Maine Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Deceptive trade practices in the state of Maine are dealt under Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Act), Section 1211 et seq.  Section 1212 of the Act prohibits any person from advertising goods and services with intent not to sell them as advertised.

Under Section 1213, any person damaged by a deceptive trade practice of another can claim injunctive relief from the Court.  The Court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees.

Under Section 209 of Chapter 10 (Unfair Trade Practices) of the Maine Revised Statutes, an Attorney General can also bring an action in the name of the State against any violators to restrain them by temporary or permanent injunction.  According to Section 213 of the Maine Revised Statutes, a private remedy is available to any person who suffers any loss of money or property as a result of an act or practice, done by another person, which was declared unlawful under this Chapter.  Any person can recover actual damages, restitution and other equitable relief, including an injunction against any violators of the provisions of this Chapter (Unfair Trade Practices).

According to Section 2106 of Chapter 19 (Operation), Subchapter 2 (Violations) under the Maine Revised Statutes, a person is guilty of a Class C offence if s/he disconnects, changes or tampers with the odometer of a motor vehicle with the intent to misrepresent or change the number of miles indicated on the odometer.

10 M.R.S. § 1212

A person engages in a deceptive trade practice when, in the course of his business, vocation or occupation, he
A. Passes off goods or services as those of another;
B. Causes likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the
source, sponsorship, approval or certification of goods or services;
C. Causes likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to
affiliation, connection or association with, or certification by,
another;
D. Uses deceptive representations or designations of geographic
origin in connection with goods or services;
E. Represents that goods or services have sponsorship, approval,
characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits or quantities that they
do not have, or that a person has a sponsorship, approval, status,
affiliation or connection that he does not have;
F. Represents that goods are original or new if they are
deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used or secondhand;
G. Represents that goods or services are of a particular standard,
quality or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model,
if they are of another;
H. Disparages the goods, services or business of another by false or
misleading representation of fact.

****

10 M.R.S. § 1213

Remedies
A person likely to be damaged by a deceptive trade practice of another may be granted an injunction against it under the principles of equity and on terms that the court considers reasonable. Proof of monetary damage, loss of profits or intent to deceive is not required. Relief granted for the copying of an article shall be limited to the prevention of confusion or misunderstanding as to source.
The court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party. Costs or attorneys’ fees may be assessed against a defendant only if the court finds that he has willfully engaged in a deceptive trade practice.
The relief provided in this section is in addition to remedies otherwise available against the same conduct under the common law or other statutes of this State.

5 M.R.S. § 209

Injunction; procedures
Whenever the Attorney General has reason to believe that any person is using or is about to use any method, act or practice declared by section 207 to be unlawful, and that proceedings would be in the public interest, he may bring an action in the name of the State against such person to restrain by temporary or permanent injunction the use of such method, act or practice and the court may make such other orders or judgments as may be necessary to restore to any person who has suffered any ascertainable loss by reason of the use or employment of such unlawful method, act or practice, any moneys or property, real or personal, which may have been acquired by means of such method, act or practice. At least 10 days prior to commencement of any action under this section, the Attorney General shall notify the person of his intended action, and give the person an opportunity to confer with the Attorney General in person or by counsel or other representative as to the proposed action. Notice shall be given the person by mail, postage prepaid, sent to his usual place of business, or if he has no usual place of business, to his last known address. The Attorney General may proceed without notice as required by this section upon a showing of facts by affidavit of immediate irreparable harm to the consumers of the State. The action may be brought in the Superior Court of the county in which such person resides or has his principal place of business, or may be brought in the Superior Court of Kennebec County. The said courts are authorized to issue temporary or permanent injunctions to restrain and prevent violations of this chapter. Any district attorney or law enforcement officer, receiving notice of any alleged violation of this chapter, shall immediately forward written notice of the same with any other information that he may have to the office of the Attorney General. Any person who violates the terms of an injunction issued under this section shall forfeit and pay to the State, to be applied in the carrying out of this chapter, a civil penalty of not more than $ 10,000 for each violation. For the purposes of this section, the court issuing such injunction shall retain jurisdiction, and the cause shall be continued, and in such cases the Attorney General acting in the name of the State may petition for recovery of such civil penalty. In any action under this section where a permanent injunction is issued, the court may order the person against whom the permanent injunction has been issued to pay to the State the costs of the investigation of that person by the Attorney General and the costs of the suit, which funds shall accrue to the General Fund.
****

5 M.R.S. § 213

Private remedies
1. COURT ACTION. Any person who purchases or leases goods, services or property, real or personal, primarily for personal, family or household purposes and thereby suffers any loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by another person of a method, act or practice declared unlawful by section 207 or by any rule or regulation issued under section 207, subsection 2 may bring an action either in the Superior Court or District Court for actual damages, restitution and for such other equitable relief, including an injunction, as the court determines to be necessary and proper. There is a right to trial by jury in any action brought in Superior Court under this section.
****

29-A M.R.S. § 2106

§ 2106.  Tampering with odometer
1. ODOMETER. A person is guilty of a Class C offense if that person:
A. Disconnects, changes or tampers with the odometer of a motor
vehicle with the intent to misrepresent or change the number of miles
indicated on the odometer; or
B. When the odometer reading differs from the number of miles a
vehicle has been driven, knowingly offers for sale that motor vehicle
without disclosing that the actual mileage is unknown or is known to
be different than the odometer reading.


Inside Maine Deceptive Trade Practices Laws