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Attorney General Reilly taps Bentley College Students to Operate South Shore Consumer Program for Eighth Consecutive Year

February 21, 2000

 

WALTHAM- Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly recently issued a grant to the Bentley College Consumer Action Line (BCAL) for the eighth consecutive year to operate one of the Attorney General Office's 20 local consumer offices. At ceremonies on February 4 at the State House, Reilly commended the Bentley program in which students mediate disputes between merchants and consumers. The Bentley office is the only field office of the attorney general's office maintained by undergraduate students, and is responsible for activity in the South Shore district.

Each semester, between 15 and 18 undergraduate student volunteers are responsible for bringing controversies between consumers and merchants to agreeable solutions. BCAL has processed nearly 1,600 cases during its seven years of service, resulting in refunds of more than $400,000 to aggrieved consumers in Massachusetts.

BCAL is part of the Bentley Service-Learning Center. In 1993, Professor Steve Lichtenstein, chair of the Law Department, conceived the idea of a student-run consumer aid community service project that had as its goal assisting members of the community with consumer complaints but without the resources to solve them on their own. He applied for and obtained the initial grant and has since succeeded in receiving seven additional grants to carry on the program.

"Our success rate is very good with about 75% of the disputed matters reaching a favorable outcome," said Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law Si Horvitz, BCAL program administrator. Students who participate in the program are from all fields of study. They are screened and trained before fielding consumer calls. "It's a real hands-on experience," says Matt Zenisky, student coordinator.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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