Massachusetts law about consumer protection

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on consumer protection law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.93A Regulation of business practices for consumers' protection
MGL c.176D Unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts and practices in the business of insurance

Massachusetts regulations

940 CMR 3 General regulations

Forms

Selected case law

Anderson v. National Union Fire Insurance Co., 476 Mass 377 (2017) 
Post judgment interest not part of damages trebled under chapter 93A.

Bridgwood v. A.J. Wood Construction, Inc., 480 Mass. 349 (2018)
The 6-year statute of repose in MGL c.260, § 2B can bar a MGL c.93A action for defective workmanship in home renovations if the claim is "sufficiently tort-like."

Feeney v. Dell, 454 Mass.192 (2009)
Provisions in consumer contracts forcing arbitration of claims under M.G.L.A. c. 93A and barring class claims in arbitration were unenforceable. Such provisions violate the fundamental public policy of the Commonwealth favoring consumer class actions under c. 93A.

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 MGL c.176D and MGL c.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."

Moronta v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, 476 Mass. 1013 (Mass. 2016)
No demand letter is required under MGL c.93A, § 9 (3), where “the prospective respondent does not maintain a place of business … within the commonwealth,” regardless of whether it “keep[s] assets” here.

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."

Rafferty v. Merck & Co., Inc., 479 Mass. 141 (2018)
To sue under MGL c.93A, "[i]t suffices that the plaintiff used the product, even if it was sold to another, and was injured as a result."

Schubach v. Household Finance Corporation, 375 Mass. 133 (1978)
"Intentionally filing collection actions against consumers in inconvenient distant courts, with the purpose and effect of securing default judgments and gaining unfair advantage," may be an unfair and deceptive act under MGL c.93A, "even though the company filed its actions in compliance with c. 223, Section 2."

Sullivan v. Five Acres Realty Trust, 487 Mass. 64 (2021)
Jury consultant fees are not recoverable under MGL c.93A.

Organizations

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

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
17 Park Plaza, Suite 5170
Boston, MA 02116
(888) 283-3757

Web sources

Advisory on automobile advertising, pricing and lease buyouts, Mass. Attorney General, 2021. 
Advisory for consumers and auto dealers on their rights and obligations on advertising and pricing.

"Chapter 93A: Dilution and confusion through overuse," Massachusetts Law Review, August, 2017, 98 Mass. L. Rev. 61, Tara J. Myslinski, Stephanie R. Parker.

Consumer information, Federal Trade Commission. 
The banner near the top of the page includes topics: Shopping and donating; Credit, loans and debt; Jobs and making money; Unwanted calls, emails and texts; Identity theft and online security; Scams.

"Consumer protection: exploring private causes of action for victims of data breaches," 41 W. New England Law Review 253, 2019.

How Mass. General Law 93A affects online businesses, E-Legal Lawyer, 2007.
Great article on the application of 93A to online transactions

The Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.   
Explanation of the law, links to legal assistance and 30 day demand letter.

Responding to Chapter 93A demand letters in product liability cases, Mass. Bar Assn. Lawyers' Journal, January 2013.
Outlines best practices for responding to a demand letter.

Student-consumers: The application of Chapter 93A to higher education in Massachusetts, Boston Bar Journal, January 2013.
Discusses consumer fraud suits that have been brought against colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

Taking action: the consumer protection law, 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 issues, 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, 2009.

Chapter 93A rights and remedies, MCLE, 5th ed., 2022.

Massachusetts conveyancers' handbook with forms, 4th ed., by Edward G. Mendler, West Group, 2008 with supplement, sec. 5:4.

Massachusetts Practice:

Massachusetts proof of cases, Marc Perlin, annual, West Thomson Reuters, annual. Ch. 9 and Ch. 30.4.

Massachusetts Superior Court civil practice jury instructions, MCLE, loose-leaf. Chapter 16, Consumer Protection Act - Chapter 93A. 

"Negligence is not enough: Darviros v. Petros," 49 Boston Bar Journal 6 (Mar.-Apr. 2005) Medical services and chapter 93A.

"Trustee liable under 93A for mishandling funds," 29 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 1461 (March 5, 2001) Chapter 93A can apply to professional trustees.

Contact

Last updated: November 15, 2022
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