The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act prohibits virtually all businesses operating in New Jersey from engaging in deception, fraud, misrepresentation or unconscionable business practices with their customers. The legislature created further regulations for certain kinds of businesses and transactions. One set of regulations covers the delivery of household furniture and furnishings. In addition to furniture delivery, the regulations cover the delivery of major appliances, carpets, drapes, and so on. (N.J.A.C. 13:45A-5.1, et seq.)
When you order furniture or furnishings to be delivered at a later date, the store will give you a sales document which may be called, a “Contract,” “Invoice,” “Merchandise Order” or something similar. This sales document must show the date of the order and must contain this sentence in bold type: “The merchandise you have ordered is promised for delivery to you on or before ______.” The store must fill in the blank with an exact date or specific length of time, such as “six weeks from date of order.” If the store specifies a time range instead, such as “8-12 weeks,” then it may have violated the Consumer Fraud Act.
The sales document must also inform you of your cancellation rights. The sales document must contain the following sentence on the first page in bold type: “If the merchandise ordered by you is not delivered by the promised delivery date, (the name of the store) must offer you the choice of (1) canceling your order with a prompt, full refund of any payments you have made, or (2) accepting delivery at a specific later date.” Without this wording on the first page, the store may have violated the Consumer Fraud Act.
Even if the sales document is completed correctly, there are still things that can go wrong with your order, and you have rights that protect you. The store is obligated to deliver your entire order by the date promised in the sales document. If the store cannot deliver by then, the store must provide you with a written notice prior to that date. The notice must state that the store cannot meet the promised delivery date and that you have the option to cancel the order for a refund of any payments made or to accept delivery at a later date. As well, if the store can make only a partial delivery by the promised delivery date, the store must provide you with a written notice prior to that date. This notice must state that you have the option to cancel the order for a refund or to accept delivery of the balance at a later date. In addition, if the store delivers the wrong or damaged merchandise, you have the right to refuse delivery and cancel the order for a refund of any payments made.
In a nutshell, when you order furniture or major appliances for delivery in New Jersey, you have the right to receive your entire order of correct, undamaged merchandise by the delivery date promised in the sales document. If the store does not meet this obligation, you have the right to cancel the order and receive a prompt, full refund of any payments made. It does not matter whether your order was a “Special Order” or if the sales document stated “No Refunds,” “No Cancellations,” “All Sales Final” or “Store Credit Only.” If the store fails to deliver by the promised delivery date, it cannot force you to take the merchandise or charge you a restocking fee if you refuse. If the store refuses to let you cancel your order or insists on a restocking fee, you may have been a victim of consumer fraud. Contact the Law Office of David C. Ricci, LLC, for a free consultation with a skilled consumer attorney to evaluate your options.