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Mayor's Office of Consumer Information (MOCI)

Working in Cooperation with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

City Hall, Room 315
Tel: (413) 787-6437 - TTY: (413) 787-6154 
(413) 787-7781 (Fax) 
E-mail: moci@springfieldcityhall.com

The Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information (“MOCI”) is a Local Consumer Program funded by and working in cooperation with the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General to help consumers resolve complaints who otherwise have to seek legal recourse through the court system. It serves residents of the City of Springfield and its surrounding cities and towns throughout Hampden County, and parts of Worcester County communities. The MOCI cannot guarantee the outcome of a complaint but ensures that it will, with the cooperation of both parties, aim to effectively mediate the complaint in hopes of reaching an amicable resolution. 

Since 2000 MOCI has handled over 9000 complaints, recovered over $10 million dollars for consumers in the form of a refund or credit, and held hundreds of community outreach events.

The goal of the MOCI is to empower consumers with knowledge of their rights and to educate them on ways to protect themselves from becoming a victim of a scam, fraud or identity theft. After all, our motto is "Education is the Best Prevention."

Its consumer services are provided throughout Hampden County and the following communities of Worcester County: Brookfield, Charlton, Dudley, East Brookfield, Holden, North Brookfield, Paxton, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Warren, West Brookfield and Worcester.

The MOCI provides education, referral and informal mediation services at no cost to consumers. Mediation provides consumers and businesses the opportunity to address and resolve disputes, although no legal advice or services are provided. Spanish-speaking staff is available.  Walk-ins are welcomed from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  

The MOCI staff will educate consumers on their rights in many consumer-related areas and has an array of brochures readily available. Following are some of the areas the MOCI can assist with:

Lemon Laws
Home Improvement
Debt Collection
Retail Rights
Credit
Landlord/Tenant Rights
Identity Theft

...and more

To speak to a consumer advocate to learn of your consumer rights, seek advice on how to resolve your dispute or to request mediation, call (413) 787-6437.

In addition, the MOCI provides consumer-related educational outreach to Hampden County area schools and colleges, senior centers and civic agencies, free of charge. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, Identity Theft, Credit, Buying a Car and Home Improvement.  To request a speaker, download the speaker request form.

Forms for Download

If you wish to speak with a mediator about filing a consumer complaint, you may reach us at (413) 787-6437 Mondays through Fridays from 9am to 4pm. To file your e-complaint directly with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, click here: AGO Complaint Form

Speaker request form – Please contact Program Director, Milagros S. Johnson about speaking to your organization. You may reach her at (413) 787-6437 or email moci@springfieldcityhall.com.
Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance - Are you struggling to make your mortgage payment? If so, there is help for you.

Consumer Links

Facing Foreclosure? The MA Attorney General's HomeCorps may be able to help: AGO HomeCorps Initiative 

To learn of your consumer protection rights, fraud and corruption, civil rights, and promoting meaningful economic recovery, visit: Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office: Consumer Protection

For additional consumer protection information (Lemon laws and home improvement) visit: Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America.  Learn how to deter, detect and defend against it, visit: Federal Trade Commission: Identity Theft

Did you know that you are entitled to a free annual copy of your three credit reports, with no strings attached?  Be sure not to use a public computer or WiFi and allow at least 15 minutes for the process. Securely request your free credit reports from Annual Credit Report:  Annual Credit Reports

Are you feeling overwhelmed with pre-approved credit card offers in your mailbox? Did you know that they put you at risk of identity theft? To stop receiving pre-approved credit card offers, click here: Opt-Out of pre-approved credit card offers

Would you like to reduce the volume of junk mail in your mailbox? You can actually stop junk mail by clicking here: Stop Unsolicted Mail, Calls and Emails

To stop telemarketing calls to your home or mobile telephone, register at: National Do Not Call Registry

Are debt collectors harassing you at home or work?  Learn what you can do to stop the calls and to learn of your consumer rights: Fair Debt Collection

Every household should have what's often refered to as the, "Consumer Bible." Here's how you can obtain yours: 2014 Consumer Action Handbook

There is now accountability for predatory lending.  The CFPB will "Educate, Enforce and Study" consumer issues.  Visit their website at: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Before doing business with a merchant, you may want to first check its ratings and complaint history with the Better Business Bureau 

Elder scams and financial exploitation are on the rise. The U.S. Department of Justice launched a website, Elder Justice to help protect seniors.








