Melissa Totaro

Melissa Totaro

Houston & Totaro: decades of experience representing New Jersey Consumers
  • Consumer Law
  • New Jersey
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At the law firm of Houston & Totaro we represent consumers across the state of New Jersey in cases involving consumer fraud, unconscionable conduct and illegal practices by car dealers, banks, mortgage servicers, landlords, credit reporting agencies and other types of businesses. We use a combination of e-mail communications, telephone conferences and Zoom to accommodate clients from all counties and appear in courts throughout the state of New Jersey, state and federal. We take the vast majority of our cases on a contingency basis to enable consumers to pursue meritorious claims even when legal representation would otherwise be out of their reach.

Practice Area
Consumer Law
Class Action, Lemon Law
Video Conferencing
  • Zoom
  • Contingent Fees
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New Jersey
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Professional Experience
Houston & Totaro, Attorneys-at-Law
- Current
Staff Attorney - Consumer Law Unit
Passaic County Legal Aid Society
Judicial Law Clerk
Superior Court of New Jersey
Rutgers School of Law-Newark
J.D. (1993) | Law
Honors: Degree awarded with Honors. Elected to the Order of the Coif. Awarded one of four West Publishing Co. Scholarship Awards given to four graduates who distinguished themselves in an area of scholarly achievement.
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Rutgers University - Newark
B.A. (1988) | English
Honors: Awarded degree with High Honors
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Professional Associations
National Association of Consumer Advocates
- Current
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New Jersey State Bar  # 019461993
- Current
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Websites & Blogs
Houston & Totaro, Attorneys-at-Law
National Association of Consumer Advocates
Legal Answers
5 Questions Answered
Q. I want out of my solar contract and a refund.
A: Based on the facts as you recount them you could have a viable cause of action under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, which prohibits merchants from engaging in certain unfair conduct, including false promise, misrepresentation and otherwise deceptive tactics. The Consumer Fraud Act provides for triple the monetary loss of a consumer who prevails in an action against a merchant, as well as payment of your attorneys' fees by the defendant. You should contact a lawyer who practices in the area of consumer law and be prepared to provide the documentation that you refer to in your question.
Q. I purchased life insurance from Colonial Penn a few months ago. Last week a rep called me and tried to get me to upgrade
A: Selling you coverage you did not want and did not ask for is not permissible. You should call the company and try to get the change reversed and the coverage that you want reinstated at the original premium that you were happy with. If the company refuses to do it, you should contact a consumer law attorney.
Q. Can I cancel my wedding in NJ in 11/2020 under the impossibility clause for a full refund due to COVID?
A: In addition to whatever the terms are in your contract, there are principals of general contract law regarding unforeseeable intervening events, impossibility and frustration of purpose that may apply to your situation. In addition, if the venue refuses to allow you to cancel and return your deposit, its actions may be considered unconscionable under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, which provides a prevailing consumer with triple damages and attorneys fees. You should ask a consumer law attorney to review your contract and the facts of your case. You may want an attorney to write a letter on your behalf in an effort to secure the return of your deposit. If the venue still refuses, or if you believe a letter would be futile and prefer to consider litigation, a consumer law attorney will assess the strength of your case and may offer representation in litigation at a low cost to you. ... Read More
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Contact & Map
Houston & Totaro
277 Fairfield Road
Suite 200
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Telephone: (973) 228-6200
Fax: (973) 228-6213
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