Chapter 01: How To Enforce Your Consumer Rights

This chapter provides advice on how to effectively complain if you feel a business has treated you poorly. It also describes the Attorney General's Consumer Mediation Service, which attempts to resolve consumer disputes with businesses. There is no charge for this service.

Chapter 1: How to Resolve a Consumer Complaint (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 02: Consumer Contracts In Maine

This chapter describes the elements every contract must have in order to be enforceable in court. There is also a description of the various remedies for breach of contract and a list of questions you should always ask when analyzing a consumer contract. If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 2: Consumer Contracts in Maine (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 03: The Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act

This chapter provides a detailed explanation about Maine’s basic consumer protection law, the Unfair Trade Practices Act. This law prohibits businesses from using unfair or deceptive practices and can be enforced by the Attorney General or by consumers who have actually lost money due to an unfair trade practice. This chapter also has a sample Unfair Trade Practice Act Court Complaint.

Chapter 3: The Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 04: Consumer Goods And Maine Express And Implied Warranty Laws

The Maine Implied Warranty is the little known law that protects Maine consumers from being sold seriously defective items. It can be an Unfair Trade Practice to refuse to honor the Maine Implied Warranty Law within four years of sale. The basic test for possible implied warranty violations is as follows:

  • The item is seriously defective,
  • The consumer did not damage the item,
  • The item is still within its useful life and is not simply worn out.

Chapter 4: Consumer Goods and Maine Express and Implied Warranty Laws (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 05: Consumer Rights If You Are Sold Defective Goods Or Services

Consumers who immediately discover that they have been sold a seriously defective item can immediately reject it and demand their money back. If a consumer does not discover the defect until sometime later, then the consumer’s remedy is to have the business or the manufacturer repair the item. If the item cannot be repaired, then the consumer can consider revoking ownership and demanding the return of the purchase price.

Chapter 5: Consumer Rights If You Are Sold Defective Goods Or Services (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 06: Consumer Rights And The Defective New Vehicle

This chapter describes how consumers who have purchased a defective vehicle can have the car repaired under either the manufacturer’s express warranty or the Maine Implied Warranty.

Chapter 6: Consumer Rights And The Defective New Vehicle (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 07: The Maine Lemon Law And State Arbitration

Under the Maine Automobile Lemon Law, if the consumer reports serious defects to the dealer or manufacturer during the express warranty period, within three years of the date of delivery or during the first 18,000 miles of operation (whichever is earlier), the Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to make the necessary repairs. If the manufacturer cannot fix the car, then the consumer has the right to argue the case before a State Arbitrator, free of charge. This hearing must come within 45 days of acceptance of the Lemon Law application and if the Arbitrator concludes that the car is indeed a Lemon, the consumer can receive either a new vehicle or the return of the purchase price.

Chapter 7: The Maine Lemon Law And State Arbitration (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 08: Leasing, Buying and Advertising a Vehicle

Leasing a vehicle is often a confusing transaction. This chapter guides the consumer through the unfamiliar details and possible pitfalls. This chapter also provides the Attorney General’s Rules that protect purchasers of new automobiles from unfair trade practices.

Chapter 8: Leasing, Buying and Advertising a Vehicle (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 09: Consumer Rights When You Buy A Used Vehicle

Maine has enacted a number of laws that deal with consumer protection when it comes to purchasing a used motor vehicle. For example, a used car must always meet the state inspection standards. Further, the inspection sticker must have been put on the vehicle within 60 days of the date of purchase. This law applies even if you are sold a car “as is.” If the car violates this inspection warranty, the dealer must repair it, free of charge, so it can pass state inspection. In addition, any used car must come with a completed Used Car Information Act Window Sticker. Failure to do so can be grounds for returning the car and receiving back the purchase price.

Chapter 9: Consumer Rights When You Buy A Used Vehicle (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 10: Consumer Rights Concerning Odometer Tampering And Your Vehicle Title

This chapter discusses odometer fraud and how to read the title that comes with your motor vehicle.

Chapter 10: Consumer Rights Concerning Odometer Tampering And Your Vehicle Title (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 11: Consumer Rights When Repairing Your Vehicle

This chapter describes the rights of consumers who bring their vehicle to a repair shop. Consumers have a right to establish a ceiling on the cost of repairs. If the repair shop exceeds that ceiling, then the repair shop must pay the difference. All repair shops must post a sign informing the consumer of these rights and the sign must also state the hourly rate charged by the repair shop.

Chapter 11: Consumer Rights When Repairing Your Vehicle (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 12: Consumer Rights When You Order By Mail Or Telephone

Consumers have the right to keep any unordered goods they receive in the mail. By law, they are considered to be gifts. When a consumer pays for mail order gifts with a credit card, then any claims the consumer has against the merchant might also be able to be raised against the issuer of the credit card.

Chapter 12: Consumer Rights When You Order By Mail Or Telephone (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 13: Consumer Rights When A Salesperson Contacts You At Home

When a consumer purchases goods or services from a door-to-door salesperson (which can include sellers who telephone the consumer at home), then you have a right to a written contract and the right to cancel the contract within three business days. If you contracted for a home repair job (e.g., the paving of your driveway) then the contractor must wait for three days before the work can even begin. Further, all door-to-door sellers must be licensed by the State as a transient seller or have a permanent place of business in Maine.

