Most people living in Massachusetts are unaware of their rights as consumers. Massachusetts has an incredibly consumer-friendly law called 93A (which is just the chapter number of the law itself) that protects individuals and businesses from “unfair and deceptive” behavior in the marketplace.
What is “Unfair and Deceptive”?
The courts have not fully defined what an unfair and deceptive act or practice is, leaving the determination to be made on a case-by-case basis by looking at the behavior of the business involved. Additionally, the Attorney General enacts regulations that may define an unfair and deceptive act in a certain context; for instance regulating how a car dealer advertises or sells vehicles.
Who Does 93A Protect?
Though the law is a consumer protection law, Section 11 allows one business to recover from another business for unfair and deceptive practices in the context of some trade being conducted. The standard of what is unfair and deceptive is much higher to prove for businesses than consumers.
What Do I Do If I Think I Have a Claim?
If you believe you have a claim, you should always contact a consumer protection attorney to guide you through the next steps and potentially represent you. The good news about 93A is that you can potentially recover your attorney fees if you have a claim.
What Do I Get If I Win?
If you win your case, you can recover the full amount of damages, plus up to two or three times that amount if the business’s violation was “willful”. In addition to having your damages multiplied, you could also potentially have your attorney fees and costs associated with bringing the lawsuit reimbursed. This is a great tool which allows average consumers to obtain settlements that they may not have been able to obtain otherwise.
If you or someone you know has a 93A claim, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable consumer protection attorney. There are certain requirements before you can bring your claims in court, and it is usually a bad idea to try to handle a case yourself. The attorneys at McLane & McLane have dealt with numerous 93A cases and can walk you through how to win your case.