Consumer Protection

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The Fresno County District Attorney's Consumer & Environmental Protection Division investigates and prosecutes civil and criminal violations of California's environmental protection laws and the laws regulating public advertising and unfair business practices. Consumer fraud and environmental hazards are uniquely preventable crimes. By learning about current marketplace scams and by following basic tips on smart consumer behavior and proper handling of hazardous materials, you can protect yourself, your environment and all citizens throughout Fresno County.

Know Your Rights As A Consumer

Auto Repairs

You are entitled to a written estimate for repair work with no additional charges unless you pre-approve them a detailed invoice of work done and parts supplied and the return of replaced parts, if requested. If you have any problems with automotive repairs, call the Bureau of Automotive Repair at (800) 952-5210 or (559) 445-5015.

Door-to-Door Sales

You have three days to cancel contracts of $25 or more on door-to-door sales. The salesperson must tell you that you have a right to cancel and the contract must have a cancellation clause. If you cancel, the seller must refund your money within 10 days.

Car Sales & Deceptive Sales Practices

A "Buyers Guide" must be placed on the window of every used vehicle sold by a dealer. This guide must tell you whether the car comes with a full warranty, a partial warranty, or "as is" with no warranty. When buying a new vehicle, salespersons cannot use "hard sales" tactics in order to intimidate or rush you into buying their cars. If you have been deceived in buying a new or used car, call the Department of Motor Vehicles at (213) 744-7577.

Credit

There are laws to protect you when you see or use credit. The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles you to find out why you have been denied credit and gives you the ability to correct errors in your credit line. The Fair Credit Billing Act gives you 60 days to send a written notice to the creditor. If you find a billing error, the creditor must either correct your bill or explain why there is no error. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act protects women from being discriminated against when seeking credit.

Misleading Advertisements

It is illegal to sell goods or services using untrue or misleading statements. False advertisements might misrepresent "sale" or "special" prices, or the features of a product, or the availability of sales goods. Read ads carefully and watch out for the fine print at the bottom. The advertiser is at fault if the ad has the tendency to mislead, even if there is no intent to defraud.

File A Consumer Complaint

If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, please complete the Consumer Protection Fraud form and send it to the District Attorney's Office via email or U.S. mail as indicated on the form.