Maine Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division
While the Retail Association of Maine works diligently on behalf of our retail partners to ensure business friendly legislation, the Maine Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division works to ensure you, the consumer, have a right to product warranties, experience fair purchasing and can knowledgeably avoids scams.
Did you know on average the Maine Consumer Protection Division receives 12,000 calls yearly fielding inquiries from consumers looking to learn more about the legalities around purchases and their rights?
Cited from, Chapter 04: Consumer Goods And Maine Express And Implied Warranty Laws
Maine law provides automatic warranty protection in addition to any ―express written or verbal warranty (guarantee) you received from the seller or manufacturer. This implied warranty remedy is not widely known, but it is very important.
- All new and used goods purchased for family, household or personal use-clothes, new cars, appliances, sports equipment and more-are warranted by law to be fit for the ordinary purpose for which such goods are used. They cannot be seriously defective. This warranty is known as the implied warranty of merchantability and is found in the Maine Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.) The only exception to this law is that used car dealers can disclaim your implied. warranties when they sell you a used car ―as is, without any express warranty.
- In addition to these U.C.C. warranties, consumers can also be protected by Maine’s negligence law (when a business breaches its duty of care to the consumer) and Maine’s strict product liability law.
Chapter 4.3: Implied Warranty Of Merchantability
- The implied warranty of merchantability is created by Maine law and means that the product will be ―fit for the ordinary purposes for which such products are used.
- Normally, a state’s U.C.C. allows a seller to disclaim implied warranties and give you only an express warranty or no warranty at all (the item is sold ―as is‖). However, in the Maine U.C.C., a seller is prohibited from disclaiming implied warranties on consumer goods and services.
Chapter 4.6: Length Of Implied Warranty Protection
- No matter what the length of any express warranty you received from the seller or manufacturer, you will have the U.C.C. implied warranty of merchantability for up to four years after purchase. This implied warranty automatically comes with any new or used item and must be honored by both the manufacturer and the store that sold it to you.
Chapter 4.13: Summary Of Implied Warranty Rights
Remember, all new or used consumer goods sold in Maine (except used cars) come with an automatic implied warranty that the item is not seriously defective. This warranty cannot be disclaimed (denied) by the seller. Here are a summary of your rights:
- A. Maine’s implied warranty law applies to all new or used consumer goods that are sold by merchants, except for used cars.
- B. Used car dealers are allowed to disclaim implied warranty rights and typically do so on the car’s Used Car Information window sticker.
- C. The Maine implied warranty law offers the following protection: if you have been sold a seriously defective product or component, even if the product has exceeded its express warranty period, then both the seller and the manufacturer can be required to repair it for you free of charge. In order to prove a breach of implied warranty you must be able to prove within the first four years from date of sale, that:
- (1) The item has a serious manufacturer’s defect;
- (2) You have not abused the item; and
- (3) The product (or defective component of the product) is still within its useful life (useful life will normally extend at the most four years from the time of sale).
- D. It is an unfair trade practice for a merchant (except a used car dealer) to attempt to disclaim verbally or in writing your implied warranty rights and to thereby limit your rights to an express warranty.
- E. Implied warranty rights and express warranty rights are often automatically transferred to second buyers.
- F. If an item is defective, you should take it back to the dealer and let the dealer arrange the repairs. You should not have to be responsible for returning it to the manufacturer.
To see a full list of Consumer Right Laws and to learn more: http://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/consumer_law_guide.shtml
Free Consumer Mediation Services are available through the Consumer Protection Division of the Maine Attorney General's under their complaint-resolution program and is available to Maine businesses and consumers.
- Fraud 101: Beware of wiring money requests, don’t send money to someone you don’t know despite the void they may fill emotionally or the despair of their request, don’t reply to messaging looking for information that the legitimate company has on file, be weary of upfront fees with unrealistic promises and do your research when in doubt.
- If you believe you’ve been scammed or would like to file a complaint, contact: email@example.com or call 1-800-436-2131
Small Businesses are also often the target of Scammers. For more information on common scams including Directory Listing, Supply Deliveries, URL expiration, and Charity Cons visit: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/small-business-scams
CREDIT FREEZE & REPORTS:
- Maine law allows individuals concerned with potential identity theft to freeze their credit for free without harming their credit score. Freezing one’s credit prevents unauthorized parties from accessing your credit report without permission. For instance, frozen credit would not allow unauthorized credit card companies to open an account in your name. For more info on freezing you’re credit visit: http://www.maine.gov/pfr/consumercredit/file_freeze_info.htm
- In addition, remember you’re entitled to a free credit report each year. For a free credit report visit: http://www.maine.gov/pfr/consumercredit/credit_report.htm
Thank you to Martha Currier, Complaint Examiner, from her informative presentation this past Wednesday at the Senator Inn in Augusta on behalf of the Maine Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.