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With summer’s end on the horizon, there are just a few more weeks of the vacation season left. The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and its regulatory agencies put together some tips for consumers to know how to best stay safe while enjoying a last minute trip.

Driving:

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Keep the tires properly inflated and make sure all front and rear lights are working.
  • Keep your insurance ID and registration in the vehicle. If you’re in an accident, you will want this information readily available.
  • Be sure items packed on top of your car or in a trailer are securely tied down.
  • If you are in an accident, be sure to get the contact and insurance information of any other drivers involved. Take pictures of the scene if it is safe to do so.
  • If you need to fill-up, check the gas pump for a skimming device. More cars on the road means more cars stopping for gas, and thieves may want to take advantages of that opportunity.

Lodging:

  • Bring a copy of all email correspondence, any contact information and your contract (if you have one) for any vacation rental property.
  • Keep your health insurance ID card, a list of your drug allergies, a list of prescriptions you’re currently taking and information about any other medical conditions with you at all times.
  • Speak with your health insurance provider and be sure you understand your out of network coverage if you get injured or need to see a doctor.
  • If a property is not in the condition you expected or your security deposit is not returned as agreed, and you are unable to resolve your complaint with the owner or manager directly, you may have some options, including legal recourse. The Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law (M.G.L. c.93A) is an alternative for resolving complaints.
  • Be careful around campfires and fire pits. Clothes and surroundings can easily catch fire. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Cook food thoroughly, especially raw meats, to help prevent foodborne illness.
  • Avoid sharing too many details of your trip away on social media sites. Thieves can learn your home is empty by looking at your social media accounts. Avoid checking-in at locations and post only a few pictures at the end of your trip.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

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