The Norfolk District Attorney's Office offers a free informal mediation service aimed at resolving disputes between consumers and merchants outside of court. This office works in cooperation with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office on consumer issues, education and complaints.
Mediation helps you and the other party try to resolve the problem through facilitated dialogue. Although we cannot compel a business to take part in this voluntary mediation service, many businesses do.
When appropriate, the Consumer Protection Division will refer parties to face-to-face mediation programs, provide small claims assistance and/or refer to a private attorney.
The Consumer Protection Division does not provide legal advice or opinions.
If you need assistance before you make a purchase or after unsuccessfully trying to resolve the problem on your own, please call the Consumer Protection Division at 781-830-4800 ext. 279.
Don’t Get Scammed
How to spot and stay ahead of the latest scams with tips from the Federal Trade Commission.
“We’re with Windows” Scam
The Federal Trade Commission warns of a scam that tricked tens of thousands of computer users into believing their computers were riddled with malware and then paying the scammers hundreds of dollars to “fix” the problem. Click here to learn more
Utility Company shut-off or pay up with Green Dot Cards Scam
Scammers call you pretending to be with your local Utility Company saying they are going to immediately shut off your electricity unless you pay up with Green Dot Cards. Click here to learn more.
Ring, Ring, Robocall Scam
As part of its ongoing effort to end illegal robocalls, the FTC announced settlements with two more unscrupulous companies that made prerecorded calls to trick consumers into paying for deceptive credit card interest rate reduction plans.
Here’s what to do when you get an unsolicited robocall:
- Don’t respond, just hang up. If you get a call, don't press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other number to be removed from the list. If you respond in any way, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
- Contact your phone provider. Ask your phone provider if they charge for a service that blocks that particular number. Remember that telemarketers change the numbers they call from easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will almost always change.
- Put your phone number on the Do Not Call registry.Access the registry online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
- File a complaint with the FTC. Report the experience online or by calling 1-877-382-4357.
Storm-Damaged Vehicles Scam
If you’re shopping for a new vehicle, steer clear of flood-damaged cars in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Click here to learn more.
Scams, Auto Insurance and Loan Modifications top the list of Consumer Issues for 2012
Below are a few issues affecting Massachusetts residents today For additional information, click on each link:
Massachusetts Division of Insurance
Health Insurance and Home Insurance
Questions about claims, adjusters or denial of claims
Mortgages & Loan Modifications
Attorney General's Office
For those facing foreclosure or seeking support with borrowing
Foreign Lottery Scams
U.S. Postal Service | Consumer Fraud Unit
Issues that may require reporting: telemarketing from a Jamaican location, foreign lottery winning, work at home schemes, check deposit/money wiring, reporting or to
check for the frauds or scams
Protecting Your Personal Information
Massachusetts Division of Banks
This site provides all the steps you should follow if you are a victim of identity theft. : Check your credit report and your rights available to you if you suspect someone could be using your identity, taken out a credit card in your name, or if your personal information was stolen thru computer hacking or thief of your home or pocketbook www.mass.gov/dob
1-877-IDTHEFT to report suspicious activity
Home Improvement Contractors
Items to be aware of before and after you hire a contractor; i.e. license, registration referrals:
Massachusetts Consumer Affairs and
Check to see if the contractor has a license:
Check to see if the contract is registered: http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/business/home-improvement-contract/hic-registration/
Annual Credit Report
This site allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion.
Consumers should put landlines on both the national and the state DNC registries. Cell phones can only be put on the national list. The DNC registry is updated quarterly, so it may take up to three months for consumers to see the effects. You have to put your number back on the list every seven years. The DNC registries do not apply to business lines.