Massachusetts law about shopping and returns

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on the law of shopping and returns by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Table of Contents

Best bet

A Massachusetts consumer guide to shopping rights, Office of Consumer Affairs. 
Explains laws that protect consumers so that you can make informed decisions about your purchases. 

Laws and regulations

Advertising

Cash purchases

Cooling off periods

 

7 years Gift cards are valid

Gift certificates and gift cards

  • MGL c.255D, § 1 Gift certificate defined
  • MGL c.93, § 14S Store credits must be valid at least 7 years
  • MGL c.200A, § 5D Gift cards must be valid at least 7 years; Dates must be clearly indicated
  • 12 CFR 205.20 Restricts dormancy, inactivity, or service fees for certain prepaid products, including gift cards, and prohibits the sale or issuance of such products if they have an expiration date of less than 5 years.

Holidays

Item pricing

  • MGL c.94, §§ 184B-184E Grocery items:
    • § 184B Definitions
    • § 184C Price disclosure and display on items offered for sale by food store or food department
    • § 184D Inspection of food stores and food departments for compliance with Secs. 184B to 184E; violations and fines; consumer complaint of noncompliance
    • § 184E Conversion from individual item pricing system to consumer price scanner system; operation and inspection of consumer price scanner system
  • 940 CMR 3.13  Non-grocery items

Rain Checks

Returns

Sales

Unsolicited Merchandise

Warranties

Web sources

Consumer education and resources, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs
Links to consumer guide to shopping rights and scams, consumer protection law, and options for resolving a consumer complaint.

Massachusetts blue laws, Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development
Includes links to the laws themselves, as well as an overview, which explains the rules for opening on Sundays and holidays

Shopping 101, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs
Links to blog posts by the Office of Consumer Affairs on topics related to shopping and returns.

Print sources

Consumer law, 3rd ed. (Mass. Practice Series vol. 35 - 36A), 2010 with supplement. 

  • Advertising – chapter 2
  • Miscellaneous products or services – chapter 30
  • Retail Practice – Chapter 3
  • Warranties – Chapter 6

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

Reference librarians online Chat with a law librarian 
Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

Administrative office (no law library at this location)
2 Center Plaza
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: June 11, 2019
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