AUGUSTA — With many stores advertising “Black Friday” deals, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is reminding shoppers that Maine law does not allow stores over 5,000 square feet to be open on Thanksgiving.

The intent of the state law is to ensure that retail workers can spend time with families on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. A large store may require workers to work on Thanksgiving, but it cannot be open.

Some national chains are offering sales beginning Thanksgiving Day, Mills said in a news release. “Maine consumers should be aware they may find the doors locked if they arrive before midnight, due to Maine’s law restricting holiday opening hours.”

If in doubt, call ahead or check a local flier, she recommended.

Maine’s law restricting big stores from being open on Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving has been around since 1963.

A violation of the statute is a Class E Crime, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000; an injunction can be sought if a store is in violation. There are exemptions in the law for certain kinds of retail establishments, including L.L. Bean.


Good consumer advice

Mills offered some consumer advice for those shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and online shopping on Cyber Monday.

* Ask about the return policy before making the purchase.

* Keep all receipts.

* Be aware of Maine’s Implied Warranty. That law says certain products, including appliances, should last a certain length of time, providing the consumer does not damage them. The law says products bought fewer than four years ago must be covered if defective. That could make buying an extended warranty not worth it.

* When buying online, use a credit card, not a debit card. A credit card offers better consumer protection.

* Always monitor your statements and be on the lookout for unauthorized charges.

For questions on these or other consumer matters, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-436-2131, or [email protected]

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