The mission of the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is to protect California consumers by providing a safe and fair marketplace through oversight, enforcement, and licensure of professions. We also work hard to educate the public about their rights as consumers under California state law.
The Federal Trade Commission’s National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), which runs March 1 through 7, is an opportunity for DCA—and our partners at federal, state, and local agencies across the country—to remind consumers of that mission, and to help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions.
DCA issues licenses, certificates, registrations and permits in over 250 business and professional categories through 38 regulatory entities comprised of boards, bureaus, committees, a program, and a commission. These 38 entities set and enforce minimum qualifications for the professions and vocations they regulate, which include nearly all of California’s healthcare fields.
If you’ve ever had a bad experience with an unlicensed medical professional, contractor, veterinarian, automotive repair shop, or cosmetologist, you understand why it’s important to use the services of only licensed professionals. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from fraud, scams, and financial harm is to check the license before money changes hands or contracts are signed. DCA regulates many industries and the people licensed to work in them, and if you have an issue, dispute, or disagreement with a professional, you can turn to DCA to mediate your complaint. 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.
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, suspend, or revoke licenses.
DCA works to educate consumers through our award-winning magazine Consumer Connection; our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages; The DCA Page blog; and at outreach events near you. You can also check out The Peel, our video-news series that peels away the layers of government to show how the Department of Consumer Affairs is working for you
Learn more about us in our publication Who We Are & What We Do. (Also available in Spanish: Quienes Somos y Que Hacemos), 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.