Consumer Law Resources
Posted by:rjf on 03/16/2011 10:42 AM

Local Agencies:
Watsonville Law Center:
The Consumer Protection Project provides education, advocacy and representation to victims of consumer fraud. This Project focuses on auto issues related to purchases, loans, towing, and repairs; as well as immigration consultant and other professional services fraud, telecom fraud including cell phone, long distance, and calling cards, consumer credit contracts, unlawful debt collection and credit reporting practices, identity theft, and other consumer scams. For information about the project contact (831) 722-2845 or visit http://www.watsonvillelawcenter.org/index.php?p=7_2 Eligibility guidelines may apply

Senior Citizen Legal Services:
Provides help with consumer problems and debt collection defense for individuals who are at least 60 years old. Individuals who are 55-59 may qualify for services if they are indigent. There is no charge for services, but donations are accepted. They have offices located in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and Hollister. For more information call 831-426-8824 (Santa Cruz), 831-728-4711 (Watsonville), or 831-637-5458 (Hollister).

District Attorney of Santa Cruz County:
The Division offers telephone counseling and referrals to state and federal agencies that deal with consumer issues. It performs complaint mediation for buyer-seller disputes, and also conducts investigations if there appears to be illegal, fraudulent or deceptive practices. The Division offers programs on consumer education through the news media, schools, presentations and community workshops. It also provides consumer information tip sheets, news letters and other publications to help make consumers aware of deceptive practices and be more informed in their buying decisions. The Division maintains an extensive reference file of business names and complaint histories that is made available to the public on request. For more information visit http://sccounty01.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/DAInternet/consaffairs.asp or call 831-454-2050

Online Resources:
California State Bar Consumer:
Pamphlets published by the State Bar dealing with issues such as how to handle an auto accident, determining if you need a will or trust, what your employment rights are, and what to do if you can't pay your debts. http://www.calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_generic.jsp?cid=10581&id=1400

Consumer Action Website:
Provides online information on a variety of consumer law issues. Included is a sample complaint letter. www.consumeraction.gov

California Department of Consumer Affairs:
Provides extensive information about consumer affairs issues. Some of the issues covered are: Auto repair/smog checks; product recalls; identity theft; retail refunds, returns and warranties, housing, mortgages, privacy, and financial. The website also provides information about state licenses issued under this department including license verification and complaint processes against licensees. www.dca.ca.gov/consumer/index.shtml

Medline Plus:
Consumer information about prescription drugs, over the counter medications, and herbal supplements. Discussions of health care topics, diseases and medical developments. Includes a directory of health professionals, services and facilities and a medical dictionary. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

Consumer Action:
Provides publications on numerous consumer law topics in many different languages. Some of the areas covered are: banking/money management; credit, frauds and scams, identity theft, privacy, medical records privacy, housing, mortgages/forclosures, insurance, healthcare, and autos. www.consumer-action.org/publications

California Lemon Law:
Informational publication on the lemon law for new and used cars. www.consumer-action.org/english/articles/California_lemon_law_eng

Fair Debt Collection Practices overview:
Gives a quick overview of what collection agencies and debt collectors can and cannot do during the process of collecting a debt. www.centralcallegal.org/consumer/fairdebt.html

Product Recalls:
www.recalls.gov is a portal that allows searching present and past recalls issued by different government agencies.





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