Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection

Created Montgomery County Code Section 11-3 .
Purpose The Committee advises the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) in carrying out its duties and functions under Chapter 11, and may hold public hearings on any topic related to consumer protection. Its role is to also increase the profile of the OCP.
Membership Nine members - preferably at least two from the Better Business Bureau, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce or a local chamber, or another county-wide or local association of merchants; one from the Community Action Board; one recommended by the Community Action Board; and five from the community at large.
Terms Three years - no compensation.
Meetings The Committee meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m.  See County meeting calendar or call 240-777-3661 for additional information. This meeting is open to the public.
Staff Sharon Margolis, Office of Consumer Protection
T: 240-777-3636

Chair: Ira Rheingold, First Full Term (2025) 
Community Action Board: Timothy Robinson, First Partial Term (2023)
Chamber of Commerce: Phillip Robinson, First Term (2024)
Savitri Taneja, First Term (2025)
Harriet Kamendi, First Partial Term (2023).
Ingmar Goldson, First Full Term (2025)

The Advisory Committee assists the OCP by with the design and implementation of educational and outreach initiatives to residents of Montgomery County, MD. The Advisory Committee also keeps the OCP apprised of relevant legislative activity with the Maryland General Assembly.

Examples of current and past initiatives include:

  • Monitoring relevant legislative activity at the State legislative level to ensure that all consumer bills are reviewed and vetted for possible comment by the OCP.
  • Designing community outreach via webinars, presentations to constituents, and coordination with other advisory committees and County agencies.  Two examples are Lunch & Learn programs on  home buying  and on  financial literacy .
  • Outreach to Montgomery County’s minority, immigrant, and senior communities regarding targeted scams, along with opportunities to partner in educational initiatives.
  • Educating county residents about the home buying process, from lender pre-approval through post-closing, including advice about selecting the right real estate agent.
  • Increasing the OCP’s visibility in Montgomery County through active advertising and social media campaigns.

In 2015, the Advisory Committee collaborated with representatives of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to highlight the issue of nontraditional costs of financial fraud. While the direct financial costs of fraud are well known, the Advisory Committee also increased awareness of such serious non-financial costs as stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as significant indirect costs such as bankruptcy. The Advisory committee shared this information with County residents through social media.
A joint investigation by the OCP and Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission revealed that in 2010-2011 two-thirds of gas appliance installations in Montgomery County had not, under the  Plumbing & Fuel Gas Codes ,  been properly inspected following installation or had been installed by unlicensed individuals. The Advisory Committee reviewed public comments on the matter and made seven independent recommendations that are outlined in a 2012  report.

You can read more about the Committee's work by reading its Annual Reports for CY20,   CY21, CY22

If you are interested in joining the Advisory Committee please see the  Boards, Committees and Commissions  page.