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General Laws

Section 1. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Commissioner”, the commissioner of banks.

“Down payment”, includes all amounts paid, in cash, credits, or the agreed value of goods, by or for the installment buyer to or for the benefit of the installment seller at or before time of the execution of the retail installment sale agreement or at the time of sale pursuant to revolving credit agreement.

“Finance charge”, the cost of credit determined in accordance with the provisions of section four of chapter one hundred and forty D.

“Gift certificate”, a writing identified as a gift certificate purchased by a buyer for use by a person other than the buyer not redeemable in cash and usable in its face amount in lieu of cash in exchange for goods or services supplied by the seller. A gift certificate shall include an electronic card with a banked dollar value, a merchandise credit, a certificate where the issuer has received payment for the full face value for the future purchase or delivery of goods or services and any other medium that evidences the giving of consideration in exchange for the right to redeem the certificate, electronic card or other medium for goods, food, services, credit or money of at least an equal value. A gift certificate shall not include pre-paid calling arrangements, as defined in section 1 of chapter 64H, or any electronic card usable with multiple unaffiliated sellers of goods or services.

“Goods”, all things movable purchased primarily for personal, family or household purposes, other than motor vehicles as defined in chapter two hundred and fifty-five B, including goods which are or are to become fixtures or which are to become incorporated into a structure and gift certificates. Goods shall not include money or choses in action.

“Holder”, a person entitled to enforce a retail installment sale agreement or revolving credit agreement against an installment buyer.

“Installment buyer” or “buyer”, a person who buys or agrees to buy goods or who obtains services or agrees to have services furnished or rendered or who obtains merchandise certificates under a retail installment sale agreement, or revolving credit agreement, or any legal successor in interest to such person, notwithstanding that he may have entered into one or more extension, refinancing or consolidation agreements.

“Installment seller” or “seller”, a person who sells or agrees to sell goods or services or both, or merchandise certificates, pursuant to a retail installment sale agreement, or revolving credit agreement.

“Merchandise certificate” or “coupon”, a writing issued by a seller, not redeemable in cash and usable in its face amount in lieu of cash in exchange for goods or services supplied by the seller but does not include a writing issued by the seller as a gift certificate. The issuance of the merchandise certificate or coupon shall be deemed to be a transaction giving rise to indebtedness of a buyer to the seller of goods, services or insurance for a part or all of the purchase price thereof upon issuance.

“Official fees”, the fees and charges prescribed by law which are or will be paid to a public officer to perfect the security interest or lien, in or on goods or services retained or taken by a seller under a retail installment sale agreement or revolving credit agreement, and to file or record a release, satisfaction or discharge of security interest or lien.

“Retail installment sale agreement”, an agreement, other than a revolving credit agreement or agreement reflecting a sale made pursuant thereto, signed by the buyer in this commonwealth, involving a finance charge and providing for the sale of goods or the rendering of services or both, or for the issuance of merchandise certificates, for a specified amount which the buyer undertakes to pay in more than one payment subsequent to the making of the agreement, or not involving a finance charge and providing for the sale of goods or the rendering of services or both, or for the issuance of merchandise certificates, for a specific amount which the buyer undertakes to pay in five or more installments subsequent to the making of the agreement. A retail installment sales agreement shall not include an agreement signed by a nonresident buyer in the commonwealth if such buyer has agreed that the law of his state shall apply. “Retail installment sale agreement” shall also include any contract in the form of a bailment or lease if the bailee or lessee contracts to pay as compensation for use a sum substantially equivalent to or in excess of the value of goods involved and it is agreed that the bailee or lessee will become, or for no other or for a nominal consideration has the option to become the owner of the goods upon full compliance with his obligations under the contract. A retail installment sale agreement shall not include an agreement which provides (a) for the payment of the total sale price in no more than three monthly installments and (b) a finance charge not in excess of one dollar and (c) no collateral security for the seller.

“Revolving credit agreement”, an agreement, other than a retail installment sale agreement, signed by the buyer in this commonwealth pursuant to which the buyer may purchase at retail, goods or services or merchandise certificates on credit from time to time and under the terms of which a finance charge is to be computed in relation to the buyer’s balance from time to time. A revolving credit agreement shall not include an agreement signed by a nonresident buyer in the commonwealth if the buyer has agreed that the law of his state shall apply. A revolving credit agreement shall be deemed to be signed by the buyer if, after a request for an account, such agreement is in fact signed by the buyer, or if that account is used by the buyer, or if another is authorized by the buyer to use it, or if, after receiving notice of a change in the terms of an established account pursuant to which a credit card has previously been issued by the creditor, that account is thereafter used by the buyer, or another person is thereafter authorized by the buyer to use it.

“Sales finance company”, (1) a bank as defined in section one of chapter one hundred and sixty-seven, or a national banking association or a savings and loan association, (2) any person other than an installment seller engaged, in whole or in part, in the business of purchasing retail installment sale agreements or revolving credit agreements of one or more retail sellers. The term “sales finance company” shall not include the pledgee of an aggregate number of such agreements to secure a bona fide loan thereon.

“Security interest”, any property right or title in goods which are the subject of a retail installment sale agreement or revolving credit agreement taken or retained to secure performance of any obligation of the buyer under agreement, and any renewal or extension thereof, notwithstanding shipment or delivery to the buyer.

“Services”, any work, labor, or other services, purchased primarily for personal, family or household purposes, or furnished or agreed to be furnished in the delivery, installation, repair or improvement of goods, including but not limited to alterations, or improvements upon or in connection with real property, but excluding insurance of all types.

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