July 26, 2017 – Massachusetts G.L. Chapter 93A, also known as the Consumer Protection Act, protects and defends consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices. This law allows you to sue a business in court if that business is in violation of 93A – meaning the business engaged in misleading or unfair practices. If you believe you are the victim of a deceptive business practice and are unable to resolve the issue informally with the merchant, you may consider taking legal action.
In order to bring a 93A action to court you must begin by sending the business a 93A “demand letter,” to which the business has 30 days to respond. The demand letter serves 3 basic functions:
- It provides notice and information to a business about the nature of the consumer’s claim.
- It encourages a business to negotiate a settlement rather than go to court.
- It controls the amount of money damages a consumer may ultimately recover.
The letter must follow these guidelines:
- It must be sent 30 days before any court action filings occur. It may be a good idea to send two letters – one by certified mail and one by regular mail – to ensure that there is a record of it in case the business refuses to accept your letter. Remember to keep a copy of the letter for your own personal records as well.
- It must identify the claimant – Be sure to include your full name and residential address on the letter.
- It must provide a reasonable description of the unfair act or practice. Be sure to provide a factual account of what happened and a timeline of when you believe the deception occurred.
- It must identify damages that occurred. This can be done by describing the money or property lost or any injuries suffered due to the unfair or deceptive act. You may also want to include the cost to remedy in order to help the court determine what actual damages you are entitled to.
Additional information on writing a 30 Day 93A demand letter, as well as a sample letter, can be found here. If a legal issue arises and you would like to speak with a lawyer, please contact the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service at 617-742-0625 or submit an online request form here today!