For Immediate Release: August 31, 2011
Weigh-In on Consumer Protection at the Minnesota State Fair
Minnesota Department of Commerce State Fair booth highlight's agency's role in consumer protection
ST. PAUL, MN - Five hundred tons, or over 1 million pounds, of Minnesota consumers have weighed-in at the Minnesota Department of Commerce's State Fair booth since last Thursday. More than 7,000 fairgoers - precisely weighed by the department's Weights and Measures equipment - have had the opportunity to learn a little more about what the state's Commerce Department does to protect Minnesota consumers every day.
"Not everything in life comes on a stick," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. "In today's marketplace, financial products are sometimes complex and difficult to understand. That is why the Minnesota Department of Commerce is stepping-up its consumer protection efforts, putting more emphasis on consumer education and outreach. Minnesota's best line of defense against fraud, scams, and financial abuse are well-informed consumers."
This year the department's State Fair booth is highlighting the many ways its staff helps protect Minnesota consumers, while supporting a vibrant and competitive economy. From learning about Minnesota's Insurance Fraud Division which investigates high-dollar schemes run by organized white collar criminals, to reading about the department's Consumer Response Team which helps Minnesotans settle their insurance claims, fairgoers who visit the booth can get a better sense of how their interests are protected in today's marketplace.
"Our goal this year at the Fair is to give consumers a sense of the many important services we provide," said Commissioner Rothman. "From helping keep gas and electric rates down to investigating scam artists who prey on vulnerable consumers, dedicated professionals at the Minnesota Department of Commerce are working every day to protect the public interest."
The display's interactive nature attracts thousands of fairgoers to the Commerce Department's booth every day. In addition to getting weighed precisely (to the tenth of a pound), Minnesotans can look up unclaimed property being held by the state. Each fairgoer has a 1 in 20 chance of finding $100 or more on the state's unclaimed property database.
The department's Telecommunications Access Minnesota (TAM) staff and qualified sign language interpreters are also distributing information and applications for adaptive technologies that help Minnesotans who are deaf or hard of hearing communicate over the telephone.
"The State Fair is a tremendous opportunity to interact directly with Minnesotans," Rothman said. "Each person who steps off our Weights and Measures scale walks away with detailed contact information for who to call at the Commerce Department to settle an insurance claim, file a complaint, or save money on their energy bill. And each person that finds a missing life insurance policy or unclaimed paycheck will never forget having that experience at the State Fair."
The Minnesota Department of Commerce booth is located in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street.