Who Can You Complain to in California?
Attorney General’s Office
California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
To file a complaint online, click here.
Here’s a snapshot of California’s laws regarding deceptive advertising:
California Business and Professions Code § 17200: Defines unfair competition as, among other things, any unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising.
California Business and Professions Code § 17500: Prohibits false and misleading advertising.
California Civil Code § 1770: Lists a number of deceptive acts that are deemed to be unlawful, including, but not limited to, advertising goods or services with the intent not to sell them as advertised, and knowingly making untrue or misleading statements in advertisements.
Some of the penalties that fraudulent or deceptive advertisers may suffer in California include:
- Up to $2,500 for each violation of the law against deceptive advertising (California Business and Professions Code § 17500);
- Up to six months in jail for each violation of the law against deceptive advertising (California Business and Professions Code § 17500).
Small Claims Court in California
If you’re not trying to recover big bucks, but rather just trying to recoup the money you spent on a product or service after being duped by a false ad, then you might consider filing a lawsuit in Small Claims Court.
For general info about filing a lawsuit in Small Claims Court, click here.
For info on how to file a Small Claims lawsuit in California, click here.
Researching Consumer Complaints
California does not make consumer complaints provided to the Attorney General/ Department of Justice available to the public. Information about consumer complaints filed with the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs can be obtained by sending a Freedom of Information request to:
California Department of Consumer Affairs
Consumer Information Division
1625 N. Market Blvd, Suite N-112
Sacramento, CA 95834
A sample Freedom of Information request can be found here.
**Please note that this page is informational only and does not take the place of legal advice. Please also note that the above summary is meant to provide a brief look at the laws in California, and not a comprehensive list.
A court order that requires a person or company to do a particular act or to refrain from doing a particular act. Example? A court order prohibiting a company from using an ad that’s been deemed deceptive.