The Consumer Unit has been in operation since 1969, and is one of the oldest consumer protection units in the state. The unit is staffed by an experienced team of attorneys and investigators who investigate and prosecute cases involving consumer harm. The attorneys in the Consumer Unit rely primarily on civil prosecution to enforce state laws that protect consumers. The unit also handles complaints that involve consumers who have been treated unfairly in a commercial transaction at the hands of an individual or business.
The Consumer Unit has a staff of investigators who field complaints from consumers and attempt to mediate the problems the consumers have experienced at the hands of the business or individual. The process is started when the consumer returns a written consumer fraud complaint form to the office and an investigator is assigned to handle the problem. The business is contacted and an attempt is made to resolve the differences between the parties. In some cases, if the business has committed a violation of law, the investigative staff may refer the consumer's complaint to the attorneys in the unit for review and potential civil prosecution.
The staff of the Consumer Unit also investigates and prosecutes cases involving widespread consumer harm. Examples of such cases include: sweepstakes or telemarketing schemes aimed at the elderly and other scams which target elderly citizens; reference pricing cases involving phony sales; phony going-out-business sales; and many other types of cases involving unfair business practices.
Many complaints received by the Consumer Unit staff involve problems that are more appropriately handled by a state (California Department of Consumer Affairs Complaint Form) or federal agency that has specific jurisdiction relating to the particular problem experienced by the consumer. In these cases, the investigative staff of the Unit will refer consumer complaints to the appropriate state, local or federal agency.
If you have a consumer complaint, or believe you may have been the victim of an unlawful scam, you can contact the Consumer and Environmental Protection Division at (916) 874-6174 or click here to fill out an online consumer fraud complaint form.
906 G Street, Suite 700
Sacramento, CA 95820