Dear Editor:

Last month, Dunkin’ Donuts was named in a lawsuit for allegedly overcharging customers in New Jersey and New York more than $14 million.

According to the suit, certain locations charged fees identified as sales tax for items such as bottled water and packaged coffee. These items are not taxable.

Sign Up for E-News

The coffee giant operates over 800 locations in New Jersey, dozens of which are located in Union County. This unfortunate incident highlights the importance of National Consumer Protection Week and the vital work of the Union County Office of Consumer Affairs in  combating merchants engaging in unlawful, unfair and deceptive business practices.

The Union County Office of Consumer Affairs is empowered to take action pursuant to the New Jersey State and Federal laws against businesses located in Union County, in accordance with the state’s Consumer Fraud Act, and other consumer protection statues and regulations.

The office’s goal is to help protect consumers’ rights, and they can also intervene in the instance in which the rights of many consumers are at stake. If you believe that a business located in Union County has violated the your rights and the laws of the Consumer Fraud Act, filing a complaint with the office will start the process for helping you to get to the facts of your concern and attempt to bring resolution to your complaint.

Many residents may not be aware of this important service, but should be. Scam artists and business entities defraud consumers every day, and it is your responsibility to be aware of your rights and resources available to assist you.

Certified investigators follow up by answering your questions, checking to see if they have complaints on file against a retailer you’re doing business with, and providing information regarding your rights as a consumer doing business with retailers in the County of Union.

Complaints can be filed online at http://ucnj.org/public-safety/office-of-consumer-affairs/ . The complaint form will guide you through what information is needed.  The Union County Office of Consumer Affairs is located is located at 300 North Avenue East at the Froehlich Building in Westfield, and the phone number is: 908-654-9840, Fax: 908-654-3082.

Of course, as we become more reliant on credit cards and electronic payments, it’s important to remember that the best way to make sure you are not overcharged is to check your receipt, no matter how small the purchase.

Even when picking up a cup of Joe.

Sincerely,

Christopher Hudak

Union County Freeholder

Exeter Road, Linden, NJ 07036