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Protecting Consumers from Fraud in Pennsylvania

Mary Bach has been fighting scammers for 20 years

Mary Bach speaking with reporters

Josué Rivas

En español | Mary Bach is not to be trifled with. The 74-year-old consumer advocate has sued dozens of retailers for unlawfully overcharging customers. “I won more than 30 of those lawsuits."

The loss for scammers has been a win for AARP Pennsylvania.

For the past 20 years, Bach has been the organization's lead volunteer on consumer protection and fraud. She gives more than 100 speeches each year and estimates she's helped thousands of Pennsylvanians avoid getting ripped off.

Bach said she became a savvy shopper in 1971 when she became pregnant with her first child and was forced to quit her teaching job. “We went to one income."

A new career was born. Her coupon-clipping ways turned into a series of enrichment classes, which led to becoming a guest consumer expert on Pittsburgh TV in the 1980s.

The early days of grocery scanners had accuracy problems, said Bach, who responded by lobbying for price guarantee policies. When those retailers still overcharged, Bach sued.

"I get a great sense of personal satisfaction from preventing someone from becoming a victim. I simply don't want anyone to be cheated out of their hard-earned money."

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