Freeholder Christopher Rafano Announces
Improvements to the Consumer Affairs Web Page


Tonight I am pleased to announce a new service being offered by the Middlesex County Office of Consumer Affairs. This department, which helps to protect our residents from consumer fraud and resolve disputes between vendors and consumers, has served the people of Middlesex County for many years.

The Office of Consumer Affairs handles complaints filed by individual consumers against businesses in Middlesex County. The department investigates complaints and attempts to resolve those complaints to the consumer's satisfaction. If this resolution process is unsuccessful, the department will pursue legal remedies where appropriate.

During the year 2000, the department received 1,610 written complaints and were responsible for the issuance of 138 Municipal Court Violations. They received $33,325 in fines and costs and more importantly, they returned $338,813 to consumers.

The department can assist consumers by obtaining:
1. Cash Refunds
2. Cancellation Of Contracts Without Penalties
3. Exchanges Of Defective Merchandise

Until today, complaints had to be searched or filed in writing. Beginning today, complaints can be searched and filed electronically using the Middlesex County web page.

Using this new electronic filing system, the public can:
A. Add A New Complaint
B. File A Complaint
C. Search For Complaints Against A Vendor
D. Obtain Information Requesting A Complaint
E. Retrieve Case Details

The staff of the Department of Consumer Affairs can:
A. Process Pending Complaints
B. Add Updated Litigation, And
C. Update Vendor Information

The system will electronically store:
A. Sample Of Complaints
B. Staff Assignments
C. Vendor Information
D. Case Contacts
E. Litigation Information
F. Case Events
G. Case Notes
H. Case Documents

The benefits of this new system are that it is:
A. Accurate And Fast
B. Simple Data Entry
C. Simple to Use And Inexpensive
D. Convenient And Efficient

This new level of consumer affairs service utilizing the Middlesex County web site will be interactive soon.