The City of Revere is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and is taking proactive steps to support containment efforts. To that end, the Youth Center on Beach Street is closed until further notice. Therefore, the Consumer Affairs office will not be open to the public. The office will be operational in a limited capacity and can be reached by phone during normal business hours.
Consumer Affairs Office works with the Attorney General's Office providing consumer information, resources and education. We offer a free, voluntary mediation service that tries to help resolve matters between consumers and merchants outside of court.
What We Do
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, deception or unfair business practice this office can assist you in resolving a complaint through an informal process of mediation.
In mediation, neutral third party-mediator-helps you and the other party try to resolve the problem through facilitated dialogue. However, it is up to you and the other party to reach an agreement.
In order to determine whether your situation is appropriate for our mediation service, you must first file a complaint with our office. Your complaint will be reviewed, if suitable, it will be assigned to mediator.
Trained mediators contact merchants in an attempt to provide effective assistance to consumers in resolving complaints.
It is important to note that we cannot require a merchant to participate in this voluntary mediation program. However, many businesses do choose to participate and as a result, mediation is able to help many individuals resolve consumer problems.
How to File a Consumer Complaint
You should file a complaint if you are having a problem with a business and need help to resolve that problem.
By law, businesses must display their refund, return, and cancelation policies. A store needs to have these written policies in a place where shoppers can see them before they buy.
If you bought something and it was already damaged before you used it, a business must credit you for that product. They can’t use the store’s return policy as an excuse not to accept it.
If you get credit for a return, you have at least five years to use it. Gift certificates expire at least two years after the date you bought the original item.
Truth in advertising
Businesses must tell you about any facts that may influence your decision to buy a product. They are not allowed to use bait-and-switch tactics, including:
refusing to sell you a product as it was originally advertised
telling you the original product they were offering is no good
saying they don't have enough of a product, or
refusing to deliver the product within a reasonable time.
A business must have enough of their advertised products available to meet demand. If they run out of something, they generally have to give you a “raincheck.”
To use the word “sale” in an ad, the savings must be at least 10 percent for items costing $200 or less. More expensive items must be discounted at least 5 percent.
Non-grocery stores must put actual prices on their products. Most grocery stores must mark prices as well, but there are exceptions on certain items.
There are only a few situations when you get a three-day “cooling off” period to cancel the purchase of something:
door to door sales
health club contracts
time shares, and
credit repair services.
Mail-order, Phone, TV and Online Purchase
Federal law says that businesses must ship your order within the time frame they advertised. If they didn't specify a time frame, they must ship the product within 30 days.
Always read the fine print in mail-order advertisements, and don't forget about shipping and handling charges.
If you get a product in the mail that you didn't order, you can consider it a gift. It's yours to keep or throw out, and you don’t have to let the business who sent the product know.
Fair credit billing
The Fair Credit Billing Act is a federal law that protects consumers when they use credit cards. There are a couple of key points in the act:
If you notice a mistake on your credit card statement, you can put a stop on the payment while you dispute the charge.
You must send a written notice to your creditor within 60 days. They have to respond to your complaint within 30 days of receiving it, unless the problem was resolved.
Protecting Your Credit Right
Get Your Credit Report
You have the right to one free credit report every year. Your credit report shows your history, like collections and credit inquiries. It does not show your credit score.
If you applied for credit and got denied, you should get a copy of your credit report to make sure all the information is correct. You have the right to know who reported to the creditor within 60 days of the denial.
Generally, negative information — like a collection account — stays on your report for seven years. Some information, like bankruptcies, will stay on your report up to 10 years.
You can contact the three major credit bureaus to get your reports:
TransUnion: 1-800-888-4213. Call 1-800-680-7289 to report fraud.
Equifax: 1-800-685-1111. Call 1-800-525-6285 to report fraud.
Protecting Your Credit
Never give out important information over the phone. This includes:
Social Security Numbers
Bank account numbers
Credit card numbers, and
Debit card numbers.
