Consumer Protection Unit

The Economic Crimes Division of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office investigates and prosecutes fraud and unlawful business practices in the marketplace. The Consumer Protection Unit, a section in the Economic Crimes Division, is a team of experienced attorneys, investigators, and other professional staff that investigates and evaluates reports of fraudulent and unfair business practices and determines appropriate action. The Consumer Protection Unit prosecutes cases on behalf of the People of the State of California where the interests of the public at large are involved. Our office is prohibited from representing private citizens in individual disputes with other persons or businesses.

Our cases are developed in several ways, including information from law enforcement and regulatory agency investigations, referrals from consumer protection prosecutors in other areas of California, and complaints from the citizens of San Diego through our Consumer Complaint Form process (see below). Our office is committed to supporting the San Diego community and providing a means of reporting individuals and businesses engaged in unlawful business practices. Public protection is our priority. We encourage you to file a complaint if you are aware of a fraudulent or unlawful business practice taking place in San Diego County.

Complaint Form Process

Once the Consumer Protection Unit receives your complaint and accompanying documentation, we will review that material and contact you if we need more information. In many cases, the appropriate agency to undertake the initial investigation of a consumer complaint is another specialized regulatory, licensing, or enforcement agency in California. Many of these agencies have authority to take corrective action when their investigations reveal evidence of wrongdoing, including bringing administrative enforcement cases to end the unlawful business conduct. If the investigating agency determines that a matter is appropriate for further prosecution, it will generally refer the case to our office or another prosecutor's office, such as the California Attorney General's Office or a City Attorney's Office.

Once our staff has received and reviewed your complaint, you will be notified of our evaluation (usually by mail). If our staff makes the decision to refer your complaint to another agency for investigation, you will be provided the contact information for that agency. We may also refer you to other resources within our community, when appropriate.

You may sometimes expedite this process by directing your complaint to the appropriate specialized agency. Our office has compiled a Consumer Resources Guide which lists the types of consumer complaints, the agency that handles them, and the agency’s contact information. The California Attorney General’s Office also has a comprehensive Complaint Referral Table that is a great resource for assisting consumers with determining the appropriate agency to contact depending on the type of complaint and industry it involves:

How To Submit A Consumer Complaint Form

  1. Thoroughly read the Guidelines to Submitting the Consumer Complaint Form.
  2. Complete the CONSUMER COMPLAINT FORM. The form is available in a format to print out and complete manually or PDF fillable format (you still need to print it out after completion and sign the Declaration.) Below are the links to the forms available in both English and Spanish.
    ***You can also call the Consumer Complaint Form Request Line at 619-531-3507 and provide your name and address. A packet will be sent to you in the mail including the Complaint Form and Guidelines.
  3. Attach copies (not originals) of any supporting documents you believe are important to support your complaint.
  4. Send the completed Consumer Complaint Form and attachments to the following address:
    Office of the District Attorney
    Consumer Protection Unit
    P.O. Box 121011
    San Diego, CA 92112-1011