Notices of Investigation

Have you been subjected to any of the practices or policies listed below? 
If so we would like to hear from you regarding your experiences.

DOES YOUR RESIDENTIAL LEASE CONTAIN UNLAWFUL PROVISIONS?

Your residential lease may contain unlawful lease provisions and may place unlawful burdens upon you as a tenant. Massachusetts law entitles residential tenants to many often-times overlooked protections. Further, many of these laws provide that if your landlord has in fact treated you unlawfully, they may be required to pay punitive damages and your attorneys’ fees.

In addition, your landlord is not permitted to retaliate against you for asserting your rights under Massachusetts landlord/tenant law.

If you believe that your residential lease may contain unlawful lease provisions or place unlawful burden upon you as a residential tenant, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Our attorneys can review your lease and provide a free consultation with respect to your rights as a residential tenant.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

ARE YOU A DOG OWNER WHO FEEDS YOUR PET A “GRAIN FREE” DIET?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning to dog owners acknowledging a potential risk related to certain dog food brands advertised as “grain free” or which contain Peas; Lentils; Potatoes and/or Sweet Potatoes.

 The warning suggests that certain dog foods may be linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs.

 The Food and Drug Administration identified 16 brands in its recent warning.  The major brands identified were: Acana; Zignature; Taste of the Wild; 4Health; Earthborn Holistic; Blue Buffalo; Nature’s Domain; Fromm; Merrick; California Natural; Natural Balance; Orijen; Nature’s Variety; NutriSource; and Rachel Ray Nurish.

 The warning can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-issues-third-status-report-investigation-potential-connection-between-certain-diets-and-cases; and https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy

 If you are a dog owner who fed your pet a “grain free” dog food (or a dry dog food with  Peas; Lentils; Potatoes and/or Sweet Potatoes); and further, your dog was diagnosed with DCM, we would like to hear about your experience.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

DO YOU CONTINUE TO RECEIVE UNWANTED AND UNSOLICITED TELEMARKETING CALLS OR FAXES?

The use of robocalls and telemarketing are strictly regulated by federal and state laws. Robocalls to cell phones are generally illegal unless the called party has consented to the call by providing the number as contact information. The law also regulates robocalls to landline phones. When making calls, a telemarketer must state:

  • Their name;
  • The name of the business on behalf of which the call is being made; and 
  • The telephone numbers or addresses of that business.

Statutory damages have been enacted for violations of the fax and robocall regulations. Please contact us if you have been experiencing unwanted telemarketing calls or faxes. 

Please contact us today to discuss your situation, there is no charge for an initial consultation.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU BEEN SUBJECTED TO DEBT COLLECTION NOTICES, OR LEGAL ACTION RELATING TO THE COLLECTION OF A DEBIT, IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS?

If you have (whether the action/notices were from the creditor or a third-party debt collector), we would like to hear from you about your experiences.  

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other state laws are meant to protect you from harassment and unfair debt collection practices. We may be able to assist in defending claims against you or in asserting your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or other state laws.

Please contact us today to discuss your situation, there is no charge for an initial consultation.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

ARE YOU A SERVICE INDUSTRY WORKER WHO IS FORCED TO SHARE YOUR TIPS WITH NON-SERVICE EMPLOYEES? 

While certain tip pooling practice are permittable, the sharing or redistribution of tips is oftentimes unlawful.

If you are a service employee, or any type of employee who earns part of your compensation through customer tipping, and you are required to share your tips, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU BEEN CONTACTED BY QUEST ABOUT ITS JUNE DATA BREACH?

Approximately 11.9 million Quest Diagnostics’ patients’ personal information, financial data, Social Security Numbers, and medical information was exposed in a major data breach.

American Medical Collection Agency has notified Quest Diagnostics that an unauthorized user accessed American Medical Collection Agency’s systems. These systems contained information received in the course of its billing services provided to Optum360, a Quest Diagnostics’ contractor.

If you were a Quest Diagnostics patient/customer, or if you received an invoice, collection notice, or other correspondence from American Medical Collection Agency, Optum360, or Quest Diagnostics we would like to hear about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU PURCHASED A PRODUCT ADVERTISED AS “ALL NATURAL” OR “NATURAL” THAT WASN’T?

Many products are advertised as “all natural” or “natural” when in fact they contain genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), other non-natural ingredients, or non-natural preservatives.

A class action claim against Conagra Foods, Inc.’s Wesson Oil was recently preliminarily approved for settlement with respect to consumers in California; Colorado; Florida; Illinois; Indiana; Nebraska; New York; Ohio; Oregon; South Dakota; and Texas. This settlement does not effect or include Massachusetts consumers.

