Bryan Cohen Jul. 17, 2014, 7:46pm

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced on Wednesday that his Division of Consumer Affairs issued notices of violation to 68 home improvement contractors based on complaints and referrals by New Jersey consumers.

The notices of violation seek a total of more than $1.3 million in civil penalties and consumer restitution. The division directed 62 of the contractors to pay a combined $1,046,978 in consumer restitution for allegedly failing to complete work that consumers paid for in advance, failing to refund deposits or other issues.

All 68 contractors allegedly violated the state's Contractors' Registration Act by failing to provide consumers with detailed, written contracts for home improvement projects that cost more than $500.

The state assessed $276,250 in civil penalties against the 68 contractors.

"Home improvement disputes are consistently the number-one consumer complaint category the Division of Consumer Affairs receives year after year," Hoffman said. "With this action we are demanding more than $1 million in restitution for consumers who paid for work that allegedly was never finished. We also are giving these contractors the opportunity to come into compliance with the law, and reminding New Jersey consumers to protect themselves by conducting basic research before hiring a contractor."

Violators of the Contractors' Registration Act are subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations.

The division received 1,434 consumer complaints about home improvement contractors last year.

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