Business Litigation | Intellectual Property

Unfair Trade Practices & Consumer Protection

Renner Law represents clients involved in disputes implicating the many federal and state common law and statutory schemes that regulate business conduct. These include unfair and deceptive trade practice disputes under the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Rhode Island Unfair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Act and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.

What Are Unfair Trade Practices?

Unfair trade practices consist of fraud, misrepresentation and any other unacceptable acts that a business may be perform. These are often taken against consumers, and are prohibited by law. Fraud occurs when a business intentionally engages in deception or in the concealment or omission of the truth. Businesses can engage in fraud to gain an advantage in the marketplace, induce another company or individual to give up something of value or any of their legal rights, or to otherwise inflict injury on another party. In order for a trade practice to constitute fraud, the aggrieved party must be able to show that at some point they were intentionally deceived in regard to a material fact.

Misrepresentation falls under contract law, and occurs when one party makes a false statement of fact to another party, and that party enters into the contract due to that fact. In order for a statement to be considered misrepresentation, the wronged party must be able to prove that a false statement was made, that said statement was directed at the suing party and that this statement induced the suing party to enter into the contract.

Unfair business practices can also include unlawful use of another company’s trademarks, copyrights or other intellectual property.

Consumer Protection Laws in Rhode Island & Massachusetts

Both Rhode Island and Massachusetts have Consumer Protection Laws in place that are meant to protect consumers from any unfair or deceptive business practices. In Rhode Island, the Unfair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Act, R.I.G.L. § 6-13.1, prohibits “[U]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Similarly, in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, M.G.L. Chapter 93A, prohibits “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” In certain situations, double or triple damages may be awarded by a court for willful or knowing violations, as well as attorneys’ fees.

Renner Law serves unfair trade practices and consumer protection clients throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts from its Providence, Rhode Island offices. Call (401) 404-5251 or contact Renner Law online today.