New Hampshire Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Regulations relating to deceptive trade practices in New Hampshire are dealt under New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Chapter 358-A (Regulation of Business Practices for Consumer Protection) et seq.  Pursuant to Section 358-A:2 of this Chapter, it is unlawful for any person to advertise any goods or services with the intent not to sell them as advertised.  According to Section 358-A:4, an Attorney General can bring a suit in the name of the State against any person who violates that trade or commerce which are declared unlawful by this chapter.  Under Section 358-A:10, any person injured by another’s use of deceptive method or practices may bring an action for damages.  Again under Section 358-A:10-a, any person is entitled to bring an action, if anybody’s unlawful act or deceptive trade practices or methods has caused similar damages to numerous others.  In other words, any representative or representatives of a class of persons who are residents of this State can bring an action against one or more defendants to recover actual damages.

Pursuant to Section 358-A:6, any natural person or other person convicted for violating any of the provisions of this Chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor or of a felony respectively.  If any person found to have engaged in any unlawful trade practices the court may award to the state, in any action, all legal costs and expenses.

Under Section 358-A:10, a legal remedy in the form of an injunction, equitable relief, reasonable attorney fees, actual damages or $1000 can be recovered from any person who violated any of the provisions of this Chapter.  Pursuant to section 358-A:4, Court may also order to award to the state, civil penalties not exceeding $10,000 for each violation of this Chapter.

A person is guilty of an offense if s/he changes, tampers with or defaces, or attempts to change, tamper with or deface, any gauge, dial, or other mechanical instrument, commonly known as an odometer or an hour meter, in a motor vehicle.  S/he shall be convicted of a misdemeanor for the first offence and, for a subsequent offence, shall be guilty of a class B felony.

RSA 358-A:2

Acts Unlawful.
It shall be unlawful for any person to use any unfair method of competition or any unfair or deceptive act or practice in the conduct of any trade or commerce within this state. Such unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
I. Passing off goods or services as those of another;
II. Causing likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services;
III. Causing likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to affiliation, connection or association with, or certification by, another;
IV. Using deceptive representations or designations of geographic origin in connection with goods or services;
V. Representing 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 such person does not have;
VI. Representing that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used or secondhand;
VII. Representing 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;
VIII. Disparaging the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading representation of fact;
IX. Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised;
X. Advertising goods or services with intent not to supply reasonably expectable public demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity.
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RSA 358-A:4

(a) Whenever the attorney general has reason to believe that trade or commerce declared unlawful by this chapter has been, is being or is about to be conducted by any person, the attorney general may bring an action in the name of the state against such person to restrain by temporary or permanent injunction the use of such trade or commerce and may petition the court for an order of restitution of money or property to any person or class of persons injured thereby. The action may be brought in the superior court of the county in which the person allegedly in violation of this chapter resides or in which the principal place of business is located, or, with the consent of the parties or if the person is a nonresident and has no place of business within the state, in the superior court of Merrimack county.

RSA 358-A:10

I. Any person injured by another’s use of any method, act or practice declared unlawful under this chapter may bring an action for damages and for such equitable relief, including an injunction, as the court deems necessary and proper. If the court finds for the plaintiff, recovery shall be in the amount of actual damages or $1,000, whichever is greater. If the court finds that the use of the method of competition or the act or practice was a willful or knowing violation of this chapter, it shall award as much as 3 times, but not less than 2 times, such amount. In addition, a prevailing plaintiff shall be awarded the costs of the suit and reasonable attorney’s fees, as determined by the court. Any attempted waiver of the right to the damages set forth in this paragraph shall be void and unenforceable. Injunctive relief shall be available to private individuals under this chapter without bond, subject to the discretion of the court.

RSA 358-A:10-a

Class Actions.

I. Persons entitled to bring an action under RSA 358-A:10 may, if the unlawful act or practice has caused similar injury to numerous other persons, institute an action as representative or representatives of a class of persons who are residents of this state or whose cause of action arose within this state against one or more defendants as individuals or as representatives of a class or against one or more such defendants having a principal place of business within this state, and the petition shall allege such facts as will show that these persons or the named defendants specifically named and served with process have been fairly chosen and adequately and fairly represent the whole class, to recover actual damages as provided for in RSA 358-A:10. The court may require the plaintiff to prove such allegations, unless all of the members of the class have entered their appearance, and the court may also determine that it shall not be sufficient to prove such facts by the admissions of the defendants who have entered their appearance. In any action brought under this section, the court may order, in addition to actual damages, injunctive or other equitable relief and reasonable attorney’s fees.
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RSA 358-A:6

Penalties.

I. Any person convicted of violating RSA 358-A:2 hereof shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if any other person.
II. Any person who violates the terms of an injunction issued under RSA 358-A:4, III, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if any other person. For the purposes of this section, the court issuing said injunction shall retain jurisdiction.
III. Any person who subverts the intent and purposes of this chapter by filing false, misleading, or substantially inaccurate statements with the attorney general for the purposes of effecting prosecution under this chapter shall be guilty of a violation.
IV. If any person is found to have engaged in any act or practice declared unlawful by this chapter, the court may award to the state in any action brought under this chapter all legal costs and expenses. RSA 525:12 shall apply to civil actions commenced under this chapter.


Inside New Hampshire Deceptive Trade Practices Laws