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Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection Launches “Language Friendly Hours” to Enhance Outreach Efforts

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 16, 2017

Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) is initiating a new outreach program to make it easier for non-English speaking individuals to contact OCP if they have a consumer protection question or problem or if they have questions regarding the licensing and registration programs administered by the OCP.

 

OCP has recruited volunteers who are fluent in Korean, Chinese and French to be in the OCP each week. These volunteers will facilitate communication with OCP Investigators and staff to determine if OCP can be of assistance or to make the appropriate referral.

 

On March 16, 2017, OCP and the League of Korean Americans of Maryland (LOKA-MD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding this joint effort, arranging for Korean speaking volunteers to be available on Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition, OCP will be placing informational advertisements in local Korean newspapers so that all communities in Montgomery County will be better informed about the services offered by Montgomery County’s consumer protection office.

 

Moreover, as currently scheduled, a volunteer fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese will be available in the OCP office on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. And, a volunteer fluent in French will be available in the OCP office on Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to noon. OCP currently has staff who are bilingual in Spanish, who are available on a full-time basis. Further, OCP participates with all other county agencies in Montgomery County’s Limited English Proficiency (LEP) program which provides access to a translator anytime a caller or visitor reaches out to a staffer in OCP, by phone or in person. Finally, OCP’s website can be translated into many different language by using Google® Translate mechanism found at the bottom of every webpage.

 

OCP has previously engaged in a variety of outreach campaigns to ensure that underserved residents and communities in Montgomery County are aware of the unique services and assistance provided by the office. These efforts have included launching an anonymous consumer fraud hotline, advertisements on Ride-On buses, town hall meetings and presentations, video alerts, e-subscribe messages, and social media.

 

“We are fortunate to have a vibrant and active consumer protection office in Montgomery County,” said OCP Director Eric Friedman. “With the support of our elected officials, and the dedicated efforts of talented volunteers, our office is uniquely able to ‘Ensure Integrity in the Marketplace’ for all of our residents and businesses.”

 

For more information, call 240-777-3636 or visit OCP’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer.

 

Montgomery County’s award-winning consumer protection office was established 46 years ago as a law enforcement agency to help eliminate deceptive trade practices in the marketplace. OCP investigates and resolves consumer disputes, provides consumer education, licenses certain businesses, and administers programs affecting the quality of life in Montgomery County. OCP investigates hundreds of complaints each year involving automotive sales and repairs, new home purchases, home improvements, credit issues, retail sales, internet services and most other consumer transactions.

 

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Release ID: 17-439
Media Contact: Lorraine Driscoll 240-7777-650