The new Bedford Local Consumer Program

The New Bedford Local Consumer Program (LCP) operates out of the City’s Department of Community Services.  Funded by and working in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, the LCP provides free information and mediation to area consumers.  A consumer having problems with a business may request mediation services.  Staff Mediators act as an intermediary between the consumer and merchant, attempting to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Download BrochureEnglish — Portuguese — Spanish

Podcast/P.S.A.: Consumer Guide: BASIC RETAIL RiGHTS

Podcast Transcript

The Local Consumer Program cannot provide legal advice or representation.

How much does it cost?

The program is funded by the Office of the Attorney General and there are no fees or income guidelines for this program.

Who is eligible for mediation?

Residents of the following towns, filing against a business:

Acushnet Assonet Attleboro Berkley Dighton
Dartmouth Fall River Fairhaven Freetown Lakeville
Marion Mattapoisett Middleboro New Bedford North Attleboro
Norton Raynham Rehoboth Rochester Seekonk
Somerset Swansea Taunton Wareham Westport

We cannot mediate if a consumer has already initiated legal proceedings or if the complaint is against a government agency, charity or private individual.

Contact 508-961-3020 /508-979-1693 or consumer@newbedford-ma.gov to request a complaint form or download one from the following link: English — Portuguese — Spanish

Complaints will be reviewed once all paperwork is received. If it does not fall within the LCP jurisdiction, it will be referred to the appropriate agency. If it does fall within the purview of the LCP, staff will mediate the complaint through an informal process via phone or mail.

Please be aware that mediation is voluntary; a business has the option to refuse to participate in the process. If LCP staff are unable to resolve a complaint, consumers are advised on other options, including how to file in Small Claims Court or how to contact the local Bar Association to find a private attorney.

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The New Bedford Face to Face Mediation Program

The New Bedford Face to Face Mediation Program operates out of the City’s Department of Community Services. Funded by and working in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, the face to face mediation program provides free mediation services based on referrals from PIAC and the New Bedford Local Consumer Program.

What is FTF Mediation?

Face to Face Mediation is a non adversarial process in which parties to a dispute are supported by a neutral third party (the mediator) in identifying the disputed issues, developing options, and seeking their own fair settlement. As a neutral party the mediator has no advisory or decision-making authority.

Which types of disputes are mediated by the Face to Face Mediation Program?

COMMUNITY

  • Neighbors
  • Public Interest Issues

CONSUMER

  • Owner / Contractor
  • Seller / Buyer
  • Landlord / Tenant

NBFTFMP has been approved by the Trial Court of MA to provide mediation services to the Fall River, Wareham District Court and Attleboro District Courts.

NBFTFMP offers presentations customized to specific customer needs.

For more information: Contact New Bedford Face to Face Mediation Program at 508-979-1464 or 508-979-1693 or by e-mail at facetoface@newbedford-ma.gov