Consumer Affairs investigates and resolves complaints against businesses

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Division of Consumer Affairs recouped $1,827,259 on behalf of consumers in 2015.

Figures in the Division’s year-end report show that while the number of cases handled by the Division dropped by a little over 15 percent in 2015, from 564 in 2014 to 478 in 2015, 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 savvier about the money they spend on goods and services.

“People are being more conscious of where their money goes and making sure they get the item or service that they paid for and expected,” Howley said.

The money breaks down this way: $163,667 was in cash refunds; $1,611,107 represents the value of services and items that the Division was able to recover for consumers who were unable to get them on their own; $52,134 was in voided contracts, and $350 was in exchanges, which means the seller substituted an item of equal value.

“In tight financial times people are watching every dollar they spend and it’s comforting to know there is a place to turn to for help,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry. “The Consumer Affairs 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 works actively with businesses in Monmouth County to ensure the consumers are protected. For the second year, Consumer Affairs staff conducted a Shore Business Outreach in 2015, meeting with businesses on the Shore, many which are seasonal, informing them of the business practices required by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

Consumer Affairs will help consumers resolve all types of consumer-related issues. Information about rescission, fraud and other consumer affairs programs can be found on the County website at www.visitmonmouth.com, by calling 732-431-7900 or email consumeraffairs@co.monmouth.nj.us. The office is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.