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 tens of thousands of 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
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 Monday through Friday 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?  When requesting them, be sure not to use a public computer or WiFi 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? 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 excited to introduce you to The Con$umer Toolbox, our new television program 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 Springfield, Ludlow, Chicopee, Agawam, West Springfield, and most recently Wilbraham, Palmer and Longmeadow. A special thank you to everyone for their support!

Most cities/towns run the program twice a week at two different time slots, but the times and channels vary. We suggest you check with your local community station to find out when it runs.  

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 business advertisements or promotions), please drop us an email at moci@springfieldcityhall.com

You can now watch previous episodes of The Con$umer Toolbox on our YouTube channel. We hope you watch and get empowered.

Consumer Beware: Scams are on the Uproar

It seems that each day we are hearing or learning of a new scam targeting Western Massachusetts. We continue to urge consumers to contact us, after they call their local police, to share their experience with us. While we may not always be able to help resolve the issue, we make it a point to share the information with other consumers and agenices in order to help spread awareness and prevent it from happening to others.

Recently Cherise Leclerc, a reporter/anchor of CBS 3 Springfield put together an excellent consumer awareness story on scams in which  I provided TIPS for consumers on ways to protect themselves. One of the things I encourage consumers to do is to "toughen up." Watch the video

Remember, when it comes to scams, fraud and identity theft, "Education is the Best Prevention."

Consumer Awareness Workshops at UMass Springfield

We have partnered with UMass Center at Springfield for a 3-Part Lunch Series on three relevant topics to consumers of all ages. The workshops are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, June 17: Identity Theft - "It Doesn't Have to Happen to You!"

Tuesday, July 14: Credit - "Being Credit Wise"

Thursday, August 13: Buying a Car - "Being Car Smart"

All three workshops will be held at UMass Center at Springfield in Tower Square from 12noon to 1pm. Click here for more information and to register.



Tax Identity Theft Continues to be a Problem

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 on Tax Identity Theft  on page 4.  

We are now serving parts of the Worcester County community

We are pleased to announce that as of July 1, 2014, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office 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. 

Question of the Month

Q: A debt collection agency is constantly calling me at all hours of the day and night. What consumer protections do I have?

A: Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors may only contact you between 8am and 9pm; may not contact you at work, if they are made aware that your employer disapproves; cannot harass consumers; must identity themselves when calling you; and, must stop contacting you if you ask them to do so in writing.

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) 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're ready to serve you FREE of charge.

Page last updated:  Friday, February 13, 2015 11:40 am