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Pettoni v. DiSabatino

L-10000-07 (N.J. Super. Law Div. 2008) (Unpublished)

CONSUMER FRAUD — An individual making an investment in a business venture is not in the same position as a purchaser of goods and services usually sold to the public and therefore it is not considered to be a consumer to be protected under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

An investor entered into an agreement with three other partners under which automobiles were to be purchased and then sold overseas at a profit to be shared evenly. The investor advanced money to two of the other partners for use in the venture but subsequently brought an action accusing them of converting the money for their own use. The Court allowed the investor to amend his complaint to include claims for breach of contract, conversion, and fraud, but denied his request to bring claims of consumer fraud. On a motion for reconsideration, the Court pointed out that consumer fraud statutes were enacted to protect purchasers of goods and services that were usually sold to the public, but that wholesalers and investors seeking to profit from of their purchases were not considered consumers. In this case, the Court found that the investor had entered into a business venture and therefore was not considered a consumer.

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