Your Debt Collection Rights
Creditors and debt collection agencies must follow certain rules when trying to collect debt from you. They are NOT allowed to:
call you at home more than twice in a seven-day period
call you at work or elsewhere more than twice in a 30-day period
call you at work if you've filled out a written request not to call you at work, and
contact you directly if you've told them you have an attorney to handle your debts.
When dealing with you, creditors are also NOT allowed to:
use profane or abusive language
falsely threaten to take you to court or take other legal action
reveal information about your debt to anyone else without your consent
ask for post-dated checks from you, and
withhold documents from you or your attorney that they intend to use to collect the debt.
Tips for Handling Debt
Many people use credit without understanding what getting into too much debt can do to them. Keep these tips in mind to handle your debt:
If you're falling behind on your bills, contact the creditor to work out a payment deal.
If you have a lot of debt, consider contacting a debt counseling service. These groups can help you consolidate your debt and work out deals with creditors.
You can also take out a loan for your debt or file for bankruptcy. You should speak with an attorney first, because these options can really hurt your credit score.
If you're getting credit card applications and junk mail that you don't want, call 1-888-567-8688.
The Massachusetts Used Vehicle Warranty law protects consumers who buy used cars. It applies to dealers or private sellers. Under this law:
A dealer must give you a written warranty against safety defects, and
private sellers need to tell you about any defects or safety issues.
A seller can offer repairs, a refund, or a repurchase as a way to pay you back for a defective car, but not all vehicles or defects are eligible for a repurchase.
For more information, call the Consumer Affairs Hotline at 1-888-283-3757
Eligibility and Warranties
To be covered by the used car law, you must have:
bought the car from a dealer or private party in Massachusetts
bought the car from a Massachusetts dealer for more than $700.00, or
bought the car from a Massachusetts dealer, and it had less than 125,000 miles on it.
If your warranty is unknown, the law determines coverage by your car’s age:
Less than 40,000 miles: Warranty period is 90 days or 3,750 miles.
40,000 to 79,999 miles: Warranty period is 60 days or 2,500 miles.
80,000 to 124,999 miles: Warranty period is 30 days or 1,250 miles.
125,000 miles and more: There is no warranty period.
A private party doesn’t need to give you a warranty, but they do have to tell you about any defects before you buy the car. If they don't tell you about a known problem, you have 30 days to cancel the sale and get your money back.
You’re also protected under the Massachusetts Inspection law. When you buy a car, you must have it inspected at a registered station within seven days of you buying it.
Staying Safe Online
Millions of young children use the Internet daily. Parents need to know about the dangers the Internet poses to children. Studies show that:
one out of every 17 children feel threatened or harassed online
one out of every five children receive sexual solicitation online, and
one in four children see unwanted sexual material.
Children don't always tell their parents when these incidents happen, so parents should track how their children use the Internet.
Tips to Protect Children Online
Follow these tips to protect your children when they're online:
Keep your computer in a common area like the living room. It’s easier to keep an eye on your children.
Check the history button on your Internet browser to see which websites your children are visiting.
Check for open applications along the bottom of your computer screen. There may be hidden ones that your children don’t want you to see.
Never allow your child to send pictures without your permission.
Tell your child not to open an email unless it's from someone they know.
Enable parental controls on your computer and browser.
Teach your children to never give out personal information, including names and addresses, phone numbers, school names, and any information that can identify them.
What else can you do?
Make sure your child tells you right away if they see something that makes them uncomfortable. Report these situations to your Internet Service Provider or the police if necessary.
Your child also needs to know that things they say or do online can hurt other people, too. They should be careful about what they post. Some children have even been charged for committing crimes online.
Home Improvement and Contracting
Before you hire a contractor
Only use a licensed contractor. Most of time, Massachusetts requires a Home Improvement Contractor Registration for contractors doing more than $1,000 of work on a one-to-four family building where the owner also lives at the property.
You can look up registered contractors online. Research your project and learn how it’s done. Get references for each contractor you use and don't be afraid to ask questions.