Consumer Resources

Consumer publications can be helpful resources of information for consumers. In some cases it is good to have a printed copy on-hand and readily available for frequent referral. Pamphlets or brochures on-line can be sufficient for many consumers, or a good additional resource when needed.

This resource page presented by the Consumers' Council is intended to point you toward the various governmental agencies that produce or supply educational and informational publications on a wide range of topics of interest to consumers. You can view many of the publications on-line or you can order copies to be mailed to you.

Our office has extra copies of many of these pamphlets or brochures as well. If you are talking to us about your consumer dispute or inquiry on the telephone or via e-mail, ask us for a copy of a publication relevant to the topic under discussion.

Here are our suggested Internet resources for consumer publications:

City of Cambridge Resources

Commission for Persons with Disabilities 

Responds to the concerns of Cambridge residents with disabilities. Provides information, referral, coordination, and technical assistance to public and private entities interested in providing access to persons with disabilities. Promotes equal status legislation and an accessible community, provides disability awareness training, and recommends policy improvements.  

The Department of Cambridge Community Development 

Through a variety of programs and activities, the Cambridge Community Development Department strives to enhance the physical environment; improve the quality of life for residents, businesses, students, and visitors; and support the diversity of our very special community. Their website provides information on affordable housing, first-time homeownership, small business assistance, creative zoning, and land use. Information about the Community Development Block Grant, which funds programs of benefit to people with low and moderate incomes, is available here.  

Council on Aging (COA) 

The mandate of the COA is to provide programs and services for Cambridge residents age 60 and over. The COA services fall into two major categories: Social Services and Senior Center activities. Services include but are not limited to Newines - the Council on Aging newsletter, Benefits Counseling, Social Services, Substance Abuse Services for Seniors, Housing Assistance Program, Medical Transportation, Shopping Shuttle, home safety programs, free YMCA passes, trash/recycling/snow exemption, discount programs and information and referral assistance.  

Inspectional Services Department (ISD)

The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) is responsible for the enforcement of all laws and related City Ordinances which pertain to the Massachusetts State Building Code and certain articles of the State Sanitary Code. Resources include frequently asked questions regarding zoning laws, state sanitary code, and building code. This department is also responsible for providing support and documentation relevant to housing inspections.  

License Commission

The License Commission, is charged with the responsibility of issuing licenses and enforcing rules, regulations, local ordinances, and state laws pertaining to the sale of alcoholic beverages to common victualers, innholders, lodging houses and dorms, garage and gasoline storage permits, shops and sales, hackney carriages and drivers, open air parking lots, entertainment, fortune tellers, raffles and bazaars, festivals, used car dealers, peddlers, auctioneers, jitneys and livery/limousine licenses in the City of Cambridge. Taxi cab licenses are also issued here.  

Weights and Measures

The Department of Weights and Measures is responsible for ensuring that equity and fairness prevails in the marketplace between the buyer and seller. The Department enforces all laws, ordinances and measuring devices used by local business establishments, such as taxi meters, gas station pumps, home heating oil truck meters, hospital, clinic, truck, factory, and pharmacy scales.

 Human Rights Commission 

The Cambridge Human Rights Commission is a city law enforcement agency that investigates complaints of discrimination that occur in Cambridge-- in housing, employment, education and public accommodations. To file a complaint, you must be a resident of Cambridge, the type of discrimination must be covered by the Cambridge Human Rights Ordinance or the Cambridge Fair Housing Ordinance, and the complaint must be filed within 180 days from the last act of discrimination.

State Resources

Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is a resource to residents who are facing challenges in the areas of consumer protection, fraud, civil rights violations, health care, and insurance issues. The website offers consumer various education publications regarding consumer issues including auto insurance, landlord and tenant rights, housing, scams and identity theft, and credit and financial literacy.

Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR)  

On the OCABR's website, you can compare auto insurance premiums and checking account services. Sign up to be on the Consumer Insider e-mail list, or check a professional’s license. Many consumer pamphlets are available to order or download.

Massachusetts Consumers Coalition

The Massachusetts Consumers Coalition (MCC) publishes CARSMART: A Consumer's Guide to Buying, Leasing & Repairing a Car in Massachusetts, available in English and Spanish. The website provides links to get a free copy of your credit report. Also available are ten informative links with relevant information for Massachusetts consumers.

Citizen's Guide to Massachusetts State Services

This guide is published by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and contains information about state services, agencies, and contact points. Search for agencies by subject heading, keyword(s), or index.

Federal Resources

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB

The CFPB was established by Congress and seeks to educate consumers, enforce federal consumer financial laws, and analyze consumer financial markets. Online services include a “consumer question and complaint assistant” and information on bank accounts, budgeting, credit cards, credit reports/scores, debt collection, home foreclosure/ownership, investments, and student education loans. Resources are available for seniors, families, and young adults.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Consult the FTC website for information regarding scams on the internet, advertising practices, Fair Credit Reporting, and consumer/business education.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau educates and informs consumers about telecommunications goods and services and engages their input to help guide the work of the Commission. CGB coordinates telecommunications policy efforts with industry and with other governmental agencies — federal, tribal, state and local — in serving the public interest.

Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC)

The CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Find consumer recalls and view all relevant statues and regulations relating to consumer protection here.