Director of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Information

 Milagros S. Johnson


The Con$umer Toolbox

We're pleased to introduce you to our new program, The Con$umer Toolbox. It is aimed at providing consumers with the necessary tools to make informed decisions. The (monthly) program, which is getting excellent reviews, is currently running on Public Access Television in Ludlow, Chicopee and Agawam, West Springfield. In addition, Focus Springfield Community TV will also be airing the program on Channel 12 every Thursday at 11am and 7pm. 

If you have a topic of interest you would like to hear about, or wish to be a guest on The Con$umer Toolbox  (no advertisements or promotions), please drop us an email at moci@springfieldcityhall.com. We hope you enjoy watching our program!

Click here to watch episodes of The Con$umer Toolbox.


End of the Year Tips

If you haven't gotten your hands on the most recent edition of The Springfield Star, a publication of the City of Springfield Department of Elder Affairs, you can read it online. You can find our consumer column, End of the Year Tips, on Page 8.



We are now serving parts of the Worcester County community

We are pleased to announce that as of July 1, 2014, Attorney General Martha Coakley funded our office to serve parts of the Worcester County area. The cities and towns we will be covering during Fiscal Year 2015 are: Brookfield, Charlton, Dudley, East Brookfield, Holden, North Brookfield, Paxton, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Warren, West Brookfield and Worcester.

As a Local Consumer Program with a history of commitment to its Hampden County consumers we will strive to do the same for our Worcester County consumers.

Personal message to our Worcester County consumers: "We are only a telephone call or short distance away from serving your consumer needs.


Question of the Month

Q: It seems every day I hear about or read of some sort of car manufacturer recall. I'm in the market for a used car and am worried about buying a car that is unsafe to drive. Do you have any suggestions?

A: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an excellent website with many tools to help you make an informed decision before you purchase your next vehicle.  To check for unrepaired recalls on a specific vehicle (Note: You will need the vehicle's VIN), click here.  To check for past recalls, complaints, service bulletins and NHTSA investigations on a particular year, make and model, click here. Also have the vehicle thoroughly checked by your mechanic to determine if the vehicle has any other existing defects, severe corrosion, or was involved in a major accident.


Consumer Tip

Identity Theft: Another way to avoid it from happening to you!

Identity Theft can target anyone at any time. Did you know that you can now freeze your credit report? The only downside is not being able to obtain "instant" credit/loan if you need it (you must first "unfreeze" your reports). Freeze your credit report.


Hampden & Worcester County consumer outreach

We continue to receive requests for outreach events thoughout Hampden County and parts of the Worcester community. If your school (high school or college), agency or civic/social organization is interested in getting empowered on a consumer topic (such as Scams & Fraud, Identity Theft, Credit, Buying a Car) complete the Speaker Request Form or contact us via email: moci@springfieldcityhall.com. We're ready to serve you FREE of charge.


Consumer Education

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score, often referred to as "FICO score" is a grade of how you manage your credit.  Credit scores can range from 300-850 -- the higher the better. The score is based on the following five categories:

History of Payments (35%): The story behind whether you pay your bills on time, or not.

Balance and Available Credit (30%): The ratio between your outstanding debt and available credit. Maxing out your credit cards has a negative result. For a higher score avoid using more than 30% of your credit limit.

Length of Credit History (15%): The longer you've have the account, the higher the number.

New Credit (10%): Applying for credit ("hard inquiry") lowers your credit score.



Page last updated:  Monday, December 08, 2014 02:19 pm