Consumer and Environmental Protection

The Consumer & Environmental Protection Unit of the District Attorney’s Office enforces laws against false advertising, unfair competition and other forms of consumer fraud. We file civil lawsuits on behalf of the People of the State of California to obtain injunctions to stop unlawful practices, restitution for victims and civil penalties to punish and deter wrongdoers. We work with a variety of state and local agencies to investigate and prosecute these cases.

In addition, we receive consumer complaints from the public. The District Attorney’s Office is not authorized by law to represent individual private citizens seeking return of their money or other personal remedies or to provide legal advice. We do, however, review each complaint to determine if it involves a violation of public laws enforceable by the District Attorney. Some complaints may be referred to a police or regulatory agency for further investigation. In other instances, we send a copy of the complaint to the business or other party that is the subject of the complaint and request a response. Once we have all of the information, we determine if the complaint is within the jurisdiction of the District Attorney’s Office, or if the consumer should consult with a private attorney, go to small claims court, or use County mediation services.

The District Attorney’s Office also enforces California’s environmental protection laws. These include laws regulating the handling, storage and disposal of hazardous waste; underground tanks used to store hazardous materials; and air and water pollution. We work with federal, state and local regulatory agencies to investigate these cases. In appropriate cases we criminally prosecute or file civil actions in the name of the People of the State of California for injunctions, civil penalties and cleanup orders.

How to File a Complaint

All consumer or environmental complaints must be submitted in writing to facilitate efficient handling. Copies of advertisements, contracts, receipts, checks, correspondence, photographs and any other relevant documents should be included with the complaint form. If your written complaint requires additional pages, please attach those to the complaint form. A complaint form can be obtained by calling (650) 363-4651. State and spell your name and address on the recording and a complaint form will be mailed to you. You can also print the consumer complaint form from this web site. Completed complaint forms should be mailed or delivered to our office. We cannot accept complaints electronically or by facsimile.