Chapter 13: Consumer Rights When A Salesperson Contacts You At Home (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 14: Consumer Rights When You Rent An Apartment

The rights of a consumer who rents an apartment are many. A landlord must give you adequate notice before you are evicted or your rent is increased. The landlord cannot abuse your security deposits. Tenants always have a right to a court hearing before the landlord can evict them. Unfair rental contracts can be in violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Chapter 14: Consumer Rights When You Rent An Apartment (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 15: Consumer Rights When You Live In A Mobile Home

The rights of tenants in a mobile home park are even more extensive than the rights of a tenant in an apartment. The fundamental difference is that a landlord cannot evict a tenant unless there is a good reason. For example, park owners can evict tenants for failure to pay their rent or a serious violation of the park rules, but they cannot evict simply because they’ve grown to dislike the tenant.

Chapter 15: Consumer Rights When You Live In A Mobile Home (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 16: Attorney General's Model Landlord-Tenant Lease

This chapter provides landlords and tenants with a model lease. It also provides a guide to each section of the model lease.

Attorney General's Model Landlord-Tenant Lease (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 17: Consumer Rights When Constructing Or Repairing Your Home

The Maine Home Construction Contracts Act requires you use a written contract with specific provisions whenever the construction or repair contract is for more than $3,000. For example, the contract must limit any down payment to no more than one third (1/3) of the total price and the contract must include an express warranty of good workmanship.

Consumer Rights When Constructing Or Repairing Your Home (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 18: see revised Chapter 17

Chapter 18 has been incorporated into Chapter 17

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 19: Consumer Home Heating Rights

The Attorney General has issued rules that regulate the sale of home heating oil during the winter months, from October 15 through April 30. One of the basic consumer rights detailed in these Rules is that an oil dealer cannot refuse to deliver to a consumer even if the consumer owes the dealer money, providing these three conditions are met:

  • The consumer has cash or government guaranteed payment to pay for the oil being requested;
  • The dealer regularly serves the consumer’s area; and
  • The consumer requests at least 20 gallons.

Chapter 19: Consumer Home Heating Rights (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 20: Consumer Rights When You Buy A Home

Maine laws dealing with the sale of property by real estate agents have made the agents potentially liable for the intentional or negligent failure to disclose material defects in the home being purchased.

Chapter 20: Consumer Rights When Buying A Home (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 21: Consumer Rights And The Elderly

Maine’s elderly confront many issues that are unique to their age and situation. This chapter discusses nursing home rights, funeral abuses, social security schemes, hearing aids, and other issues confronted by the elderly.

Chapter 21: Consumer Rights And The Elderly (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 22: Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission provides detailed information about what to do if your identity is stolen. This information can be found at https://identitytheft.gov/

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 23: Consumer Rights And A Bankrupt Business

This chapter describes the different forms of bankruptcy in Maine and the rights of consumer creditors of a bankrupt business. For example, what happens if a shop declares bankruptcy and closes with your item inside?

Chapter 23: Consumer Rights And A Bankrupt Business (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 24: Consumer Rights And Advertising

When is an advertisement so deceptive as to be illegal? This chapter discusses the answer to this question. This chapter also includes the Attorney General Rules on Deceptive Car Advertising.

Chapter 24: Consumer Rights And Advertising (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 25: Consumer Rights And Charitable Solicitations

The Maine Charitable Solicitations Act requires registration and financial reporting of charitable organizations and the registration and bonding of professional fund-raisers. One section of this chapter provides answers to frequently asked questions about charitable giving.

Chapter 25: Consumer Rights And Charitable Solicitations (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 26: Consumer Rights And Credit Sales

Increasingly, our most important purchases are made using some form of credit. This chapter discusses such topics as credit card consumer protections, debt collection practices, repossessions of goods, maximum finance charges and other topics.

Chapter 26: Consumer Rights And Credit Sales (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 27: A Guide To Small Claims Court

Consumers can sue in Small Claims Court if they are 18 or over and the dispute is for less than $6,000. Consumers can represent themselves in Small Claims Court and can be awarded monetary damages or equitable relief.

For more information about Small Claims Court, go to http://www.courts.maine.gov/mainecourts/smallclaims/index.shtml

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 28: How to Avoid Mail, Internet and Telephone Fraud

This chapter provides examples of mail order or telemarketing fraud and provides instructions on what to do if a person’s “identity” has been stolen.

Chapter 28: How to Avoid Mail, Internet and Telephone Fraud (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 29: Miscellaneous Consumer Protection Rights

This chapter provides brief discussions of numerous consumer problems such as water testing scams, lead poisoning, pet purchaser rights, cable television rights, gift certificates that have expired, and many others.

Chapter 29: Miscellaneous Consumer Protection Rights (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 30: Antitrust Law

This chapter provides an introduction to our antitrust laws and common examples of violations, such as price-fixing, bid-rigging, resale price maintenance, and customer or territorial allocation.

Chapter 30: Antitrust Violations (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Chapter 32: Consumer Law Guide Index

Consumer Law Guide Index (PDF) (PDF) This file requires the free Adobe Reader.

If you have a question about this chapter or cannot access it, please contact consumer.mediation@maine.gov.