(AUGUSTA, Maine) Mediators in the Office of the Maine Attorney General assist consumers with a variety of issues, ranging from landlord/tenant disputes to phone bill “cramming”. The most frequent complaints in the last year, however, centered on auto sales and “Jamaican lottery” scams.
Maine has numerous laws in place that can protect a consumer, but the best way for consumers to avoid being defrauded is to know their rights. The Maine Attorney General’s Consumer Law Guide provides a basis for understanding Maine’s consumer protection laws. Attorney General Janet T. Mills urges Maine consumers to educate themselves before signing contracts and to be wary of high pressure phone solicitations.
“An informed consumer is a well-armed citizen,” said Attorney General Janet T. Mills. “Whether under our auto sales ‘Lemon Law’ or the Unfair Trade Practices Act, consumers have options when they encounter unfair business practices. Maine consumers should understand their rights and should always be skeptical before agreeing to part with their hard-earned money.”
The following are the top ten most frequent complaints received by the Maine Office of Attorney General, Consumer Mediation and Information Service between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013:
- Auto Sales (both new and used)
- Contests/Sweepstakes/Prize Promotions and similar types of Scams
- Landlord-Tenant/Mobile Homes
- Nigerian/Grandparent/”Sweetheart” and similar types of Scams
- Home Repair/Construction Complaints
- Furniture/Appliances/Home Furnishings
- Satellite TV Sales and Service
- Health Services (including over the counter “health” products)
- Telecommunications/Slamming/Cramming (Charges added to bill without authorization)
The Consumer Mediation and Information Service assists Maine consumers and businesses by answering questions, providing referrals and mediating disputes. “Our staff and our volunteer mediators help thousands of consumers each year by answering their questions on a variety of topics including used vehicles, Maine’s lemon law, landlord-tenant issues, telephone scammers, implied and express warranties, mobile phone disputes and much more. I hope more consumers will realize the resources that are available to them and reach out to our office for assistance,” said Attorney General Mills. Consumers may call the specifically dedicated line 1-800-436-2131 or 626-8849 Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – noon and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. In addition to the toll free phone number, consumers can contact the Consumer Protection Division by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by regular mail by writing to: Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division, 6 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333. The Consumer Protection Division also has a lot of consumer information on the website, including the Consumer Law Guide – www.maine.gov/ag.
August 28, 2013
Office of the Maine Attorney General