A key mission of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is to provide consumers the information they need to fully exercise their rights and also to understand their responsibilities in the marketplace. Our partners – the Attorney General’s Office, Better Business Bureau, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service – also strive toward that same goal of consumer education and empowerment.
At the Office of Consumer Affairs, we hear from thousands of consumers through our hotline and our email database. We’ve compiled all of those complaints and inquiries to calculate our Top 5 Consumer Issues for 2012:
- Auto Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Home Insurance
- Home Improvement Contracting
- Lemon Law
One eye-catching component of our Top 5 is that the top three are insurance-related issues. This is not surprising. Many Massachusetts residents have cars, and everyone who has a car must have auto insurance. All of us must have health insurance, and indeed 98% of Massachusetts residents are covered. The numerous weather events that occurred in 2012, most recently Superstorm Sandy and several blizzard-like storms, caused havoc around the Commonwealth that prompted questions and claims on home insurance.
The two issues that round out our Top 5 have consistently made this list. My office runs the Home Improvement Contracting complaint, registration, and arbitration programs as well as the Guaranty Fund. We also house the Lemon Law arbitration program, and our consumer hotline staff take questions and give advice about the law’s qualifications.
Navigating the networks of insurance plans, dealing with insurance claims, resolving issues with home improvement contractors, and dealing with lemons are all trying situations for consumers. My Office and affiliated agencies seek to provide assistance through education and outreach so that consumers can know and use their rights.
If you have a question or complaint, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs Consumer Hotline, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 617-973-8787 or toll-free in MA at 888-283-3757.
How to Combat Illegal Robocalls posted on Jul 25
Robocalls have become an all-too-common nuisance for consumers. Robocalls are unsolicited, pre-recorded phone calls, often scams, which are made to consumers without their permission, as opposed to calls solicited by the consumer, such as those from pharmacies and childrens’ schools. Robocalls are illegal in Massachusetts under M.G.L. c. 159C. While consumers can, and should, sign-up -for both the state and national Do-Not-Call lists, unfortunately this does not always stop many unscrupulous solicitors and scammers from making these calls.
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.