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Massachusetts Law About Consumer Protection

Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts Regulations

940 CMR 3: Consumer Protection Division: General Regulations

Forms

Consumer Protection Forms

Selected Case Law

Duclersaint v. Federal National Mortgage Association, 427 Mass. 809, 696 NE2d 536 (1998) "A practice may be deceptive if it reasonably could be found to have caused the plaintiff to act differently than he otherwise would have acted. However, a good faith dispute as to whether money is owed, or performance of some kind is due, in not the stuff of which a c.93A claim is made."

Feeney v. Dell, 454 Mass.192 (2009) In a civil action challenging an order compelling arbitration pursuant to the terms of a consumer contract, this court ordered that the plaintiffs' complaint be dismissed without prejudice, on the ground that the plaintiffs' allegation that the defendant had erroneously collected sales tax attributable to the purchase of computer service contracts fell outside "the conduct of trade or commerce" as those terms are used in G. L. c. 93A, § 2 (a).

Glickman v. Brown, 21 Mass. App. Ct. 229 (1985) "Sellers should not be allowed to misrepresent the truth simply because they have not made reasonable efforts to ascertain it. We hold (if there were any doubt about it) that a negligent misrepresentation of fact the truth of which is reasonably capable of ascertainment is an unfair and deceptive act or practice within the meaning of c. 93A, Section 2(a)."

Greelish v. Drew, 35 Mass. App. Ct. 541, 622 NE2d 1376 (1993) The court applied an amendment to Chapter 93A which increased the potential damages available when an insurer engages in an unfair or deceptive act or practice. Previously, underlying insurance coverage was not included in the base damages subject to multiplication under Chapter 93A; this case determined that the underlying insurance coverage was to be included.

Haser v. Wright, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 903, 840 NE2d 63 (2005). Parties who fail to request attorney fees in their briefs may be denied the ability to recover those fees.

Hopkins v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., 434 Mass. 556, 750 NE2d 943 (2001). A claim against an insurance company for unfair settlement practices arising from a single act can constitute an actionable violation of Chapter 176D and Chapter 93A.

Klairmont v. Gainsboro Restaurant, Inc., 465 Mass. 165 (2013). "A claim under G. L. c. 93A ...survived the death of the decedent, where it presented a cause of action that was substantively akin to the types of torts within the scope of the Massachusetts survival statute, G. L. c. 228, § 1."

Leardi v. Brown, 394 Mass. 151 (1985). Chapter 93A can be used to redress any injury, defined as "invasion of a legally protected interest." and "plaintiffs are entitled to nominal damages even where no actual damages are shown."

Piers v. Wheeler and Taylor, Inc., 8 Mass. Law Reporter 410 (1998) "Representing to a buyer of a home that the property is free of lead-contaminated paint without verifying that fact constitutes willful misconduct subjecting the seller and the seller's real estate agent to multiple damages under c.93A."

Other Web Sources

Complaints and Mediation Services, Mass. Attorney General. Provides links to information on mediation, small claims and 93A, and includes an online form you can use to file your complaint with the Attorney General.

Consumer Action Handbook, Federal Citizen Information Center. Published annually. Inside, you'll find helpful tips about banking, cars, credit, education, employment, health care, housing, identity theft, insurance, internet, phones, privacy, telemarketing, travel, tv, utilities, wills/funerals. It also offers help in filing a consumer complaint.

Consumer Information, Federal Trade Commission. Topics covered include automobiles, credit, privacy, e-commerce, health care, travel and more.

Consumer Law and Shopping Rights, Small Claims Advisory Service. In plain language, explains the key consumer protection laws-- c.93A, Uniform Commercial Code, 940 CMR and more.

Consumer Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors in Massachusetts, National Consumer Law Center, 2011. "The information in this packet is intended to help you: Separate your finances from your abuser; Deal with any existing debts; Stay financially independent in the future and avoid traps and scams; and Get more help and information with these issues."

How Mass. General Law 93A Affects Online Businesses, E-Legal Lawyer. Great article on the application of 93A to online transactions.

Taking Action on Your Own: Chapter 93A, Mass. Attorney General. Includes a description of the process and a sample 93A Demand Letter .

Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices, Mass. Legal Help. Includes a summary of the law, examples of unfair or deceptive practices, and suggestions on what to do if you feel you have been victimized.

USA.gov: Consumer Protection, Federal Citizen Information Center. Site is packed with information on a wide variety of consumer topics, and includes valuable advice on where and how to file a complaint.

Print Sources

Chapter 93A and 176D Bad Faith Update, by Brian A. O'Connell, et al., Mass. Bar Institute, 2004.

Chapter 93A Rights and Remedies, 2d ed., edited by Margot Botsford, MCLE, loose-leaf.

How to Try a Chapter 93A and 176D Case, by Mark Albano, et al., Mass. Bar Institute, 2003.

Massachusetts Conveyancers' Handbook with Forms, 4th ed., by Edward G. Mendler, West Group, 2008 with supplement, sec. 5:4.

Massachusetts Practice:

"Negligence is Not Enough: Darviros v. Petros," 49 Boston Bar Journal 6 (Mar.-Apr. 2005).

"Trustee Liable Under 93A for Mishandling Funds," 29 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 1461 (March 5, 2001)

Organizations


Massachusetts Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division
McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-8400

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Regulation
17 Park Plaza, Suite 5170
Boston, MA 02116
(888) 283-3757
Resolve a Problem
30 Day Demand Letter