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Erie County Bureau of Weights & Measures becomes the Division of Consumer Protection, has new responsibilities

Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 17:55:54-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 was passed on Thursday by the Erie County Legislature, creating a Division of Consumer Protection within the Department of Public advocacy in Erie County.

This means the Bureau of Weights and Measures will be transferring from the Department of Public Works and into the Department of Public Advocacy.

It's purpose is to protect citizens from scams.

"There have always been people who want to defraud us, who want to scam us but today especially with the internet, it's on steroids," said Legislator Kevin Hardwick

People have fallen victim to Social Security scams, social media scams and had their credit card information stolen.

This new law not only means the Bureau of Weights and Measures gets a new name, it also means there will be a new consumer affairs director to help educate and protect the public.

The Division's responsibility is to be more responsive to local consumer complaints and fraud.

"Not a day goes by when I don't get a phone call or I get a computer message, someone trying to get access to my personal information so that they could take my money away from me," said Legislator Hardwick.

The legislation passed despite some opposition.

"I'm not convinced it's going to do as the title of the job says it's going to do," Legislator Lynne Dixon.

"I'll be voting for this but I will be watching the transition; how this really happens so it really protects the consumer," said Legislator John Mills.

"I'm not convinced that this is necessary in county government," said Legislator Edward Rath.

But Legislator Kevin Hardwick said both the position and division are needed within county government.

"I've had my information stolen. I've had to go through the process of calling the bank, getting [a] new credit, waiting for the new credit card to come more than once. I think everybody can identify with that," he said.

The new consumer division is expected to be up and running on January 1.