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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 funded by and works 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, aims 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 on their rights and to educate them on how to protect themselves from becoming a victim of a scam, fraud or identity theft. Therefore 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 is a list of 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. To file a formal complaint, download the complaint form.

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

Complaint form – Please contact MOCI at (413) 787-6437 before submitting this form. To file your complaint electronically 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 pay 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: 2013 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 








Director of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Information

 Milagros S. Johnson


Scam Alert

It's unfortunate but scams are targeting consumers each and every day. They come in the form of a telephone call, an email, a letter or postcard in the mail, a pop up message on the internet or even a knock on the door. This week I joined a panel of experts at WGGB-Springfield TV40 to talk about scams targeting our area. Here's a list of resources available to you.



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.


Scams and more scams

There's no denying that scams are keeping us busier than usual these days. That's because of the many different tyes of scams targeting consumers. Consumers contact us because they've watched us on local media, attended one of our presentations, are referred by their local police department or senior center, etc. 

The scams we've been hearing of this month are: Grandparent Scam, EZ Pass Scam, Vacation Home Scam, Computer Hacking Scam, ATM Scam, and more. In addition to mediating consumer complaints, we empower consumers with information on their rights, and share scam and fraud alerts. The Federal Trade Commission has tips on ways you can protect yourself from these and many other scams.

Stay safe and alert!


Question of the Month

Q: I purchased a used vehicle and the dealer insisted on taking it to get the state inspection. It passed inspection but two weeks later the brakes felt very low and making a loud noise. I took the car to my mechanic who told me that the vehicle had excessive underneath corrosion, as did the brakes. He couldn't understand how it passed inspection in such poor condition. My car is unsafe to drive. What can I do? I paid $4,00 for a car and now I'm without one. Please help me.

A: Depending on the mileage on your vehicle, you may have protection under the Lemon Aid Laws. You may want to file a complaint with the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles against the inspection station.

Our office may be able to assist with your dispute against the dealer if you file a formal written complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.


Consumer Tip

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

Identity Theft can target anyone at anytime. It does not discriminate against any age, gender, demographic or income. When Identity Theft happens, it can take months or years and costs thousands of dollars to clear your good name. Unfortunately it's the victim that has to do all of the work and incur all the costs. Did you know that you can now freeze your credit report? The only downside is not being able to obtain credit/loan on the spot if you need it (you must first "unfreeze" your reports). You may want to consider freezing 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:  Friday, July 25, 2014 11:36 am