The District Attorney’s Consumer
Protection Division (CPD) investigates and prosecutes unfair or
dishonest business practices so that Los Angeles consumers get a
dollar’s value for their dollar spent. The division’s work also
protects honest business people from dishonest competitors.
Through lawsuits which levy heavy
monetary penalties for fraudulent practices and through jail
sentences, CPD strives to uphold the California laws which protect
the consumer. Examples of fraudulent business practices include:
It is illegal to sell goods or services through the use of untrue
or misleading statements. False ads might misrepresent “sale” or
“special” prices, or the features of a product, or the
availability of sales goods. Read ads carefully, and watch out for
fine print at the bottom. The advertiser is at fault if the ad has
the tendency to mislead, even if there is no intent to defraud.
Deceptive Sales Practices:
Examples of these include the “hard sell,” where high pressure
tactics and half-truths are used to force a hasty purchase, and
“bait-and-switch,” where consumers are lured into a store with an
appealing ad and then switched to a more expensive item.
Quack remedies for serious illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS, and
arthritis, are dangerous and can divert a patient from proven
treatments. A drug or medical device must be proven “safe and
effective,” and sellers must be able to prove health claims. Bogus
“diet plans” and dubious food supplements can cost you good money
and, perhaps, your good health.
Fraud Aimed at Minority
Communities: Con artists sometimes focus on minority
communities hoping to take advantage of language or cultural
differences. Examples include bogus immigration “specialists,”
unfulfilled promises to transmit money overseas, and failure to
provide a Spanish-language contract when a sale is made in
CPD prosecutes businesses which take unfair advantage of their
honest competitors. Agreements to fix prices, boycott competitors,
or eliminate competition are unlawful. The D.A.’s Office works to
ensure a level playing field for all Los Angeles businesses.
Additional examples of consumer fraud
can be found at:
Consumer Protection Division
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
201 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA. 90012
Phone: (213) 580-3273
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19 Dec 2012