Poloncarz introduces Jessica Poleon, director of office of consumer protection
Office investigates, mediates & resolves consumer complaints, shares information with other enforcement agencies
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz was joined by Jessica Poleon, director of the Erie County Office of Consumer Protection, to discuss the new office and its functions. Created in 2019 to ensure Erie County's residents have access to education, information and resources regarding consumer protection, the office will investigate and resolve consumer complaints through voluntary mediation and educate Erie County consumers on their rights and responsibilities as consumers.
Karen King, Erie County commissioner of public advocacy, joined Poloncarz and Poleon for the announcement.
“The Office of Consumer Protection will be a resource and advocate for consumers, keeping our residents fully informed of their rights and also on the responsibilities of businesses. As a liaison to the business community, it will also serve to encourage business and industry within the county to maintain honest and fair business practices,” Poloncarz said. “This important office will work to protect consumer’s personal information, ferret out fraud and deceptive or inaccurate business practices, and act as a resource for the entire community. I welcome Director Poleon to the team and look forward to working with her to protect our residents.”
The new office, which includes the Bureau of Weights and Measures, will also work with local, state and federal agencies to ensure consumer protections. In addition to the office’s investigative and educational roles it will check businesses for availability of items as advertised in various media, provide information and referral services to the public on consumer problems, and provide information to courts and testimony at county and state hearings, when necessary. Price gouging, identity theft, scanner accuracy, and scam identification are just some of the areas the office will investigate while simultaneously raising public awareness of these issues.
“Knowing one's rights and responsibilities will protect consumers in the marketplace, which covers a wide spectrum of products and services. Before making a purchase, be sure to do your research, citing reliable sources. We want to remove or reduce the risks consumers face daily with transactions,” Poleon said. “A knowledgeable consumer is less likely to be the victim of scams. The Office of Consumer Protection is here to offer assistance; contact us before spending your hard-earned money for a product or service you are not completely sure about.”
King added, “Today's consumer faces a myriad of choices. Whether it's buying a used car, hiring a home improvement contractor, or simply shopping in a supermarket, the prospect of not getting what we pay for is a constant concern. Ensuring that our hard-earned dollars are well spent requires we shop responsibly and know our rights as consumers. The proliferation of technology has regrettably created an environment where consumer fraud can prosper and prey on vulnerable populations. The core mission of the Department of Public Advocacy is to advocate for all of our residents of Erie County, especially when they are the target of unscrupulous actions.”
For more information on the Office of Consumer Protection, click here .