If you have purchased a product advertised as “all natural” or “natural” that you believe contained GMO’s, or other non-natural ingredients (including Wesson Oil), we would like to hear from you about your experience.

 Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

IS YOUR LANDLORD BILLING YOU FOR GAS, ELECTRIC, WATER OR SEWER SERVICE?

Electric (or gas) submetering is when an owner or landlord (owner) of a multi-unit property uses a single meter to serve the entire property’s electricity usage. The landlord owner, and not the electric (or gas) company, bills the tenant for his or her share of the total electricity costs. The tenant is not a customer of the electric or gas company.

In Massachusetts, electric (or gas) submetering is prohibited because it is the resale of electricity or gas. Massachusetts law provides that landlords are prohibited from billing tenants (sub-metering) separately for gas or electric utility services, and landlords can only bill a tenant for water/sewer service under strict conditions.

If you are being charged by your landlord for electricity, gas, water or sewer utility services, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

ARE YOU RECEIVING THE COMMISSION PAYMENTS YOU ARE ENTITLED TO?

Do you work on commission? Do you sometimes work more than forty hours a week? If so, you may be entitled to overtime pay.

Just like any other employee, people who work on commission deserve additional compensation for overtime.

Often, employers try to avoid paying commissioned employees overtime, even though Massachusetts requires employers pay commissioned employees overtime.

If you are working as a sales person, automobile dealer or are in any other position that earns a commission we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU BEEN A PASSENGER OF A CAR SERVICE RECENTLY?

Massachusetts privacy and wiretap statutes prohibit the unauthorized interception or recording of a person’s oral communications without the person’s consent. Recently, a former employee of a car service company located in Western Massachusetts filed a civil action alleging that her former employer, video-taped and recorded employees and passengers during town car, limousine and van service trips.

If you have been a passenger in of a car service in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

ARE YOU OR A LOVED ONE LIVING IN A SENIOR LIVING FACILITY?

Massachusetts law prohibits senior living facilities or assisted living facilities from charging new tenants anything other than the: (1) rent for the first full month of occupancy; (2) rent for the last full month of occupancy calculated at the same rate as the first month;(3) a security deposit equal to the first month’s rent; and (4) the purchase and installation cost for a key and lock.

If you have been charged a “Community Fee”, “Bond” or have been required to pay any monies other than security deposit or last month’s rent at the inception of your tenancy at a senior living facility or assisted living facility, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

ARE YOU HAVING A HARD TIME QUITTING YOUR GYM?

Health clubs and gyms financially rely upon signing-up members who will almost never use their facilities. Accordingly, most health clubs and gyms charge the same monthly fee no matter how often members use the facilities. It is often in a health club and gym’s best interest to sign up people who will not use their services. For this is the reason that many gyms get you to sign up with limited time promotions or other incentives.

This business model is precisely why Massachusetts has strict laws ensuring that people can cancel their gym memberships.

If your gym required or requires you to jump through hoops to cancel your membership, including assessing additional fees, monthly payments, contacting third party financial services companies, or any other obstructive tactics we would like to hear from you about your experience.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAS YOUR PRIVATE OR PERSONAL INFORMATION BEEN SUBJECT TO A BREACH OR HACK?

In the wake of the Equifax Breach, many people are taking steps to secure their private information. Many businesses, hospitals and other large entities collect and maintain your personal information. Criminals and other unauthorized persons often target lax security systems in order to obtain and sell your private information.

Massachusetts requires that if a data breach occurs involving your sensitive information that the entity responsible must send you detailed notification. If have received notification that your personal information has been compromised or believe that you have been the victim of a data breach, we would like to hear from you about your experience.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com or rem@helpinginjured.com

DO YOU HAVE AN UNREDEEMED OR EXPIRED GIFT CARD/GIFT CERTIFICATE IN YOUR DRESSER DRAWER?

Gift card and gift certificate promotions are a good way for businesses to draw in repeat customers.

However, many of these promotions come with hidden requirements, restrictions and quick expiration dates so that the provider can avoid actually giving the customers what he/she was promised.

There are many consumer protection laws which aim to ensure that companies honor these gift cards and gift certificates. If you have a gift card or gift certificate that you have not been able to exchange for any reason, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAS YOUR CAR BEEN RECENTLY TOWED?

Towing companies in Massachusetts are strictly limited as to the amounts they can charge for towing vehicles to their tow yards.

These limitations include the amount they can charge per mile, the amount they can charge for fuel surcharges and the amounts they charge for storage. Furthermore, in order to charge certain fees, towing companies must also provide the tow recipient with certain mandatory information on their tow slip.

