Bruce Mohl, the “Consumer Beat” columnist at the Boston Globe, is leaving after 12 years of writing about consumer complaints and issues. His column this past Monday recaps some of the most consistent topics he’s covered, and a quick glance confirms that some things never change—insurance rates, uneven consumer advocacy at the state level, funeral price gouging, privacy and identity theft are all things he touches on in his last column.
Where consumer activism has changed over the years is at the state level. The attorney general’s office and the state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation used to perform all their regulatory and licensing functions and still find time to speak out on bread-and-butter consumer issues such as misleading air fares, unfair bank fees, and deceptive advertising.
You don’t see that type of consumer advocacy at the state level anymore. State officials still fulfill their important regulatory roles, but they rarely use their positions as bully pulpits anymore. The little stuff, the nitty gritty of consumer advocacy, no longer seems to be a high priority at the state level.
Of course, Mohl is speaking directly about Massachusetts, but we think the claim could be applied to lots of states unfortunately.
So long, Bruce!