Attorney General reminds Maine shoppers that larger stores must remain closed on Thanksgiving – offers consumer protection tips

November 24, 2015

(AUGUSTA) With many stores advertising early “Black Friday” shopping deals, Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills is reminding Maine shoppers that Maine law differs from other states and does not allow stores over 5,000 square feet to be open on certain holidays, including Thanksgiving so that employees may spend time with their families.

“Some national chains are offering sales starting on Thanksgiving Day,” said Attorney General Mills. “Maine consumers should be aware they may find the doors locked if they arrive before midnight Thursday due to Maine’s law restricting holiday opening hours. If you are uncertain, it pays to call ahead or check a local flyer.”

Maine’s law restricting opening hours on Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving of stores in excess of 5,000 square feet has been in place since 1963. A violation of the statute is a Class E Crime, punishable by up to 6 months incarceration and/or a fine of up to $1,000; an injunction can be sought if a store is in violation. The Attorney General’s Office has concurrent jurisdiction with District Attorneys. There are a number of exemptions in the law for certain kinds of retail establishments.

When stores re-open for ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Small Business Saturday’ and online shopping commences on ‘Cyber Monday’ Maine consumers should keep some thoughts in mind as they make their purchases.

• Ask about the return policy before you buy. • Keep your receipts. • Be aware of Maine’s Implied Warranty – the extended warranty offered at the point of purchase may not be worth buying. • When buying online use a credit card, not a debit card, which will provide you with better consumer protections. • Monitor your statements and be on the lookout for unauthorized charges.

If you have questions about these or other consumer matters, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 1(800) 436-2131 or consumer.mediation@maine.gov .

#