HOWELL, NJ – St. John Vianney High School came up winners of the 2016 Monmouth County Consumer Bowl, a game-show-style competition for teams of high school students.
Students from seven high schools answered consumer-related questions in a multiple choice and open-ended format to test their knowledge of consumer issues, such as Internet fraud and buying and leasing automobiles. The contest was held Feb. 17 at the Monmouth County Fire Academy.
The five-member team from St. John Vianney successfully earned its 2016 Monmouth County Consumer Bowl title against students fromColts Neck, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Raritan High School.
“It’s important that teens understand consumer and business concepts, like credit and identity theft, banking and fraud, marketing and advertising,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the County’s Division of Consumer Affairs. “Consumer Bowl participants are a step ahead of their peers with their knowledge of consumer issues and are well-prepared to tackle issues in the marketplace.”
In the final round, St. John Vianney faced-off with Howell High School. Though the scores were close, St. John Vianney was victorious and won the 2016 County Consumer Bowl for the first time for their school.
Team members are Megan Furch, Matt Langdon, Lauren Sabol, Austin Schlessinger and Andrew Stevens. Their advisor is Michele Langdon.
The St. John Vianney team will move on to the regional competition in April with home field advantage because the competition will be held at the Monmouth County Fire Academy. The winner of the regional competition will go on to compete in the 2016 New Jersey State Consumer Bowl scheduled for May in Trenton.
The New Jersey High School Consumer Bowl is a program of the state Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs. It was established in 1997 to help students learn about consumer issues that will benefit them throughout their lives.
“The best part about this program is that all of our participating young adults gained some knowledge about what it takes to help them be smarter consumers and possibly future consumer advocates,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso. “It is also a great way to promote the County’s Consumer Affairs office, which enforces consumer laws and helps people who suspect they might be victims of unscrupulous business practices.”
Since the County’s Division of Consumer Affairs was established in 1977, the department has handled more than 50,000 complaints and resolved disputes, resulting in savings to consumers of more than $17 million.
In 2015, the Division recovered $1,827,259 for consumers. Mediation includes letters, telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and informal conferences with businesses. If a business is uncooperative and does not appear as scheduled, the Division has the authority to issue a subpoena, a function coordinated with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.
Consumer Affairs is a law enforcement agency, created and funded by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders. It protects against consumer fraud and dishonest and dishonest business practices by enforcing the state Consumer Fraud Act and many other regulations.
Additional information about fraud and other consumer affairs programs can be found on the County website atwww.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.