For Immediate Release - January 27, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley to Hold Hearings on Proposed Retail Advertising Regulations

First Time in Decade Regulations Have Been Amended

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office will hold hearings across the state next month on amendments her office has proposed to its current Retail Advertising Regulations. The Attorney General's Office is proposing these amendments given the change in retail sales technologies, the advent of Internet advertising and sales, and some advertising practices the Attorney General has investigated. The proposed amendments will expand the scope of the current regulations to ensure coverage of Internet advertising; simplify price comparison analysis for print, television and radio advertising; and delete references to catalogue price comparisons. The proposed amended regulations were filed last week in the Secretary of State's Office.

"These proposed changes are part of our office's ongoing effort to modernize and streamline consumer protection regulations to meet changes in the marketplace," said Attorney General Coakley. "We recognize the need to be vigilant to changing methods of doing business, to ensure that both consumers and the business community understand what is being offered in a business transaction, and that you get what you pay for in these difficult economic times."

The hearings, which will be held next month in Springfield and Boston will be held at the dates and locations below:

BOSTON:
February 18, 2009, 10:00 a.m.
One Ashburton Place, 21 st Floor
Boston, MA 02108

SPRINGFIELD:
February 19, 2009, 11:00 a.m.
Attorney General's Western Massachusetts Office
1350 Main Street, 3 rd Floor Community Room
Springfield, MA 01103

In 1990, the Attorney General's Office issued regulations under the Consumer Protection Act that identified certain unfair or deceptive conduct in the business of retail advertising. These regulations have served to guide the industry in their marketing practices in the Commonwealth for a number of years.

Since 1990, however, there have been many changes in retail sales technologies, including the advent of internet advertising and sales. These changes, and investigations of some advertising practices conducted by the Attorney General's Office, have resulted in proposed amendments to update the regulations to reflect this altered marketplace. After collecting testimony at the hearings and written comments on the proposed revised regulations, the Attorney General anticipates issuing final revised regulations, likely this spring.

Copies of the proposed regulation, the notice of hearing, and the Attorney General's fiscal effect and small business statements are available on the Attorney General's website at www.mass.gov/ago/regulations, or by calling paralegal Nina Thanawala at (617) 963-2996. Interested parties are encouraged to attend a hearing and provide testimony. Persons intending to speak will be afforded an early opportunity to testify if the Attorney General's Office receives notice by 5:00 p.m. on February 13, 2009. All others will be heard subsequently. Requests to speak should be directed to:

Nina Thanawala
Attorney General's Office
Consumer Protection Division
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Written comments also may be sent to this address, on or before February 19, 2009.

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