Urges consumers to report violations of the law to the California Department of Justice at oag.ca.gov/report
OAKLAND – In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today highlighted ongoing efforts to protect California consumers and urged consumers to report misconduct or violations of state consumer protection laws to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) at oag.ca.gov/report. Complaints submitted by the public play a critical role in the Attorney General's consumer protection efforts by providing DOJ with important information about potential misconduct to help determine whether to investigate a company or individual. Enforcement priorities at DOJ include housing, debt collection, data privacy, higher education, and consumer lending.
“Many in California are buried under a mountain of debt: whether it be a student loans, credit card debt, mortgage payments, or all of the above,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In California, we have strong consumer protection laws, but unfortunately, there are still some who seek to take advantage. Our team is working around the clock to protect consumers and hold bad actors accountable, but we need your help. If you have been taken advantage of by a predatory lender, are facing abusive debt collection practices, have been unlawfully evicted, or have information on other violation of the law, please submit a complaint to my office. The leads we get from the public help us identify where companies are trying to skirt the law — and help us to hold the companies accountable.”
HOUSING: California is facing a housing shortage and affordability crisis of epic proportions. In November, Attorney General Bonta announced the creation of a Housing Strike Force within the California Department of Justice and launched a Housing Portal on DOJ’s website with resources and information for California homeowners and tenants.
The Housing Strike Force encourages Californians to send complaints or tips related to housing to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Housing Strike Force is particularly interested in tips relating to illegal evictions and rent increases, housing discrimination, and mortgage origination and servicing. Information on legal aid in your area is available at www.lawhelpca.org.
DEBT COLLECTION: State law protects Californians from abusive, unfair, or deceptive debt collection practices. Attorney General Bonta urges Californians who receive a notice from a debt collector to respond as soon as possible — even if they do not owe the debt. If you do not, the collector may continue trying to collect the debt, report negative information to credit reporting companies, and even sue you.
Debt collectors cannot repeatedly contact you over a short period of time to annoy or harass you, make false or misleading statements, or contact you at unusual or inconvenient times or places. If you believe a debt collector is violating the law, you can file a complaint at oag.ca.gov/report. More information on debt collection can be found at oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/debt-collectors.
DATA PRIVACY: The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) provides consumers with groundbreaking rights over their personal information, including:
For more information about the CCPA, visit oag.ca.gov/ccpa. To report a violation of the CCPA to the Attorney General, submit a complaint at oag.ca.gov/report. You can also use the Consumer Privacy Tool to directly notify businesses that do not have a clear and easy-to-find “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on their homepage.
HIGHER EDUCATION: There is a $1.7 trillion student loan debt crisis in the United States, and DOJ is committed to holding bad actors accountable for defrauding California students. If you believe you have been the victim of a predatory loan, deceived by a for-profit college, or otherwise taken advantage of, you can file a complaint with our office at oag.ca.gov/report.
California students can also take advantage of recent developments resulting from the DOJ’s work. In January, Attorney General Bonta announced a settlement with student loan servicer Navient to resolve allegations of misconduct in the servicing and collection of federal student loans. Californians do not need to take any action to receive the benefits required under the settlement. More information about the settlement is available at www.NavientAGSettlement.com.
Following a years long effort by state attorneys general and others, the Biden Administration recently announced a sweeping overhaul of the broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) programs. Attorney General Bonta encourages Californians working in the government or non-profit sectors to to take advantage of the Department of Education’s limited-time Public Service Loan Forgiveness Limited Waiver Opportunity to receive credit for past payments made on loans that would otherwise not qualify under the PSLF program. Borrowers seeking loan forgiveness under the recent changes must take action by October 31, 2022.
CONSUMER LENDING: Attorney General Bonta is committed to protecting vulnerable California borrowers from predatory lenders and others who would seek to take advantage of them. To that end, the Attorney General urges Californians to report predatory lenders at oag.ca.gov/report.
Californians should also try to avoid certain loans when possible. To avoid getting stuck in a debt trap, avoid payday loans if you can. Payday loans can turn a short-term need for emergency cash into a long-term, unaffordable cycle of high-interest loans that you cannot repay. In California, payday lenders can loan up to $300 and charge a maximum of $45 in fees. Although this fee may not seem too high, the average annual percentage rate for payday loans is 372%. This is a much higher rate than most other loans or credit cards. You can contact the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation to check the license of a payday lender, history of disciplinary actions against a payday lender, or to file a complaint. You can also file a complaint with our office.