Consumer Services

Consumer Protection and Face-to-Face Mediation services.

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Community Action, Inc. (CAI) Consumer Services works in partnership with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office to provide Consumer Protection and Face-to-Face-mediation services.

  • Information on consumer transactions including: landlord-tenant relations; new, used and leased vehicle law; home improvement contractor law; shopper's rights and debt collection
  • North Essex Mediators (NEM) provides Face-to-Face Mediation: Family, Business to business, private-party, consumer and merchant disputes  

CAI Consumer Services is located at 3 Washington Square, 4th Floor in Haverhill, MA. 978-373-1971.  

CAI Consumer Protection works to provide information on consumer rights and to mediate disputes between consumers and merchants. Servicing the residents of northern Essex County, it is one of 19 local consumer programs in the Commonwealth. Information is provided on a wide range of consumer transactions including:

  • Landlord-tenant relations
  • New, used and leased vehicle law
  • Home improvement contractor law
  • Shopper's rights
  • Debt collection

Disputes between consumers and businesses may be mediated by the Consumer Protection Program. In these disputes, the mediator acts as an intermediary between the consumer and the merchant, working individually with each party. The mediator is able to provide information on consumer rights and responsibilities. The program cannot assist with other types of conflicts, such as private-party sales, disputes between businesses, and complaints about insurance companies or banks, with the exception of mortgage and credit card disputes. The program also cannot assist a consumer who is being represented by a private attorney or who has a dispute with a government agency.

Each year the program receives over 2000 telephone inquiries and processes over 500 formal complaints. Mediation through the Consumer Protection Program is successful for approximately 80% of the complaints.

File a Complaint

The CAI North Essex Mediators (NEM) program has provided Face-to-Face Mediation services for the residents of northern Essex County since 1984. Many different types of conflicts may be mediated by NEM, including:

  • Business to business
  • Private-party
  • Consumer and merchant disputes

Face-to-Face Mediation is a dispute resolution method by which the involved parties meet together with a mediator to discuss a conflict. The mediator is an individual trained to help parties resolve their disputes in an efficient manner. Acting as a neutral facilitator between the parties, the Face-to-Face mediator does not give advice to any side. All information provided to a mediator is confidential under Massachusetts Law.

In Face-to-Face Mediation, the parties craft their own solution to the conflict. Approximately 80% of the cases utilizing Face-to-Face Mediation meet with success. Individuals who have participated in constructing their own resolution to a conflict honor their agreements over 98% of the time.

NEM receives case referrals from the Consumer Protection Program of Community Action, Inc.; Newburyport, Haverhill, Lawrence and Ipswich District Courts; numerous area agencies; and private individuals.

NEM has approximately 50 volunteer mediators. Individuals wishing to offer their services to the program must complete a 32-hour training program which is offered periodically throughout the year.

Eligibility, service area and income guidelines

There are no income requirements. CAI Consumer Services serves the cities and towns of northern Essex County in Massachusetts.

Request assistance from CAI Consumer Services

To apply for or request assistance from CAI Consumer Services please contact:

CAI Consumer Services, Main Number
Community Action, Inc. 
3 Washington Square, 4th Floor 
Haverhill, MA 01830  

978-373-1971 

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