Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that the Attorney General's toll free consumer hotline is now staffed for eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The line previously was staffed from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
"The Department implemented a state-wide, toll free number last July, but did not have the staff or volunteers required to respond to calls for eight hours per day," Myers said. "With help from the American Association of Retired Persons and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, we now have recruited and trained enough volunteers to answer hotline calls for a full day." Volunteers receive 20 hours of training before starting hotline work and regularly attend consumer education training.
The volunteer program started in 1996 with three senior volunteers from Polk and Marion Counties assisting with answering the consumer hotline during morning hours. By summer of 1997, the program had added enough volunteers to provide all hotline coverage for the half-day schedule. With this latest expansion, the program now has 35 volunteers answering the hotline, which received more than 60,000 calls last year.
"With volunteers answering the hotline, the Department's enforcement officers are able to concentrate on addressing the problems of the more than 10,000 consumers who file written consumer complaints each year," Myers said.
In addition to volunteers answering the hotline, the consumer protection program features a 24-hour automated information system that provides consumers with recorded information on several different subjects. The automated system also helps the Department process requests for assistance with consumer complaints as well as requests for written materials on different topics.
The statewide, toll-free number is 1-877-877-9392. In the Salem area, consumers should call 378-4320 and in the Portland area consumers may call 229-5576. Consumers should call the hotline to check the complaint history of a company doing business in Oregon, to request a complaint form, or to request informational booklets on various topics.
Consumers also may write Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection at 1162 Court Street, N.E., Salem, OR 97310 or obtain information on line at www.doj.state.or.us.
To become a volunteer or for more information about the program, contact JoAnn MacDonald at (503) 373-0371.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org