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News Consumer Organizations Recover Millions in 2018 for Massachusetts Residents

3/06/2019
  • Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
  • Division of Professional Licensure
  • Division of Insurance
  • Division of Banks
  • Division of Standards
  • Department of Telecommunications and Cable

Media Contact for Consumer Organizations Recover Millions in 2018 for Massachusetts Residents

Jacqueline Horigan, Public Outreach

BostonToday, in celebration of National Consumer Protection Week, the Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation announced more than $6.7 million dollars was recovered for consumers by the Office and its five regulatory agencies in 2018.

Additionally, the Office and its agencies – Division of Banks, Division of Insurance, Division of Professional Licensure, Division of Standards, and the Department of Telecommunications and Cable – collectively responded to almost 15,000 consumer complaints and inquiries last year. Among the top complaints received in 2018:

  • Inappropriate insurance denials and delays in claim processing
  • Quality of cable services and billing
  • Lemon Law/Auto issues
  • Individuals operating without a professional license

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a nationally coordinated campaign that, for over 20 years, aims to provide consumers with the information they need to empower themselves in the marketplace. During NCPW, consumer protection organizations across the country promote consumer education and highlight how regulators can be effective in holding companies accountable and encouraging fair and reasonable dealings with consumers.

“I’m thrilled to officially assume the role of Undersecretary for the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation during National Consumer Protection Week,” said Undersecretary Edward A. Palleschi. “Our agencies are tireless in their efforts to protect consumers and advocate on their behalf, putting over $20 million back in consumer’s pockets since the start of the Baker-Polito Administration and spearheading several consumer-driven initiatives. I look forward to building upon this great work and continuing to protect and empower consumers across the Commonwealth.”

Key agency-wide initiatives in 2018 include establishing a new Wheelchair Arbitration program for consumers who paid some or all costs out of pocket for their purchase of a new, but defective, customized wheelchair and are refused a refund or replacement wheelchair after meeting eligibility criteria; targeted inspections for motor vehicle repair shops to ensure registration compliance; and a briefing and leadership forum on elder financial abuse to educate Massachusetts residents on how to identify and prevent elder financial abuse.

At the Governor’s request, several of the Office’s agencies also engaged in recovery efforts following the gas explosions in Merrimack Valley, processing nearly 500 out-of-state license applications for plumbers and gas fitters from other states to help with the installation of replacement plumbing and gas fitting fixtures and issuing guidance for insurance carriers and banks working with impacted consumers and businesses.

About the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation:

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) oversees five regulatory agencies: Division of Banks, Division of Insurance, Division of Professional Licensure, Division of Standards, and the Department of Telecommunications and Cable. The Office works to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses.

 Learn more at mass.gov/consumer or follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

Media Contact for Consumer Organizations Recover Millions in 2018 for Massachusetts Residents

Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation 

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation protects and empowers consumers through advocacy and education, and ensures a fair playing field for the Massachusetts businesses its agencies regulate.

Division of Professional Licensure 

The Division of Professional Licensure, through its 39 boards, licenses and regulates individuals and businesses in some 167 trades and professions.

Division of Insurance 

The primary mission of the Division of Insurance is to monitor the solvency of its licensees in order to promote a healthy, responsive and willing marketplace for consumers who purchase insurance products. Protection of consumer interests is of prime importance to the Division and is safeguarded by providing accurate and unbiased information so consumers may make informed decisions and by intervening on behalf of consumers who believe they have been victimized by unfair business practices.

Division of Banks 

The Division of Banks (DOB) is the chartering authority and primary regulator for financial service providers in Massachusetts. DOB's primary mission is to ensure a sound, competitive, and accessible financial services environment throughout the Commonwealth.

Division of Standards 

The Division of Standards enforces accuracy requirements and other standards relating to weighing and measuring devices and the use thereof in the sale of food, fuels and other products. DOS regulates the sale of gasoline and sets standards for lubricating oils and antifreeze, including the inspection of all fuel dispensing equipment for required markings pertaining to grade and brand. The Division also tests and approves coin operated devices, licenses auctioneers, transient vendors, promoters, peddlers, motor fuel and oil retailers and registers auto damage repair shops, and enforces the item pricing law, unit pricing regulations and item pricing waivers to retail food stores.

Department of Telecommunications and Cable 

The Department of Telecommunications and Cable oversees the telecommunications and cable industries in Massachusetts, working to ensure that residents receive high-quality communications services at just and reasonable rates while promoting sustainable competition in the communications marketplace.
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