Consumer Protection (Civil) Unit

COVID-19

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office wants to remind all residents that price gouging is illegal while our community is under a State of Emergency from the emergence of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19. Our Office will also support law enforcement on any suspected violations of the Health Officer’s Order

Price gouging is when a retailer or seller is attempting to take unfair advantage of the public during an emergency by increasing prices in an unreasonable manner for essential consumer goods and services. California’s anti-price gouging statute, Penal Code Section 396, prohibits raising the price of many consumer goods and services by more than 10 percent after an emergency has been declared.

Members of the public are encouraged to report any instances of gouging or other consumer issues related to COVID-19 to our Consumer Protection Unit by email at DA-ReportFraud@contracostada.org or via phone at 925-957-8608. 

Overview

The Consumer Protection Unit investigates and prosecutes cases such as deceptive advertising, tax evasion, employer fraud, and other economic crimes committed by businesses.

Although most cases are developed through law enforcement investigations, the consumer protection unit reviews complaints received directly from consumers.

We look for a pattern and practice of unlawful and unfair business activities, and where appropriate, institute informal, civil or criminal enforcement actions. We are prohibited, however, from representing a private citizen who seeks the return of money or other personal civil remedies.

Complaints

If you feel you have a complaint involving an unfair business practice, contact our office at (925) 957-8604. We will briefly discuss your complaint to determine whether we are the appropriate agency to look into the matter, and then mail or fax our complaint form to you for a more detailed description.

You can also download a complaint form (PDF).

Usted puede bajar la Forma de Queja (PDF) de la versión en español.

We will then contact you after an attorney has reviewed the matter to keep you informed of whatever action, if any, we may take.

This office normally cannot act on every problem relating to the quality of products, services rendered, or work performed, but we welcome all complaints to let us know what problems exist in our community and if a particular problem is affecting a substantial segment of the public.