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Misrepresentations of Product or Service in Massachusetts: Know Your Consumer Rights
Consumers rely on product or service assertions made by manufacturers, sellers, and distributors to make informed purchasing decisions, or so they think.
Any agreement or sale depends on the goodwill and honesty of the participants, typically the seller and the buyer. When parties enter into an agreement or a purchase is made, the seller or another party may violate the consumer’s rights by misrepresenting the facts about the product or service.
If you believe that your consumer rights have been violated through a product, service or contractual misrepresentation, reach out to our Massachusetts business litigation lawyer at The Law Offices of Richard Mucci.
What is Misrepresentation in Business Litigation?
Misrepresentation is an integral concept of contract law in Massachusetts that can be grounds for business litigation.
The Business Dictionary defines misrepresentation as “fraudulent, negligent, or innocent misstatement, or an incomplete statement, of a material fact.” This misrepresentation by one party coerces another party to enter into a contract or agreement.
In business litigation, to hold an individual or company responsible for making the misrepresentation of a product or service, the plaintiff must show evidence that the false information or misstatement was the primary reason why he or she decided to pay for the product or service.
If the plaintiff wants to pursue damages of any kind, his or her Massachusetts business litigation lawyer must demonstrate evidence that the plaintiff suffered damages directly or indirectly from relying on the defendant’s false statement.
Misrepresentations of Product or Service in Massachusetts
Prior to filing a claim against the person or company who made the untrue statements, it is essential to understand the basics of what is a misrepresentation of a product or service in Massachusetts:
- An opinion about a product or service is not considered “misrepresentation” even if rendered false.
- The main idea behind business litigation cases against individuals and companies for misrepresenting products or services is to ensure that no negligent or unscrupulous behavior goes unpunished.
- If false statements are made during the course of business but are not part of a contract, they may still be considered “misrepresentation.”
- An opinion may constitute misrepresentation only if the untruthful statement is made without a reasonable belief in the truth.
- If a customer buys a product after a seller’s false promises or claims, his or her Massachusetts business litigation lawyer is still required to prove that the seller was trying to coerce the customer into making the purchase.
- In many cases, a false statement will still be considered a misrepresentation even if the customer has a chance to find out the truth.
- Typically, business litigation cases based on misrepresentation of products or services may be dismissed if the defendant can prove that the claims were mostly accurate.
What Constitutes Fraudulent Misrepresentation?
Fraudulent misrepresentation is any false claim that is made without belief in the truth. This form of consumer fraud occurs when a party to an agreement willingly makes false statements to induce another party to complete the business transaction.
A seller, manufacturer, distributor, or another party commits a fraudulent misrepresentation by making an untrue claim or assertion regarding the product or service’s nature or quality.
This type of consumer fraud is not only a reason to revoke the agreement and demand compensation but may also become grounds for seeking monetary damages from the defendant.
In that case, however, the consumer or the claimant has the burden of proof to establish fraudulent misrepresentation. A Massachusetts business litigation lawyer can help prove that the defendant made the untrue statement without believing in that statement or was outright reckless regarding the truth.
Examples of Fraudulent Misrepresentation
Let’s review three common examples of fraudulent misrepresentation in Massachusetts:
- A property owner or landlord willingly boosts the description of his or her property while not disclosing undesirable facts to promote a speedy sale or rent.
- A consumer buys a TV based on certain assertions only to learn after the sale is complete that those claims were false.
- A salesman makes inflated claims about a product or service, convincing the customer to pay for that product or service based on those fraudulent claims.
Since fraudulent misrepresentation is considered a tort and civil wrongdoing, a Massachusetts business litigation lawyer from The Law Offices of Richard Mucci can build a compelling case against an individual or business that made the untrue claims to recover damages and seek compensation.
What is Negligent Misrepresentation?
Another form of misrepresentation in consumer fraud law is “negligent misrepresentation.” This type of misrepresentation occurs when one party states a careless claim or has not enough evidence to believe that a statement is true.
Negligent misrepresentation is made by a third party who has no part or interest in the agreement between the consumer and seller. The party that makes the false statement does not know that the claim is untrue and does not intend to deceive anyone.
Consumer Rights in Massachusetts
When a misrepresentation of a product or service occurs, many consumers are unaware of their rights under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection law. Likewise, many businesses and companies are not fully aware of their duties and responsibilities under this law.
Massachusetts law protects consumers from the following unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practices:
- Businesses charge consumers more than the marked, advertised, published, or promised price.
- The refund-return policy is not posted in the place where it is reasonably expected to be noticed and understood.
- Businesses fail to disclose relevant information regarding the product or service.
- Manufacturers, sellers, and distributors mislead customers in any way to convince them to buy the product or service.
- Businesses fail to comply with their warranty agreement.
- Individuals and companies use the “Bait and Switch” technique, which is when a business is advertising the sale of an item at a low price but does not intend to sell that item. Instead, the company discourages the consumer from buying the advertised product and tries to convince them to purchase a different item.
If your consumer rights were violated by another individual or business, seek legal help from a Massachusetts business litigation lawyer from The Law Offices of Richard Mucci. Let us evaluate your case for free. Call at 781-729-3999 for a free consultation.