Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have a consumer complaint?

You should contact CAC by telephone for immediate advice and information. A complaint form will be sent to you. You can print out a Consumer Complaint Form and send it to our office by fax, mail, e-mail, or you can complete the form online. Be sure to include copies of the relevant documents needed to evaluate your complaint and begin the mediation process.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is the process by which a neutral third party (mediator) attempts to bring about a settlement between two parties. The mediator does not enforce an agreement, but merely acts as an intermediary to help assist in resolving the dispute.

How does CAC phone mediation work? What are the steps?

CAC staff review all incoming consumer complaint forms for completeness and appropriateness for mediation. If suitable a mediator is assigned. The mediator will contact the consumer to discuss and review the complaint specifics. A copy of the complaint and letter is then sent to the business requesting a written response. The mediator will contact both consumer and business via phone to see if an agreeable settlement may be reached. Occasionally a mediator may request additional written documentation from the consumer and business for clarification or facilitation of the process. If an agreement cannot be reached, the consumer is informed of other options.

How long does it take?

Generally, the process can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the parties involved.

How much does this cost?

CAC provides mediation services at no cost. We are funded by and work in cooperation with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

I have an emergency. Can someone help me right now?

CAC is not able to handle emergency situations. If you have an emergency, you may contact an attorney, the police, or the town hall to help assist you.

Does CAC work with other agencies in its efforts on behalf of consumers?

CAC works closely with other consumer organizations throughout Massachusetts and the United States. CAC works with credit, housing, councils on aging, and law enforcement agencies. CAC is a member of the Massachusetts Consumers’ Coalition, a network of local, state, and federal agencies focused on consumer protection services and issues. CAC is an active member of the Consumer Federation of America. This organization is involved in both federal legislative efforts and partnerships with other consumer agencies.

What options are there if the business will not cooperate or if the consumer does not agree with their settlement offer?

If CAC mediation efforts are not successful your mediator will advise you of other options which you may choose to pursue. These options may include the filing of your case in the court system.