May Meeting: New Time/Location

Our next MCC meeting is scheduled for:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
** 1:00 p.m. **  NOTE TIME CHANGE
10th Floor Conference Room, 100 Cambridge Street

The May meeting will focus on the climate and landscape of Home Improvement Contracting through the eyes of the Home Improvement Program. Guest Speakers will include: Antron Watson of AARP’s Home Fit Program; Bob Ernst, Former President of Greater Boston Remodeler and Builder’s Association, President of FBN Construction, and Educator of Consumer and Contractor Best Practices and Transparency in Home Improvement Contracting; Jaqui Chandler, Guaranty Fund Program Coordinator; and Shannon Desmond, Director of Consumer Education at Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

A boxed lunch will be served. If you would like a lunch, you must RSVP by noon on Monday, May 15th to Jeanne Foy at (781)335 0280 or foy_cac@juno.com

MCC Meeting March 15

Attorney Peter Downing (Consumer Protection Division) and Attorney Tim Depin (Community Engagement Division) of the Attorney General’s Office will  present information about the AGO’s Debt Collection clinics. The meeting will take place in the 12th floor Conference Room at 12:30 p.m. There will be a selection of individually boxed lunches. If you would like a lunch, you must RSVP by 4pm on Monday, March 13th to Jeanne Foy at (781)335‑0280 or foy_cac@juno.com

 

Minutes for January 11, 2017

Massachusetts Consumers’ Coalition

Meeting Minutes for January 11, 2017

16 people attended the January meeting of the Massachusetts Consumers’ Coalition. Chair Cindy Matloff called the meeting to order at 12:36 with an introduction of members.

GUEST SPEAKER – STEVE WEISMAN

Steve Weisman, a leading expert on scams and identity theft spoke about current scams and how to recognize/avoid them. His presentation focused on medical identity theft, skimmers, spearfishing, ransomware, and the use of strong passwords. Members are encouraged to visit: scamicide.com, Mr. Weisman’s website dedicated to providing the public with the latest information on scams.

SECRETARY’S REPORT

  • November meeting minutes were approved
  • Members were reminded to complete and return their 2017 membership form.
  • A lunch survey was distributed to ascertain lunch option preferences.

TREASURER’S REPORT

The Coalition checking account balance is $2,507.83

OLD BUSINESS

Website: The Coalition web site is up and running. Members should check the website for meeting dates and announcements.

NEW BUSINESS

Upcoming MCC Programs: The Guest Speaker program was discussed and scheduled. It was confirmed that Peter Downing, AAG will speak about the Attorney General’s Debt Collection clinic program at the March meeting. Charles Carroll, Director of the Division of Standards will speak about the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations relating to weights and measures in May, and MASSPIRG will be asked to speak in the fall.

Consumer Agency Updates: 

Cambridge Consumers’ Council. Laura Nichols announced that Cambridge Consumers’ Council will be hosting a shred day on March 11th for National Consumer Protection Week.

Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Shannon Desmond announced that Office of Consumer Affairs has updated 11 of their consumer guides: ID Theft; Shopping Rights; Managing Credit and Debt; 30-Day Demand Letter; Home Improvement Contracting; Small Claims Court; Tenants Rights and Responsibilities; Landlord Rights and Responsibilities; Lemon Law; Lemon Aid Law; and Used Vehicle Warranty Law. Please contact Shannon or Robin if you need to replenish your supply.

Consumer World. Edgar Dworsky alerted members to a new consumer survey on Auto Play Ads that Consumer World planned to release on January 17th. The general consensus – consumers hate the ads. To see the survey results go to: http://www.consumerworld.org/pages/autoplay-ads.htm

Meeting adjourned at 1:45 pm

Next Meeting is Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Happy 2017! MCC Meeting January 11th

Our next MCC meeting is scheduled for:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 12:30 p.m.
Saltonstall Building
100 Cambridge Street
11th floor Conference Room

** bring photo id **

We are pleased to welcome as our guest speaker, Attorney Steven Weisman, a professor at Bentley University and an expert on scams and identity theft. Mr. Weisman has written several books on identity theft, credit and tax scams and writes a column for USA Today. He is also the founder of Scamicide.com, a website dedicated to informing the public on the latest scam developments and timely tips on avoiding identity theft.

A boxed lunch will be served. There will be a selection of individually boxed lunches. If you would like a lunch, you must RSVP by noon on Monday, January 9th to Jeanne Foy at (781)335‑0280 or foy_cac@juno.com.

Minutes of November Meeting

13 people attended the November meeting of the Massachusetts Consumers’ Coalition.

Chair Cindy Matloff called the meeting to order at 12:35 with an introduction of members.

SECRETARY’S REPORT
· 2017 Membership forms were distributed and members were encouraged to return their form on or before the January meeting. In 2016 we had 10 paid organizations consisting of 18 members and 1 friend. We are hoping to increase our membership in 2017. A membership form is attached.

TREASURER’S REPORT
The Coalition checking account balance is $2,138.63

OLD BUSINESS
Website Update: The Coalition web site is up and running. It is on a WordPress platform and currently managed by Edgar Dworsky. Thank Edgar! The website is structured to allow the input information and to make it more interactive for members and visitors.

NEW BUSINESS
Election of Officers: Elections for the Coalition were held and it was voted to re-elect the following officer for another term: Cindy Matloff, Chair; Laura Nichols, Treasurer; and Jeanne Foy, Secretary. Shannon Desmond was elected to serve as Vice Chair. Welcome Shannon!

Meeting Dates: We are pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has generously offered the Coalition use of the conference room after their monthly CARD meetings. A discussion was held on whether or not the Coalition should increase the number of meetings held in 2017. Motion by Jeanne Foy to schedule four (4) meetings for 2017 on the following dates:
January 11
March 15
May 17
Fall date TBD
Motion carried.

Lunch: The Coalition was advised that the Massachusetts Consumer’s Council could no longer fund or subsidize our meeting lunches. A discussion was held on if we should continue to offer lunch at our meetings. There was consensus among the group that the lunch meetings make the transition from the morning AG meeting to the MCC meeting easier, attract more people, and keep the meetings to a manageable time frame. There was concern about the financial burden of paying for the lunches. It was suggested that members could RSVP for lunch with the understanding that they would pay $5-$6 to subsidize the cost. Motion by Jeanne Foy to have the Coalition pay for the next three (3) lunch meetings (through May 17th) at which point we would revisit the issue. Motion carried.

Future Meeting Ideas: The group discussed speakers that we would like have present at upcoming meetings. Organizations we plan to contact include: MASSPRIG; Debt Collection Clinics; Access to Justice Project; Stephen Weisman, an attorney who is a well know identity theft expert; John Paul/AAA, Federal Reserve Community Development Program, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Members with additional suggestions or contacts should email Cindy at maconsumerscoalition@gmail.com.

Consumer Agency Updates:
Mass Department of Telecommunications and Cable. Corey Pilz updated us on some of DTC initiatives. This fall in conjunction with National Preparedness Month DTC presented at the Mass Association of Councils on Aging 2016 Conference and various senior centers on telecommunications technology changes and keeping seniors connected in the digital age. DTC also distributed handouts on Lifeline Program changes starting December 2, 2016.

Meeting adjourned at 1:44 pm
Next Meeting is Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Guest Speaker: Steven Weisman