Massachusetts Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Massachusetts deceptive trade practices laws are stated in Chapter 93A of Annotated Laws of Massachusetts.  Under, Chapter 93A Section 2, and Chapter 266 Section 91, false advertising is a forbidden act.  Under Chapter 266 Sections 141, and 141A, tampering a vehicle’s odometer to misrepresent the miles in the meter is forbidden, and it is a civil wrong as well as a crime. The wrongdoer can be charged with a criminal penalty upto $1000 or can be imprisoned for a period not less than 30 days and not more than two years.  In a civil action the wrongdoer can be fined with treble damages or $15000 whichever is greater plus reasonable attorney fees and cost.

Under Chapter 93A, Section 9, a private person can bring an action.  Under Chapter 93A, Section 4, the Attorney General is authorized to bring an action.  Under Chapter 93A, Section 11, remedies available are: injunction, double or treble damages, attorney fees and costs.

ALM GL ch. 93A, § 2 reads:

“§ 2.  Unfair Methods of Competition or Deceptive Acts or Practices.
  (a) Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.

(b) It is the intent of the legislature that in construing paragraph (a) of this section in actions brought under sections four, nine and eleven, the courts will be guided by the interpretations given by the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Courts to section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act ( 15 U.S.C. 45(a)(1)), as from time to time amended.

(c) The attorney general may make rules and regulations interpreting the provisions of subsection 2(a) of this chapter. Such rules and regulations shall not be inconsistent with the rules, regulations and decisions of the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Courts interpreting the provisions of 15 U.S.C. 45(a)(1) (The Federal Trade Commission Act), as from time to time amended.”

ALM GL ch. 266, § 91 reads:
”§ 91.  Untrue and Misleading Advertisements Prohibited; Penalty; Exceptions; Injunction.
  Any person who, with intent to sell or in any way dispose of merchandise, securities, service, or anything offered by such person, directly or indirectly, to the public for sale or distribution, or who, with intent to increase the consumption of or demand for such merchandise, securities, service or other thing, or to induce the public in any manner to enter into any obligation relating thereto, or to acquire title thereto, or an interest therein, makes, publishes, disseminates, circulates or places before the public, or causes, directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated or placed before the public within the commonwealth, in a newspaper or other publication, or in the form of a book, notice, handbill, poster, bill, circular, pamphlet or letter, or in any other way, an advertisement of any sort regarding merchandise, securities, service or anything so offered to the public, which advertisement contains any assertion, representation or statement of fact which is untrue, deceptive or misleading, and which such person knew, or might on reasonable investigation have ascertained to be untrue, deceptive or misleading, shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than two thousand dollars; provided, that this section shall not apply to any owner, publisher, printer, agent or employee of a newspaper or other publication, periodical or circular, or to any agent of the advertiser who in good faith and without knowledge of the falsity or deceptive character thereof publishes, causes to be published, or participates in the publication of such advertisement.
Whoever violates the provisions of this section may be enjoined therefrom by a petition in equity brought by the attorney general or any aggrieved party.”


Inside Massachusetts Deceptive Trade Practices Laws