For Immediate Release - March 22, 2005

Massachusetts Consumers Reap Millions In Refunds

State Consumer Affairs Office & Agencies Report Banner Year for Recoveries

Massachusetts consumers received over $5 million in refunds in 2004, directly resulting from efforts by the Office of Consumer Affairs and its regulatory agencies to resolve disputes with regulated industries and licensees.

"Fighting for wronged consumers and getting results is of the highest priority to this office. Our Home Improvement Contractor and Lemon Law arbitration programs recovered over $2 million last year. Not surprisingly, these two issues headed the list for consumer inquiries and complaints to our hotline this past year," said Consumer Affairs Director Beth Lindstrom.

Following is a breakdown of consumer recoveries by the Office of Consumer Affairs and its agencies for calendar year 2004:

Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation

  • Home Improvement Contractor Arbitration/Guaranty Fund

$859,432

  • Lemon Law Arbitration

$1,158,854

Division of Banks

  • Bank overcharges to account holders

$233,400

  • Restitution to account holders following bank examinations

$880,000

Division of Insurance

  • Recoveries from complaints filed by policyholders

$1,752,334

  • Restitution to policyholders from investigations

$166,966

Department of Telecommunications & Energy

  • Refunds from overcharges on utility, phone and cable bills

$475,572

Division of Professional Licensure

  • Refunds from complaints against professional licensees

$53,135

TOTAL

$5,579, 693