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 
Fax: (413) 787-7781
E-mail: moci@springfieldcityhall.com

OUR VISION: To protect the good of consumers and ensure a safe and fair marketplace, free and clear of deceitful practices.

OUR MISSION: To empower consumers with knowledge for them to make informed decisions, and to advocte for those who need assistance in resolving a consumer complaint.

OUR MOTTO: "Education is the Best Prevention!"

The Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information (“MOCI”) is a Local Consumer Program (LCP) 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, as well as parts of Worcester County.The MOCI cannot guarantee the outcome of a complaint but ensures that it will, with the cooperation of both parties, aim to effectively provide consumer advocacy assistance in hopes of reaching an amicable resolution. 

Since 2000 MOCI has handled tens of thousands of complaints, recovered over $12 million dollars for consumers in the form of a refund or credit, and held hundreds of community outreach events.

The MOCI's services are provided throughout Hampden County, and the following Worcester County cities and towns: Brookfield, Charlton, Dudley, East Brookfield, Holden, Holland, North Brookfield, Oxford, Paxton, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Tolland, Wales, Warren, Webster, and West Brookfield.

It provides education, referral and consumer advocacy services at no cost to consumers. By advocating for consumers the MOCI allows consumers and businesses the opportunity to address and resolve disputes, although no legal advice or services are provided. The consumer specialists are trained and have many years of experience and knowledge on consumer protection rights.

Spanish-speaking staff is available. 

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

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

To speak to a case specialist to learn of your consumer rights, seek advice on how to resolve your dispute, or to request consumer assistance, call (413) 787-6437. We are ready to personally answer your question(s).

 

TO FILE A COMPLAINT

To request a printed version of the complaint form, or to speak with a case specialist about filing a consumer complaint, you may reach a Case Specialist at (413) 787-6437, Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm.

COMPLAINT FORM

The MOCI brochure is available in EnglishSpanish and Russian.

CONSUMER RESOURCES:

Are you facing foreclosure? The MA Attorney General's Office may be able to help: Mortgage Lending and Foreclosures

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?  When requesting your credit reports, be sure not to use a public computer or Wi-Fi and allow at least 20 minutes for the process. Securely request your free credit reports from Annual Credit Report.

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 if they end up in the wrong hands? 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 simply requesting to opt-out: 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 your consumer rights: Fair Debt Collection

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

REMOTE OUTREACH IN ACTION

While we are temporarily adjusting the way we do outreach, we are still committed to providing workshops and presentations, and their quality and effectiveness will remain the same. We are adding two-way communication platforms such as Zoom to bring events to you, in the comfort and safety of your home. If you want to stay informed of upcoming events, sign up for our emails at moci@springfieldcityhall.com.

NOTE: We are looking for opportunities to partner with other service providers, community libraries, universities/colleges, high schools, civic organizations and churches to offer a series of workshops to consumers. If you are interested, please reach out to us via email at moci@springfieldcityhall.com.

The Con$umer Toolbox Episodes

The MOCI invites you to learn more about your rights as a consumer through a lively discussion with guests on The Con$umer Toolbox, its own YouTube channel. You can find all of the episodes there. We hope you enjoy watching.

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 or 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 are prepared and committed to serve you FREE of charge.

Director of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Information

Milagros S. Johnson


OFFICE HOURS

To speak to a Consumer Specialist, call (413) 787-6437 between the hours of 9am and 4pm.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19 state and local guidelines and directives, we are not accepting walk-ins at this time. However our service to consumers has not changed in that we continue bringing to you the same quality of service, and are just as effective via telephone or email.

If you have a consumer-related matter that's concerning to you, it's important to us and we want to know about it. We encourage you to contact us at (413) 787-6437, or via email at moci@springfieldcityhall.com



Unemployment Benefits Scam hits Massachusetts

If you're the victim of the unemployment benefits targeting consumers in Massachusetts, you need to report it to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, or call (877) 626-6800.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office also recommends you:


BE ON HIGH ALERT! CONSUMER SCAMS ARE ON THE RISE DURING THE PANDEMIC

We encourage you to visit the Federal Trade Comission's website for tips on how to avoid falling victim to any of the many different scams targeting consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.The scams come in many forms, from a website, text, email or phone call. Remember that, "Education is the Best Prevention!"


Buying a Car, Not a Lemon

Are you in the market for a new car? Here's what you need to know to avoid buying a lemon:

  1. Take the car for a long test drive. Make sure you drive it on the highway and on a hilly road.
  2. Bring the vehicle to a mechanic to have it checked thoroughly before you buy it.
  3. The used vehicle warranty period is based on the mileage on the vehicle at the time of purchase, and not set by the dealer.
  4. Take it (yourself) to get inspected within seven days of purchase.
  5. A dealer is not allowed to sell a vehicle in an "as is" condition or with faults.

Flooded Cars: Don't Be Left High and Dry When Buying a New Car

Previously flooded vehicles from other states are creeping their way to Western Mass and being sold by private parties and dealers. Here's what to check to detect prior flood damage on a vehicle:

  • Rust on screws or other metallic items
  • Upholstery and seat belts for water stains
  • Underneath spare tire for water or rust
  • Engine compartment for mud or indicators of submergence
  • Under the dashboard for mud or moisture
  • Headlights and taillights for signs of water
  • Operation of all electrical components
  • Glove-box, trunk and storage compartments for mold or a musty odor

Your Consumer Rights!

What matters to consumers, matters to us!  We make this our number one priority. If you have a consumer question or concern, and need to speak with a consumer specialist, contact us at (413) 787-6437 or via email at moci@springfieldcityhall.com.

Other Helpful Contact Information:

  • Massachusetts Attorney General's Office: (617) 727-8400
  • Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation: (888) 283-3757
  • Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensures (617) 727-3074
  • Hampden County Bar Association, Lawyer Referral Service: (413) 732-4648


How to Write an Effective Consumer Dispute Letter

If you are experiencing a problem with a product or service, which you already brought to the attention of the business but it remains unresolved, you may want to consider writing a dispute letter.

  • Avoid writing it when you are upset; be sure to keep your emotions at bay.
  • State only the facts of the dispute and avoid "he said/she said."
  • Include a description of the product (model number, serial number), and date and location of purchase.
  • Invite the business to respond to your letter by a certain date, and include your contact information.
  • Include copies of any supporting documents or photographs, if necessary.
  • Finally, be sure to send the letter via certified mail/return receipt requested.

If the letter does not help resolve the issue, you may want to file a complaint



Page last updated:  Wednesday, July 1, 2020 04:01 pm