The D.C. Office of Consumer Protection announced last week the inauguration of a telephone call-in service designed to provide District residents with up-to-date consumer information.

Under the new system, opened officially May 5, a consumer can call the "Consumer's Line" and ask to hear any of the 100 taped messages classified in 24 categories, ranging from how to make funeral arrangements to how to handle credit matters, according to spokesperson Jackie Brown-moore.

The tapes, lasting from 45 seconds to 3 minutes, explain current laws, mention who can be contacted to resolve a dispute and describe what should be considered when making a purchase or contracting for a service.

The purpose of the new hotline, said Bronw-Moore, is to assist consumers in solving their own problems.

"In times of high inflation and tight money," Brown-Moore stressed, "it is much wiser -- and a lot less expensive -- to know how to stop than to have to contact a lawyer after the purchase has already been made because you feel you have been treated unfairly."

Consumers can call 347-4100 to hear the tapes Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (TABLE) CATEGORY(COLUMN)TAPE NUMBER Advertising(COLUMN)01-99 Automobiles(COLUMN)100-199 Banking(COLUMN)200-299 Condominiums(COLUMN)300-325 Consumer Protection(COLUMN) Information(COLUMN)326-399 Contracts(COLUMN)400-425 Credit/Money Matters(COLUMN)426-499 Environmental Energy Concerns(COLUMN)500-550 Food/Groceries(COLUMN)551-599 Funeral Arrangements(COLUMN)600-650 Health/Beauty Services(COLUMN)626-650 Home Improvements(COLUMN)651-699 Home Sales(COLUMN)700-725 Insurance(COLUMN)726-750 Landlord/Tenant(COLUMN)751-799 Legal(COLUMN)800-850 Mail(COLUMN)851-875 Merchandise(COLUMN)876-899 Miscellaneous(COLUMN)900-1000 Moving(COLUMN)1000-1050 Mortgages(COLUMN)1051-1100 Telephone Services(COLUMN)1101-1150 Television and Radio(COLUMN)1151-1200 Warranties(COLUMN)1201-1300(END TABLE)

A catalogue listing all the tape numbers can be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed enveloped to: Consumer's Line, D.C. Office of Consumer Protection, 1424 K Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20005