Towing companies are prohibited from charging additional charges not permitted by law.
Forrest, LaMothe, Mazow, McCullough, Yasi & Yasi, P.C. is presently investigating certain towing companies’ practice of charging impermissible amounts for mailing notification of a tow to the tow recipient. We are also investigating several companies for failing to provide certain required information to tow recipients on their tow slip. We believe that these practices unlawfully inflate the bill customers are later forced to pay.

If you have recently been towed by a Massachusetts towing company and received a notice or tow slip by mail or otherwise, we would like to hear about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

IS YOUR LANDLORD CHARGING YOU FOR ELECTRICITY OR WATER?

Electricity and water are public utilities, and Massachusetts law provides that consumers should only be charged at state regulated rates. Many landlords skirt the regulations and overcharge consumers for their electric and water bills through a process of sub-metering.

Utility sub-metering is a system that allows a landlord, property management firm, condominium association, homeowners association, or other multi-tenant property to bill tenants for individual measured utility usage. There are strict rules in Massachusetts regarding the practice known as sub-metering.

If you are being charged more for electricity or water than other tenants, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU BEEN DECEIVED BY A BAIT AND SWITCH ON THE INTERNET?

When the heat stops working, the plumbing backs up or you accidentally lock yourself out of your home, most people do a quick internet search for a cheap solution to their immediate problem.

Many scammers post significantly lower price quotes than competing businesses in the same area geographic area.

When a deceived customer chooses the cheaper option, the scammer will do the work, and later, explain that the quoted price has risen substantially, often due to a fabricated obstacle such as the job being harder to perform then they originally thought.

This is an unfair and deceptive practice that is often targeted toward people placed in emergency situations.

Recent studies have shown that this practice is often associated with locksmiths, plumbers, electricians and similar trades.

If you used the internet to order a service and the quoted price rose substantially when you met the contractor in person, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com or rem@helpinginjured.com

HAVE YOU BEEN OR WERE YOU PREVIOUSLY A DELIVERY DRIVER, BARTENDER OR SERVER IN MASSACHUSETTS?

It is a customary practice in many companies and businesses for employers retain a portion of employee tips.

Under Massachusetts law, in most instances, employers are required to remit the full amount of any tip and/or delivery charge collected from a customer to the staff who provided the service.

If you worked as a delivery driver, bartender or server in Massachusetts during the last three years and believe that you may have had your tips or delivery charges taken or partially withheld by your employer, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAS YOUR LANDLORD WITHHELD ANY MONEY FROM YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT?

Landlords often fail to comply with the strict mandates of Massachusetts law requiring that the Landlord maintain a record of all security deposits, place the security deposit in a separate interest-bearing account, send the tenant an annual statement which indicates the amount of interest on the security deposit and provide the tenant the full amount of the deposit when the tenancy ends.

Further, Landlords often withhold Security Deposit amounts without properly complying with the notification and withholding detail requirements imposed by law.

If your Landlord: (1) withheld any portion of your Security Deposit; (2) failed to properly handle and document the retention of your Security Deposit; (3) failed to return your full Security Deposit with interest; or (4) had monies withheld from your Security Deposit without receiving a sworn statement detailing the withholdings, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU BEEN CHARGED AN IMPERMISSIBLE FEE(S) BY YOUR LANDLORD?

Massachusetts law strictly prohibits a landlord, or prospective landlord, from charging tenants, or prospective tenants, at or prior to the commencement of any tenancy anything other than the following: (1) rent for the first full month of occupancy; (2) rent for the last full month of occupancy calculated at the same rate as the first month;(3) a security deposit equal to the first month’s rent; and (4) the purchase and installation cost for a key and lock.

Recently certain landlords have required the payment of a bond at the inception of tenancy instead of first month’s rent or a security deposit. This practice is not enumerated as an allowed charge under Massachusetts law, and accordingly, may constitute an attempt to circumvent the basic protections given to tenants.

If your landlord has required a bond or the payment of monies other than security deposit or last month’s rent at the inception of your tenancy, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU BEEN MISCLASSIFIED AS AN “INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR”?

Many employers misclassify individuals that work for them as independent contractors to avoid holiday pay, vacation pay, overtime, workers compensation and other benefits. This practice constitutes a violation of Massachusetts law.

Painters, construction workers, dry wall workers, massage therapists and hair and nail salon workers are often misclassified as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees.

If you have been classified as an independent contractor by an employer in the last three years we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU RECEIVED UNREQUESTED SOLICITATIONS VIA CELLPHONE OR FAX?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA “) forbids unsolicited robocalls and unwanted calls, text messages and faxes.

Numerous companies continue to violate the TCPA and Do Not Call Registry. If you have received unwanted calls, texts or faxes we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU PURCHASED A PRODUCT AND LATER DISCOVERED YOU RECEIVED LESS THAN THE PACKAGING LED YOU TO BELIEVE?

