Freeholder Christopher Rafano

Presents the Middlesex County

Consumer Affairs & Weights & Measures

Year 2000 Annual Report

Middlesex County Consumer Affairs handles complaints from individual consumers against local businesses located within Middlesex County.

Middlesex County Consumer Affairs  never charges a fee for any service rendered to consumers. In contrast, the Better Business Bureau charges a fee for consumers to file a complaint and have no legal authority or power.

After a complaint is received, it is investigated, and, if valid, an effort is made to resolve the case to the consumers satisfaction. If unsuccessful, legal remedies are then pursued.

The cost to taxpayers for the services of this department is about the cost of a postage stamp. For 36 cents per person, each Middlesex County resident is given a “Consumer Protection Insurance Policy”.

Brochures are available to all county residents covering topics like safety, home improvements, car repair, credit scams, telemarketing fraud and Internet fraud.

Consumer Affairs participates in state run Task Forces designed to protect residents from harmful products (defective toys, flammable clothing and recreational equipment).

                                                         

  1999 2000  % Change
# Of Written Complaints Received  1400 1610 +15%
     
Municipal Court
Violations
   
164  138  -16%

 

Fines & Costs

     
Returned To County     $23,570 $33,325    +42%
       
Money Returned to      
Consumers     $313,000 $338,813 +8.3%
       

Refunds:  Cash refunded to consumers.

Exchanges:  Merchandise given to replace defective items.

Voided Contracts:  Cancellation of fully executed contracts without penalties to consumers.

Money Value:   Settlements which do not fall into one of the above categories such as job completion or delivery of items or services to consumers.

Middlesex County Weights & Measures

Approximate Number Of Businesses In Middlesex County:  15,000

Devices Certified Annually By Middlesex County Weights & Measures:

   
Computing Scales   6814
Pharmacy Scales      217
Scanner Systems  2129
Fuel Truck Meters 128
Propane Scales  55
Linear Measures     134
Timing Devices 603
Industrial Scales  211
Fuel Pumps  

5138
TOTAL       15,429

 

Re-certification Of Devices Requiring Repair   1,700
Reweighing Of Commodities     250,000
Label Inspections For Proper Marking And Identification 100,000
Number Of Investigated Consumer Complaints Concerning Accuracy Of Gas Pumps, Package Short Weight, Meats, Deli Items, Inaccuracy Of Scales In Businesses 47
(All Cases have been resolved)  

 

 

 2000 REVENUE GENERATED BY

WEIGHTS & MEASURES

Short Weight…….…$ 50,850.00

Purchased items (such as in a supermarket) that fall “short” of

the advertised weight is considered a short  weight item and is subject to a fine.

Scanner……..…….…$ 30,950.00

Scanners such as in supermarkets and department stores are checked.

If an item scans for an amount other than the advertised price the business is subject to a fine.

Lot Averages……….…$ 24,000.00

Inspectors develop a tear weight based on 8 items. From this they will weigh 12 additional items.

If the lot of the 12 items average less then the weight on the package,

this represents a lot average violation and is subject to a fine.

Label…………………..$   4,220.00

All packaged items which do not have a declared weight and the name

and address of the manufacturer on the label are subject to a fine.

Total Fines Collected in 2000............$110,020.00

2000 Inspection & Registration Fees........................$  65,300.00

 

Every weighing and measuring device in Middlesex County is checked

at least once a year and must be re-certified. There is a fee charged as

required by the State of New Jersey and 70% of this revenue is returned to the County.