For Immediate Release - February 11, 2011

AG Mediators Recovered $4.7 Million for Consumers Through Voluntary Mediation Services in 2010

AG's Office responded to over 68,000 phone calls and 13,588 complaints pertaining to consumer, health care, and elderly issues

BOSTON - Mediators from Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office recovered over $4.7 million dollars on behalf of individual consumers in 2010. These recoveries are the result of mediation services and assistance facilitated by the Attorney General's Office, responding to over 68,000 calls to the office's hotline and 13,588 consumer complaints relevant to health care, consumer, and elderly issues.

"It's important for people to know that these free consumer services are available to get help," AG Coakley said. "In these difficult times when every dollar counts for families, our office has been very effective in helping people resolve complaints and achieve restitution that they rightfully deserve."

The Attorney General's Public Inquiry & Assistance Center Hotline answers thousands of calls each year from consumers concerning a wide range of consumer protection issues. The office also staffs an Elder Hotline, dedicated to problems facing seniors, and an Insurance & Health Care Helpline to assist consumers with questions pertaining to insurance and health care in the Commonwealth. Each hotline is staffed with trained specialists who assist consumers by answering their questions, and providing information about the complaint and mediation process, and offering referrals to organizations or government agencies that may also help. This past year, the Elder and Health Care mediation programs recovered over $684,000 on behalf of consumers.

All complaints received by the Attorney General's Office (AGO) are reviewed, and if deemed appropriate for mediation services, assigned to a mediator. In addition to the mediation service offered directly by the AGO, the office also works with certain community-based Local Consumer Programs and Face-to-Face mediation programs that are situated around the state and partner with the AGO to mediate consumer complaints. Consumers wishing to file a complaint online may do so via the Attorney General's Office website.

Additionally, thousands of consumers contact the AGO each year, not necessarily seeking mediation, but to make the Attorney General aware of their experience with a particular business or merchant. The office monitors these complaints to identify trends or patterns of unfair and deceptive trade practices. Based on this information, the Attorney General's Office may elect to take legal action on behalf of Massachusetts consumers who are victims.

The Attorney General's Office encourages aggrieved consumers to contact the following Hotlines for assistance if they encounter problems. Hotlines are staffed during regular business hours unless otherwise noted:

  • Consumer Hotline: (617) 727-8400
    Available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Elder Hotline: (888) 243-5337
  • Insurance & Health Care Consumer Helpline: (888) 830-6277

Comprehensive information regarding these services is available on the Consumer Protection portion of the Attorney General's website.