The economic recovery may have many in Massachusetts considering whether to embark on a new business venture.
Our Boston small business attorneys know that this can be an exciting adventure, and we find that such enthusiasm can be contagious. However, it is critical if you are starting a new business that you cover your legal bases with the help of an experienced business attorney. This helps to ensure your business is built on a solid foundation, and can prevent problems and headaches from stalling your dream.
Such was the case for a contractor in Framingham, who is now being sued by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
A small business lawyer would have told him that he would need to have a license for the type of contracting work he was performing and that customer payments for a job could not be appropriated for other uses.
These are the foundation of the allegations made by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is seeking not only consumer restitution but also civil penalties. Coakley’s office alleges multiple violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, which falls under Massachusetts General Law, Part I, Title XV, Chapter 93A. This law is broken down into 11 sections, which include:
- Unfair trade practices;
- Exempted transactions;
- Discontinuance of unlawful method of practice;
- Examination of books, records;
- Failure to comply with notices or appear;
- Habitual violations of injunctions.
In this case, Coakley’s office alleges that the defendant represented himself as a licensed home improvement contractor, when in fact he was not. He then later reportedly accepted money from consumers for his services, which he never completed.
The attorney general was able to obtain a preliminary injunction that bars him from soliciting or engaging in contract work without registering with the state. It also prevents him from getting rid of or transferring any money or other assets while the civil suit is pending.
The defendant was reportedly doing business as a representative of five different companies, though it’s unclear if any of those companies were actually legitimate. Services advertised were for home improvement and custom carpentry. However, his license had been revoked by the state back in 2000.
Other civil action has been taken against him by individual customers, who were awarded damages. However, the defendant has reportedly failed to pay those, which is presumably why the attorney general’s office stepped in with their case.
In a written statement to the press, Coakley’s office said that when a person conducts home contracting work without a license, licensed contractors are put at an unfair disadvantage. Plus, consumers may be harmed.
Still, for every entrepreneur who may not follow proper procedures, there are many more who want to do things the right way. We realize that even good business owners sometimes slip up when trying to shore up the legal ends on their own. Local, state and federal laws can be complex and sometimes even prohibitive, depending on your industry.
If you are considering starting your own company, one of the first things you need to do is meet with a business lawyer.
The Brown Law Firm, LLC, has offices in Belmont and Boston. For a free and confidential consultation, call 617-489-0817 or contact us online.
Mass. AG sues Framingham contractor for illegal practices, Dec. 7, 2012, By Bryan Cohen, Legal Newsline
More Blog Entries:
Businesses Fighting Government Claims Need Legal Team With Experience, Nov. 15, 2012, Boston Business Formation Lawyer Blog