Economic Security

Attorney General Becerra believes that the economic security of working families is crucial to the economic wellbeing of California. That’s why he is fighting to make sure that everyone in our state can benefit from economic growth and consumer protections.

The Attorney General has a special role in enforcing the laws that safeguard California consumers, including consumer protection statutes, antitrust laws, and other civil and criminal laws that protect families and competition in the California market.

At this critical time for the people of California and the Nation, Attorney General Becerra is holding the line against President Trump’s attempts to roll back important consumer protections and failure to fulfill the federal responsibility to support economic opportunity. Attorney General Becerra will fight every step of the way to defend against regulatory and economic backslide. Our consumer protection and economic opportunity work keeps California moving forward.

PROTECTING CALIFORNIA CONSUMERS

One of Attorney General Becerra’s top priorities is protecting California consumers. Attorney General Becerra has directed the resources of the Department of Justice to stand up for all Californians, including those who most need a champion – young people and students, working families, and vulnerable communities.

  • Litigation and Settlements: When he assumed office, Attorney General Becerra made protecting consumers a top priority. Since then, he has announced a $33 million multi-state settlement with Johnson and Johnson for marketing over-the-counter medicines that failed to meet quality standards; a $586 million multi-state settlement with Western Union for wire fraud scams; and a record $18.5 million multi-state settlement with Target over data security failures that contributed to the compromise of 40 million customers' payment card information during the 2013 holiday season. For the latest news on what Attorney General Becerra is doing to protect consumers, please make sure to visit our Press Releases page at oag.ca.gov/news.
  • Submit a complaint: Consumers who would like to file a complaint against a business or company can do so here.

STUDENTS & YOUNG PEOPLE

The Attorney General has a unique role in defending California’s young people, from protecting the rights of children in school to ensuring that predatory colleges cannot destroy financial futures. At this moment when President Trump is abdicating his responsibility to children and students across the country, we are going to do everything we can here in California to defend and nurture the next generation.

Attorney General Becerra is working to protect student loan borrowers and hold colleges accountable. Attorney General Becerra recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education for unlawfully delaying the implementation of regulations aimed at protecting students from deceptive practices and fraud; urged U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to expedite loan forgiveness for former students of Corinthian Colleges; and announced an outreach effort to notify thousands of California residents who attended schools operated by Corinthian that they may be eligible for cancellation of their federal student loans used to attend those schools.

Resources for Students and Student Loan Borrowers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a number of resources for students and young consumers, including information on paying for college and options for managing student loans.

  • For assistance figuring out how to pay for college, check out the CFPB’s “Paying for College” tool.
  • If you are working in public service and repaying student debt, you might be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Check out the CFPB’s guide here.

Students who have been defrauded by their schools have a number of resources for potential relief:

  • The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education runs a Student Tuition Recovery Fund, which can provide tuition reimbursements for certain students who were enrolled at the time of a school’s closure or within 120 days of the school’s closure.
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s Borrower Defense to Repayment rule calls for the Department to discharge the federal student loans of students who suffered from fraud. Attorney General Becerra urged Secretary DeVos in June 2017 to expeditiously grant this relief to eligible students.
  • Any student who attended a Corinthian program and believes that the school lied about job prospects, the transferability of credits, or other issues may apply to have their federal student loans canceled using the Department of Education’s universal discharge application at https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov. More information is available at https://studentaid.ed.gov/borrower-defense.
  • Anyone who applies for loan discharge should continue making payments on the loans until informed otherwise by the U.S. Department of Education or loan servicer. To report issues in obtaining help with their student loans, Californians are encouraged to contact the Attorney General and the Department of Justice through the Public Inquiry Unit.

INNOVATION AND COMPETITION

Competition and innovation are critical to the success of the California economy. Under Attorney General Becerra, the California Department of Justice supports innovation and a competitive marketplace through enforcement against the abuses and excesses of companies seeking an unfair advantage. The California Department of Justice will continue to stand up against corporate fraud, anticompetitive practices, and merger transactions that harm California markets and communities.

Fighting Corporate Fraud

Attorney General Becerra is committed to strong enforcement of California law against the abuses and excesses of unscrupulous companies. The California Department of Justice investigates and prosecutes corporate and securities fraud, as well as other forms of financial fraud and illegal business activities.

Antitrust Enforcement

Antitrust enforcement is an important component of a sound economy. Attorney General Becerra is focused on using the important antitrust enforcement responsibility of the California Department of Justice to protect competition in the California market and help California consumers. For instance, he joined a federal antitrust lawsuit with 39 other states charging six generic drug-makers with an illegal conspiracy to divide customers and markets and increase prices for two generic drugs, and he took action against a proposed asset sale that could lead to higher gas prices for consumers in Northern California.

Attorney General Becerra’s antitrust enforcement initiatives include a particular focus on protecting competition in the healthcare marketplace and vigorous review of proposed mergers and acquisitions that would affect the prices and availability of products and services used by Californians.

FIGHTING FEDERAL ROLLBACKS

Attorney General Becerra believes that we can build a robust economy while standing up for the rights of students and working families. At the California Department of Justice, we work with the federal government to protect consumers and competition when we can—and when President Trump tries to weaken federal protections, Attorney General Becerra fights back to defend California.

Opposing Regulatory Rollbacks

Attorney General Becerra opposes the Trump Administration’s and Congressional Republicans’ attempts to undo important economic and regulatory reforms following the Great Recession. We are defending the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the critical reforms protecting consumer privacy and an open internet. And here in California, we continue moving forward with California’s progress to defend student loan borrowers, advance cybersecurity, protect safety net programs, and support retirement savings.

Protections for Students Loan Borrowers

The actions of the Trump Administration have created serious risk for student loan borrowers and their families. In November 2016, the U.S. Department of Education promulgated new regulations, the Borrower Defense Rule, that would grant streamlined relief to students who were defrauded by their colleges in the future. These rules were scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017, but the Department of Education announced it would delay the rules. In July 2017, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education challenging this improper delay and aims to ensure that any student harmed in the future will receive the relief to which he or she is entitled.

CONSUMER RESOURCES

Our office cannot give you legal advice or represent you. For referral to a lawyer, you may contact the State Bar at (866) 442-2529 (toll-free in California) or (415) 538-2250 (from outside California), or through its website at: http://www.calbar.ca.gov. If you cannot afford to pay an attorney, you may consider contacting your local legal aid office. For a referral, visit http://www.lsc.gov and click on the Find Legal Assistance tab, or go to http://lawhelpca.org.

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