City of Cerritos logo

Skip to Content | Footer | Accessibility

E-News signup for e-mail/text updates


Protect yourself from deceptive and unfair business practices

Updated December 23, 2009

The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs provides information and assistance on laws designed to protect the integrity of the marketplace. The department resolves disputes between businesses and their customers and offers mediation services for resolving disputes between two businesses. It also provides assistance on preparing and presenting a case in Small Claims Court. The services are provided free of charge.

The department has a website that provides a wealth of information on the full range of free services that are available to consumers. The information covers a variety of laws concerning landlord-tenant and housing issues; automobile sales and purchases; and retail sales, warranties and credit related matters. Information about the County’s complaint handling services, mediation program and Small Claims Court Advisor is also available. To visit the site, log on to

Small claims court advisor

For those initiating a lawsuit or defending one, the Department of Consumer Affairs offers valuable information. Staff is available to inform individuals of the proper court in which to file an action, how to correctly name the other party, what to bring to court and how to collect a judgment. The Small Claims Court Advisor can be reached at (213) 974-9759.

Dispute settlement services

As an alternative to litigation, mediation can resolve a dispute without attorneys’ fees, court costs or time that would normally be required to appear in court. This free service uses professionally trained mediators to help parties resolve a dispute. Dispute resolution can be provided if the case involves a customer, business associate or supplier. For more information and assistance, call (213) 974-0825.

Consumer protection services

This division counsels and educates businesses and consumers concerning their rights and responsibilities in the marketplace. It investigates and mediates complaints resulting from transactions, and resolves complaints based upon the facts and the application of consumer laws and regulations. Circumstances surrounding a complaint are always given prime consideration. The division also makes referrals to law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies as appropriate. To contact Consumer Protection Services, call (213) 974-1452.

Real estate fraud and information program

This area coordinates efforts with government, law enforcement and private industry to detect and prevent real estate fraud. It serves as a central reporting agency for real estate fraud complaints and prepares selected cases for civil and criminal action by prosecuting agencies. Counseling and information are provided to the public on real estate issues such as home ownership, real estate fraud, foreclosure actions, refinancing, building contractors, home repairs and undeveloped land sales. To access this service, call (800) 973-3370.

Back to Article Top