Consumer Protection Unit

Head of Division: Andres H. Perez, Deputy District Attorney

The Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit is responsible for handling a broad spectrum of consumer and environmental protection activities. The Unit's focus is to protect the public, prosecute violators, and prevent future violations of law through the use of four major mechanisms: enforcement, mediation, referral, and outreach.

The Unit's enforcement section prosecutes civil and criminal violations of California's consumer and environmental protection laws, including, but not limited to, the Unfair Competition Law, the False Advertising Law, the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the Contractors License Law, and Proposition 64.

The enforcement section works with a multitude of state and local agencies to achieve effective enforcement of California law. Some of these agencies include: the California Department of Consumer Affairs; Contractors State License Board; California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Measurement Standards; County Weights and Measures departments; Certified Unified Program agencies; and the California Attorney General's Office.

The Unit's mediation section, staffed with two full-time mediators and experienced, well-trained volunteers, handles consumer-vendor dispute mediation, education of both consumers and retailers, and is a public resource for consumer rights information. This section also assists consumers in efforts to obtain a resolution of their dispute, short of going to court. The mediation section also provides referral services consisting of directing certain consumer complaints to federal, state and local regulatory agencies that are established to address specialized consumer issues. Such agencies could include: the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the Public Utilities Commission, Contractors State License Board, U.S. Postal Service, and the California Department of Corporations.

The Unit has an active outreach program aimed at educating the community on the current trends in consumer fraud and how to combat them, including providing speakers upon request to community groups. The Unit is an active participant in the annual Marin County Senior Information Fair providing information about consumer protection issues specific to senior citizens. The Unit also publishes a consumer tips column in the Marin Independent Journal and does whatever it can to spread the word about how to avoid consumer fraud.