In Recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, California Attorney General Bonta Highlights Consumer Resources and CADOJ Priorities
Urges consumers to report violations of law to the California Department of Justice at oag.ca.gov/report
March 7, 2022 – OAKLAND – In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, California attorney Rob Bonta today highlighted ongoing efforts to protect California consumers and urged consumers to report misconduct or violation of state consumer protection laws to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) at oag.ca.gov/report. Complaints filed by the public play a vital role in the Attorney General’s consumer protection efforts by providing DOJ with important information about potential wrongdoing to help determine whether a company or individual should be investigated. Enforcement priorities at the DOJ include housing, debt collection, data privacy, higher education, and consumer lending.
“Many in California are buried under a mountain of debt: whether it’s student loans, credit card debt, mortgage payments, or all of the above,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In California, we have strong consumer protection laws, but unfortunately there are still those who seek to take advantage of them. Our team works around the clock to protect consumers and hold bad actors accountable, but we have need your help.If you have been exploited by a predatory lender, are facing abusive debt collection practices, have been unlawfully evicted, or have information about other violations of the law, please file a complaint with my office.The leads we get from the public help us identify where companies are trying to circumvent the law – and help us hold companies accountable.
LODGING: California is facing a housing shortage and affordability crisis of epic proportions. In November, Attorney General Bonta announced the creation of a housing strike force within the California Department of Justice and launched a housing portal on the DOJ website with resources and information for landlords. and California tenants.
The Housing Strike Force encourages Californians to send housing-related complaints or advice to [email protected] The Housing Strike Force is particularly interested in advice relating to illegal evictions and rent increases, housing discrimination, and the origination and servicing of mortgages. Information about legal aid in your area is available at www.lawhelpca.org.
DEBT RECOVERY: State law protects Californians from abusive, unfair, or deceptive debt collection practices. Attorney General Bonta is urging Californians who receive a notice from a debt collector to respond as soon as possible, even if they don’t owe the debt. If you don’t, the collector may continue to try to collect the debt, report negative information to credit reporting companies, and even sue you.
Collection agents may not contact you repeatedly over a short period of time to annoy or harass you, make false or misleading statements, or contact you at unusual or inconvenient times or places. If you think a debt collector is breaking the law, you can file a complaint at oag.ca.gov/report. For more information on debt collection, go to oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/debt-collectors.
DATA PRIVACY: The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants consumers groundbreaking rights over their personal information, including:
- The right to know – Consumers can ask a company to tell them what specific personal information they have collected, shared or sold about them, and why it was collected, shared or sold.
- Right to deletion — Consumers can ask a business to delete the personal information it has collected from the consumer, subject to certain exceptions.
- Right of withdrawal — If a business sells its personal information, consumers can ask that it stop doing so.
- Rights of minors — A company cannot sell the personal information of minors under 16 without their permission and, for children under 13, without parental consent.
- Right to non-discrimination — A company cannot discriminate against consumers who exercise their rights under the CCPA.
For more information about the CCPA, visit oag.ca.gov/ccpa. To report a CCPA violation to the Attorney General, submit a complaint at oag.ca.gov/report. You can also use the Consumer Privacy Tool to directly notify businesses that don’t have a clear, easy-to-find “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on their homepage.
HIGHER EDUCATION: There is a $1.7 trillion student debt crisis in the United States, and the DOJ is committed to holding bad actors accountable for defrauding California students. If you believe you have been the victim of predatory lending, deceived by a for-profit college, or otherwise exploited, you can file a complaint with our office at oag.ca.gov/report.
California students can also take advantage of recent developments resulting from the work of the DOJ. In January, Attorney General Bonta announced a settlement with student loan manager Navient to resolve allegations of misconduct in the servicing and collection of federal student loans. Californians do not need to take any action to receive the benefits required under the settlement. More information about the settlement is available at www.NavientAGSettlement.com.
After years of effort by state attorneys general and others, the Biden administration recently announced a sweeping overhaul of the broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs. the extended public service (TEPSLF). Attorney General Bonta encourages Californians working in the government or nonprofit sector to take advantage of the Department of Education’s limited public service loan waiver waiver opportunity to receive credit for past payments made on loans that would otherwise not qualify under the PSLF program. Borrowers requesting loan forgiveness under the recent changes must take action by October 31, 2022.
READY FOR CONSUMPTION: Attorney General Bonta pledged to protect vulnerable California borrowers from predatory lenders and others who seek to take advantage. To that end, the Attorney General is urging Californians to report predatory lenders at oag.ca.gov/report.
Californians should also try to avoid certain loans when possible. To avoid getting stuck in a debt trap, avoid payday loans if you can. Payday loans can turn a short-term need for emergency cash into a long-term, unaffordable cycle of high-interest loans you can’t repay. In California, payday lenders can lend up to $300 and charge a maximum of $45 in fees. Although these fees do not seem too high, the average annual rate of payday loans is 372%. This is a much higher rate than most other loans or credit cards. You can contact the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation to verify a payday lender’s license, history of disciplinary action against a payday lender, or to file a complaint. You can also file a complaint with our office.
Source: CA DOJ