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Massachusetts Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Many state business laws prohibit practices considered "deceptive" to consumers, such as rolling back the odometer on a used car or using false advertising. Unlike many other states, Massachusetts adheres to the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Under Massachusetts deceptive trade practice laws a party can be held liable for three-times damages for rolling back an odometer.

Deceptive Trade Practices Laws in Massachusetts

The basic provisions of Massachusetts' deceptive trade practice laws are listed in the following chart, with links to relevant sources below.

Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted

Yes (Ch.93A §21)

False Advertising Forbidden

Unlawful (Ch. 93A §2); (Ch. 266 §91, et seq.)

Who May Bring Suit

Attorney general; private parties (Ch. 93A §9)

Remedies Available

Injunction, double or treble damages, attorney's fees and costs (Ch. 93A §11)

Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden

Yes, liable for three times actual damages or $1,500, whichever is greater; attorney's fees; (Ch. 266 §141A) criminal penalty of $500 to $1000 and 30 days to 2 yrs. imprisonment

A consumer scam can come in all shapes and sizes. If you suspect a person or business is engaging in unfair or deceptive business practices, you should contact a consumer protection office in your area. These offices contain information about ongoing consumer scams and can also investigate and prosecute scammers according to criminal law. You may also have local sources, such as your local prosecutor, newspaper, radio station, or television station, which can help you. Many of these local sources have dedicated resources to help protect local citizens against consumer scams or expose existing scams.

In addition to state and local agencies, you may also contact relevant federal agencies, such as www.consumeraction.gov. There are also a number of nonprofits, such as the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org and sites like www.fraud.org, which can assist you in registering complaints regarding consumer scams. Fraud.org will let you fill out a fraud complaint, and will also handle forwarding it to all of the appropriate agencies.

Related Resources for Massachusetts Deceptive Trade Practices Laws:

It’s not easy trying to figure out if you’ve been the victim of a consumer scam. If you would like legal advice regarding a consumer law matter, you can contact a Massachusetts consumer law attorney in your area and schedule a consultation to discuss your case. If you’d like to continue your own research, you can visit FindLaw’s Consumers and the Law section for more introductory information on this topic.

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