Chapter 93A of the Massachusetts General Laws (similar statutes in RI and NH) offer clients a great opportunity to protect their rights against those who act in an unfair and deceptive manner.
Many people and businesses are unaware of the rights and responsibilities that arise from the Massachusetts Consumer Protection law.
How many business people are owed money? How many landlords are owed rent? If you are a tenant, how often do landlords not properly return your security deposits?
What Violates The Consumer Protection Law?
“Unfair or deceptive practices” are illegal. What is “unfair” or “deceptive?” A court’s analysis of what is unfair or deceptive will not be limited to merely contract, negligence or breach of warranty claims. Harassment, defamation and invasion of privacy all can fall within the list of illegal actions so long as the conduct happens in the consumer realm or anything that touches upon the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Fraud, deception and unfair methods of competition also violate Chapter 93A. Unfair methods of competition claims must be tied to conduct harming the marketplace as a whole and not just to a single consumer or business.
Certain actions are deemed to be violations of Chapter 93A by their very nature. Under the law, these illegal activities include certain debt collection practices, landlord-tenant actions and sales tactics.
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:
- A business charges a consumer higher rates than the marked, published or advertised price.
- The refund/return policy is not clearly posted where it can be readily noticed and understood.
- A business does not meet its warranty agreement.
- An insurance company does not pay out, as promised in the policy.
- A business fails to tell you relevant information regarding your product or service or misleads you in any way.
- A business uses “Bait and Switch” advertising – a technique by which the seller advertises an item for sale at a particularly good price or terms but does not really want to sell that item. The seller discourages the purchase of the advertised item and instead tries to convince the buyer to purchase a different item for a higher price or on less favorable terms.
These are some classic examples. Many other scenarios may also implicate Chapter 93A.
How many business people are owed money? How many landlords are owed rent? If you are a tenant, how often do landlords not properly return your security deposits? These are all questions that are addressed within M.G.L. Chapter 93A.
While many collections agencies simply rely on strength in numbers, at PKBoston, we give every collections case our full attention. Furthermore, we do not just rely on repeat phone calls to the debtor; we follow a regimented process of progressive discipline, which proves to be very effective. The way we go about collecting debts, the debtor fully understands the debt and the reason for our collection efforts. Our communication with the debtor is often so reliable, that our clients can, if they choose, continue to work for the debtor after the collection is completed.