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Many consumers are unaware of the rights they are entitled to under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A. Likewise, many merchants may not fully understand their responsibilities under this law.
The law does not define any specific business actions that violate the law; rather it states that “unfair or deceptive practices” are illegal. Although each case is judged on its own merits, some examples of unfair or deceptive practices that might fall under Chapter 93A would be when:
If a consumer believes a business has violated the Consumer Protection Law and engaged in some sort of unfair or deceptive practice and after attempting to resolve the complaint with the merchant informally, he/she may decide to take legal action. As a general matter, a consumer suing under law must demonstrate the following to prove the claim:
A court can award a consumer plaintiff who proves the above compensatory or actual damages, sometimes as much as double or treble damages if the plaintiff can prove (1) the defendant willfully and knowingly violated Chapter 93A or (2) the defendant refused to grant relief in bad faith with knowledge or reason to know that his acts violated Chapter 93A.
Generally, a business suing another business under the law must demonstrate the following to prove its claim:
A court can award a business plaintiff who proves the above compensatory or actual damages. Multiple (double or treble) damages are also available if the plaintiff can prove the defendant willfully and knowingly violated Chapter 93A. Reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred in the lawsuit are also available under certain circumstances.
Free legal resources exist throughout Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Bar Dial-a-Lawyer617-338-0571
Legal Advocacy and Resource Center1-800-342-LAWS
Western MA Volunteer Lawyers Service1-800-639-1209