Have you ever opened a bag of potato chips and found that more than half of the bag is empty? Have you ever popped open a huge vitamin bottle only to find a few pills at the bottom? If so, you may be a victim of a non-functional slack fill violation – a form of false advertising.

Slack-fill is empty space in packaging meant to deceive consumers into believing they are receiving more product than they actually are. In some instances, this empty space can have legitimate purpose, such as protection of the contents of the package or unavoidable settling of the product during shipping and handling.

However, often manufacturers have no legitimate reason for having a massive amount of empty space in their products other than to mislead consumers that there is a larger volume of the product contained within the package. Companies often use this misleading tactic so that they can sell their goods at higher prices, often with greater profit margins. This practice is especially virulent in the vitamin, supplement, cosmetic, and health and wellness markets.

If you have purchased an item you believe was packaged in a manner to deceive you into believing you were purchasing more than you received, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU PURCHASED TICKETS FOR A SPORTING OR ENTERTAINMENT EVENT AND BEEN CHARGED

A CONVENIENCE OR SERVICE FEE?

Many ticketing facilities and venues advertise a ticket “face value” for entrance and/or attendance to sporting events. Many of these vendors and facilities also charge an inescapable “convenience fee” and/or “processing charge”, which increases the overall price of the ticket well beyond the face value.

These fees are often not included in the advertised price of the ticket, and in most cases, are not revealed until the final stage of the transaction.
If you purchased a ticket to a sporting or other entertainment event within the last four years, and a “convenience fee” or “processing charge” was also charged, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU BEEN OR WERE YOU PREVIOUSLY AN EMPLOYEE DRIVER FOR A

LIMOUSINE OR CHARTER SERVICE IN MASSACHUSETTS?

Many limousine and charter service companies charge, or pre-charge, customers a driver gratuity and/or tip in connection with transportation services. Under Massachusetts law, in most instances these limousine and charter service companies are required to remit the full amount of any gratuity and/or tip collected from a customer to the driver who provided the related transportation service.

If you worked as a driver or chauffeur for a Massachusetts limousine and charter service in the last three years, we would like to hear from you about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com or rem@helpinginjured.com

HAVE YOU PURCHASED ONE OF THE FOLLOWING SUNSCREEN PRODUCTS:

BANANA BOAT KIDS TEAR-FREE, STING-FREE LOTION OR CVS BRAND KIDS SUN LOTION?

Recently, the researchers at Consumer Reports evaluated several sunscreen products, including the products listed above, and determined that many sunscreen products offer far less SPF protection than the labels advertise and promise.

If you purchased one or more of the listed products in Massachusetts, we would like to hear about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU PURCHASED A PREPARED MEAL OR BULK ITEM FROM A SUPERMARKET AND BELIEVE YOU WERE OVERCHARGED?

When customers purchase many prepared meals at supermarkets, these stores often weigh the product at the register and then price the item according to its overall weight. Recently, an investigation by the State of New York revealed that Whole Foods had improperly priced some of its prepackaged foods based upon the weight represented to the consumer. In some cases, consumers overpaid for products.

If you purchased one or more prepared meals at a grocery store in Massachusetts, we would like to hear about your experiences.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

HAVE YOU BEEN FULLY COMPENSATED FOR YOUR LUNCH BREAKS?

Many Massachusetts employers require that an employee remain “on-site” during their lunch or meal break. An employer is allowed to require that the employee remain “on-site”; however, if they chose to do so, they are required to compensate the employee for that time.

If you have been required to remain “on-site” during your lunch or meal breaks, we would like to hear about your experiences regarding compensation for the same.

Please contact us at: rmazow@forrestlamothe.com

 About Forrest, LaMothe, Mazow, McCullough, Yasi & Yasi, P.C.

Forrest, LaMothe, Mazow, McCullough, Yasi & Yasi, P.C. is a consumer protection and advocacy law firm investigating the matters described herein.

The attorneys of Forrest, LaMothe, Mazow, McCullough, Yasi & Yasi, P.C. have extensive litigation experience. Further, the attorneys of Forrest, LaMothe, Mazow, McCullough, Yasi & Yasi, P.C.  continue to represent individual clients in matters of personal injury through its partner law firms of: Mazow│McCullough, P.C.; and Yasi and Yasi, P.C.

The only purpose of this communication is to gather information about the matters addressed herein and does not constitute a solicitation or establish an attorney-client relationship with any of the attorneys or firms listed above.

Contact:
Forrest, LaMothe, Mazow, McCullough, Yasi & Yasi, P.C.│2 Salem Green, Suite 2 | Salem, MA 01970│(617) 231-7829 │info@forrestlamothe.com