State of California California Department of Consumer Affairs

Advertising (Retail)

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False or misleading advertisements are unlawful (Business and Professions Code Section § 17500) and constitute "unfair competition" (Business and Professions Codes § 17200).

Where to go for help ...

  • President or manager of company that placed the advertisement;

  • Media in which the advertisement appeared;

  • Local district attorney in consumer's area and/or area in which the ad appeared (white pages of telephone book under county government);

  • Better Business Bureau;
  • The advertiser may be licensed by an agency of the federal or state government. If so, call or write that agency for assistance.

  • A suspected false advertisement should also be registered with the Attorney General by calling the Attorney General's "hotline" at (800) 952-5225

For additional information, contact agencies listed below:

Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General
Public Inquiry Unit
PO BOX 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
(800) 952-5225 (CA Callers)
(916) 322-3360 (Out of State)
(916) 323-5341 (fax)
(800) 952-5548 (TDD in CA)
(916) 324-5564 (TDD Out of State)

Sacramento, Northern Counties Better Business Bureau
400 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 443-6843
(916) 443-0376 (fax)

County of Sacramento Consumer and Environmental
Protection Division Office of the District Attorney
906 G Street, Suite 700
PO BOX 749
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 874-6174
(916) 874-7660 (fax)

Small Claims Advisor
301 Bicentennial Circle, Room 330
Sacramento, CA 95826
(916) 875-7846
(916) 875-7845 (fax)
Small Claims Court

Areas that cover California, Hawaii, Nevada,Arizona, Colorado and Utah

Western Region
Federal Trade Commission
901 Market Street, Suite 570
San Francisco, CA 94103
(877) 382-4357

Southern Region
10877 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 824-4300
(310) 824-4380 (fax)

Newspaper Association of America
1921 Gallows Road, Suite 600
Vienna, VA 22182-3900
(703) 902-1600
(707) 917-0636 (fax)

National Headquarters for Better Business Bureau
Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.
4200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 800
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 276-0100
(703) 525-8277 (fax)

Department Publications:Consumer Law Sourcebook, Chapter 20

Other Publications:None

Other references:None

Other Referrals: Better Business Bureau in the Consumer Action Handbook

Consumer Resource & Referral Guide Consumer Resource & Referral Guide
Directory of State Agencies Directory of State Agencies
Directory of Federal Agencies Directory of Federal Agencies
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