Grounds for investigation.
Wherever dwelling homes are sold with a written guaranty or warranty with respect to any part or parts of said dwelling home, failure to comply therewith within the time limit set forth in said guaranty or warranty shall give rise to grounds for investigation by the Code Enforcement Officer.
Failure to undertake items requiring repairs, modification or instruction, commonly referred to as the "twenty-four-hour punch list," "thirty-day punch list" or "one-hundred-twenty-day punch list," shall give rise to grounds for investigation by the Code Enforcement Officer.
In addition to the procedures herein set forth, the Code Enforcement Officer or any consumer of the Township may make a complaint in the Municipal Court of the Township of Manalapan for any violation of this chapter or any article, section, paragraph or provisions thereof.
Upon conviction in such case, for each and every violation or violations, violators shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment in the county jail for 90 days, or both, at the discretion of the Judge of the Municipal Court of the Township. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.