For Immediate Release: January 17, 2023
Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
– Cari Fais, Acting Director
Office of Weights and Measures
– David Freed, Acting Superintendent
Division of Law
– Michael T.G. Long, Director
NEWARK – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that the State has reached a $128,838 settlement with Beacon Metals, a scrap metal company with locations in Freehold and South Amboy. The settlement resolves allegations the company shortchanged consumers at its South Amboy location by using an inaccurate scale that provided short weight readings. A total of $112,952 of the settlement will go towards civil penalties with the remainder being used to cover the Division of Consumer Affair’s investigative costs and attorneys’ fees.
In July of 2021 the Division’s Office of Weights and Measures (“OWM”) inspected Beacon Metals’ truck scale at its South Amboy location and found it produced short weight readings. OWM learned that a company had tried to service the scale in January of that year and recommended it be replaced because it was inaccurate. But Beacon Metals did not install a new truck scale until two weeks after OWM’s July inspection. OWM identified nearly 16,000 transactions in which consumers were shortchanged because of the faulty scale.
“Consumers were deliberately cheated out of their money with the use of a scale Beacon Metals knew was not working correctly for six months” said Attorney General Platkin. “Through this settlement we are showing all metal buying businesses, whether scrap or precious, that their scales better be accurate, or we will catch them.”
“Some people make their living on collecting and selling scrap metal,” said Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Cari Fais. “They deserve every single dollar they are owed for what they bring in to scrap yards and to know they are not being ripped off and shortchanged by their buyers.”
Under the terms of the Consent Order entered with the Division, Beacon Metals, among other things, agreed to:
- Comply with all applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations, including the Consumer Fraud Act, the Weights and Measures Act, and the Scales, Instruments and Devices Regulations;
- Not engage in any deceptive conduct;
- Maintain devices in proper working condition as required by the Scales, Instruments and Devices Regulations; and
- Not buy or sell goods based on weight or measurement by use of a weight or measure that has not been properly tested or sealed.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Koziar of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, handled the matter for the State. Investigator Bryan Thomson of the Office of Weights and Measures handled the investigation for the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business or suspect any other form of consumer abuse can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or calling 1-800-242-5846 to receive a complaint form by mail.
The mission of the Division of Consumer Affairs, within the Department of Law and Public Safety, is to protect the public from fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and professional misconduct in the sale of goods and services in New Jersey through education, advocacy, regulation and enforcement. The Division pursues its mission through its 51 professional and occupational boards that oversee 720,000 licensees in the state, its Regulated Business section that oversees 60,000 NJ registered businesses, as well as through its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.