Both the Newton-Brookline Consumer Office and Metropolitan Mediation Services (which serves ) recently received grant funding provided by Attorney General Martha Coakley's office and Local Consumer Aid Fund grants.
According to a press release issued by Coakley's office, nearly $1.5 million in grants was recently awarded consumer aid and mediation programs across the state.
“These local programs are important community partners throughout the Commonwealth,” Coakley said in the press release. “They provide guidance, resources, and voluntary mediation to consumers who may be victims of fraud, deception or unfair business practices. We are very pleased to be able to expand our program to Berkshire County this year, reaching even more consumers across the state with direct mediation services.”
The local consumer programs, according to the AG's website, help handle consumer complaints. Those programs then help the AG's office find trends and patterns of deceptive or unfair business practices. Eighteen local consumer programs received funding through the LCAF grants.
In addition, 15 face-to-face mediation programs received funding through the LCAF grants. These programs bring "a more formal mediation process" for consumers looking to solve business disputes.
The mediation services often go through the court system and the Newton District Court is served by the Metropolitan Mediation Serves based in Brookline.
A full copy of the AG's press release is included below:
BOSTON — Almost $1.5 million has been awarded to local consumer and mediation programs through grants provided by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office. Funding was made available through the Local Consumer Aid Fund Grants (LCAF) for new or existing grantees throughout the Commonwealth.
Effective July 1, the Attorney General’s Office will fund 18 Local Consumer Programs (LCP) and 15 Face-to-Face (FTF) Mediation Programs with a total of $1,493,000 for fiscal year 2013. This year the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority (BCRHA) was awarded funding for a new FTF Mediation Program in Berkshire County.
“These local programs are important community partners throughout the Commonwealth,” AG Coakley said. “They provide guidance, resources, and voluntary mediation to consumers who may be victims of fraud, deception or unfair business practices. We are very pleased to be able to expand our program to Berkshire County this year, reaching even more consumers across the state with direct mediation services.”
As part of its services to consumers, the Attorney General's Office uses settlement funds to provide grants to a statewide network of LCP and FTF programs. These programs handle many consumer complaints in their own regions of the state where their local knowledge and community involvement enable them to provide effective assistance and services to help consumers resolve disputes. There are currently 33 LCP and FTF programs throughout the Commonwealth.
In Fiscal Year 2012, LCP and FTF programs mediated more than 10,000 cases, returning more than $6 million dollars to consumers. For consumer tips and information please refer to the consumer information section of the Attorney General’s website.