Occupational schools provide valuable training to students looking to practice in a wide range of trades and professions such as health care, business and construction trades. Instead focusing on job-specific skills, these schools provide a fantastic environment without the high prices of traditional institutions. Over 200 occupational schools are licensed throughout the Commonwealth, a number that is growing.
On Tuesday, our office launched a new informational website and telephone tip line for prospective students, or students who already attend these occupational schools. The site– www.mass.gov/dpl/schools – provides information on licensing requirements, consumer protection measures, applicable regulations and other matters important to occupational schools, sales representatives, students and the public. We want to ensure that students can make an informed decision when deciding what school to attend and that sales representatives use fair tactics when recruiting.
The tip line – (617) 727-6917 – offers students a new and straightforward way to lodge complaints against occupational schools or sales representatives for violations such as deceptive recruiting practices, unqualified instructors, or failure to provide required tuition refunds. We will have staff on the tip line during normal business hours, and will encourage callers to leave voicemail messages at all other times.
Previously, regulation of these schools was handled by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Governor Patrick earlier this year moved it to DPL in order to increase efficiency and streamline oversight. Through the site and tip line, students will have access to more information than ever when deciding on what school to attend, or how to address an issue with one they attend. These schools give students experience in fields that will drive the future success of the Massachusetts economy, now the deciding where to enroll will be easier than ever.
If you want to see a list of licensed Occupational Schools in the Commonwealth, click here, and if you have ever had an issue, please, call the tip line!
Ian Mabie is a student at Northeastern University and is the communications co-op at the Office of Consumer Affairs.
Summary of the 2015 Consumer Federation of America Annual Consumer Complaint Survey posted on Jul 22
The Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators recently released the results of the 2015 Consumer Complaint Survey. This report is based on consumer information, complaints, and suggestions for increased consumer protections from 33 consumer agencies in 21 states.
Do-Not-Call Consumer & Solicitor Responsibilities posted on Jul 20
The Massachusetts Do-Not-Call Registry allows consumers to stop receiving certain telephone solicitations simply by signing-up and providing their telephone number. Established in 2003, the law requires telephone solicitors, list-brokers, and telemarketers to register with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, subscribe to the Do-Not-Call Registry, and remove registered telephone numbers of consumers from their call lists.
Registry of Motor Vehicles Mimic Websites posted on Jul 14
Massachusetts consumers looking to renew a license or schedule a road test online through the Registry of Motor Vehicles may come across unofficial third-party websites, or “mimic sites.” Do NOT be fooled! These services have no affiliation with the RMV, regardless of how real they may seem.