Consumer Affairs office investigates complaints against businesses 

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Department of Consumer Affairs has recouped $337,733 on behalf of consumers last year, with $136,001 returned directly to consumers.  

Figures in the department’s year-end report shows that while the number of cases handled by the department dropped by one-third in 2011, from 937 in 2010 to 615 in 2011, staff was able to recoup nearly the same amount of money directly to local consumers.

Consumer Affairs Director Annmarie Howley attributed the drop to consumers being more savvy about the money they spend on goods and services.

“People are spending less money, but they are more conscious of where their money goes and making sure they get what they paid for,” Howley said.

The money breaks down this way: $136,001 was in cash refunds; $180,358 represents the value of services and items that the Department was able to recover for consumers who were unable to get them on their own, and $21,373 was in voided contracts.

“People are continuing to watch every dollar they spend, so it’s comforting to know there is a place to turn to for help,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the county’s Department of Consumer Affairs. “The staff works not only for Monmouth County residents, but for any resident who is having difficulty dealing with a business located in Monmouth County.”

Consumer Affairs helps consumers resolve all types of consumer-related issues. Information about rescission, fraud and other consumer affairs programs can be found on the county Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com or by calling 732-431-7900. The office is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.