DCA’s Umbrella Has You Covered

National Consumer Protection Week spotlights free resources, programs to help consumers

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Consumers: Do you feel empowered? You will after this week!

The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is proud to be a partner during the 19th annual National Consumer Protection Week (#NCPW2017), a coordinated campaign that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions. This year, it runs from March 5 through 11, so stay tuned to this blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for great tips all week!

Here are some of the ways DCA helps:

Licensing for protection

We all know someone who’s had a bad experience with an unlicensed or unscrupulous contractor who does sloppy work, lacks proper insurance or takes money upfront and disappears or leaves the job incomplete. That’s why you’ve heard our mantra “check the license” repeatedly, because this is one way consumers can help protect themselves from frauds, scams and financial harm. Licensing tells you that the person you are dealing with has met certain qualifications and levels of competency and offers a remedy if a service is not delivered or work is not acceptable. Through its boards, bureaus, committees and other entities, DCA regulates many industries and the people licensed to work in them.

Check a license or file a complaint against a licensee by calling our Consumer Information Center at (800) 952-5210, or visit www.dca.ca.gov.

Consumer education, enforcement and special programs

Through award-winning consumer publications, social media, blogs, Senior Scam StopperSM events from the Contractors State License Board and other special programs like the Auto Body Inspection Program from the Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Veterans Come First Program from the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, DCA staff educates consumers by giving them the information they need to avoid unscrupulous or unqualified people who promote deceptive or unsafe services.

DCA also advocates consumer interests before lawmakers and enforces consumer laws. Our enforcement staff works with the California Attorney General’s Office and local district attorneys to fight fraud in the marketplace. In fact, many investigations are initiated by consumer complaints. If DCA determines wrongdoing, it can place licensees on probation, or suspend or revoke licenses.

Dispute resolution

When a dispute arises between a customer and a business in certain industries under DCA’s jurisdiction, alternative methods are available for resolving complaints without going to court in which the involved parties can work out a solution with the help of a mediator.

Who we are what we do

Learn more on our website at www.dca.ca.gov or get our publication titled, Who We Are & What We Do. For a free printed copy, call the DCA Publications Hotline at (866) 320-8652. Find more consumer resources at https://oag.ca.gov/, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/, www.ncpw.gov and #NCPW2017.

DCA: Who We Are and What We Do

A security guard, a landscaper, a manicurist, and a veterinarian may seem to have nothing in common, but they do. All of them are licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

DCA is one of nine entities under the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

Licensing for protection

DCA issues more than 2.5 million licenses, certificates, and approvals to individuals and businesses in more than 240 professional categories. Through its boards, bureaus, committees, and other entities, DCA regulates many industries and the people licensed to work in them.

Licensing tells you that the person you are dealing with has met certain qualifications and levels of competency. Licensing also offers a remedy if a service is not delivered or work is not acceptable.

Most of DCA’s licensees work in healthcare fields and include physicians, surgeons, and registered nurses. DCA also licenses real estate brokers and salespersons, contractors, accountants, auto repair shops, therapists, for-profit schools, locksmiths, alarm companies, and more.

Consumer education and enforcement

Licensing is only part of the story. DCA promotes and protects the interests of California consumers in other ways as well.

Through award-winning consumer publications, social media, blogs, and community outreach events, DCA staff educates consumers by giving them the information they need to avoid unscrupulous or unqualified people who promote deceptive or unsafe services.

DCA also advocates consumer interests before lawmakers and enforces consumer laws. Its enforcement staff works with the Attorney General’s Office and local district attorneys to fight fraud in the marketplace. Many investigations are initiated as the result of complaints from consumers. If DCA determines wrongdoing, it can place licensees on probation, or suspend or revoke licenses.

Dispute resolution

When a dispute arises between a customer and a business in certain industries under DCA’s jurisdiction, the Complaint Resolution Program who-we-are-coverprovides an alternative for resolving complaints without going to court. Through this process, the involved parties can work out a solution with the help of a mediator.

You can learn more on our website at www.dca.ca.gov or in our publication titled, Who We Are & What We Do. The book is organized by occupation, and lists the DCA licensing entities, which licenses they regulate, their contact information, web addresses and social media presences, if applicable. The book also includes an overall snapshot of DCA’s services, its history, quick consumer tips, and more. Access it online at www.dca.ca.gov/publications/dca_booklet.pdf, or, for a free printed copy, call the DCA Publications Hotline at (866) 320-8652 and leave your name, phone number, mailing address, and the name of the publication.

To verify a license, call the Consumer Information Center at (800) 952-5210, or visit the DCA website at www.dca.ca.gov and click on “Verify a license.” Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting DCA at (800) 952-5210 or online at www.dca.ca.gov.