Credit Counseling Service

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(Civil Code §§ 1789.10, 1789.26.)

A professional nonprofit credit counselor can help consumers manage and reduce their debt. The Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) is one such nonprofit organization. The CCCS has 450 offices nationwide offering personal financial counseling, credit, and debt management counseling. CCCS also assists consumers in removing fraudulent claims from a credit report, and acts as a liaison between creditors and consumers to establish repayment schedules.

A for profit "Credit Service Organization" (CSO) must:

  • File a registration application with, and receive a certificate of registration from, the Attorney General's Office before doing business in California. (Civil Code § 1789.25.)
  • Obtain a $100,000 surety bond from an admitted surety in favor of the State of California for the benefit of any person damaged by any violation of the Act. (Civil Code § 1789.18.) (The bond must be maintained for two years after the CSO stops doing business in California.)
  • Give the buyer before the contract for services is signed, an information statement that complies with Civil Code Section 1789.15. (Civil Code §§ 1789.14, 1789.15.)
  • Not provide any service to a buyer except pursuant to a written contract that complies with Civil Code Section 1789.16. (Civil Code § 1789.16.)
  • Complete the agreed services within six months after the date the buyer signs the contract for services. (Civil Code § 1789.13(b); see Civil Code § 1789.16 (a)(3).)
  • Maintain an agent for service of process in this state. (Civil Code § 1789.13(j).)

Consumer Credit Counseling Service
4636 Watt Ave. Ste # 200
North Highlands, CA 95660
(800) 736-2227

CCCS offers one free counseling session. Call 1-800-388-2227, for additional locations. Nationwide number will automatically route you to the nearest office by zip code.


Kern and Tulare Counties
Bakersfield, CA

Central Valley, Inc.
Fresno, CA

Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

Twin Cities
Yuba City, CA

The East Bay
Oakland, CA

The North Valley
Redding, CA

Inland Empire
Riverside, CA

Sacramento, Inc.
Rancho Cordova, CA

San Diego and Imperial Counties
San Diego, CA

San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Santa Clara Valley, Inc.
Santa Clara, CA

Orange County
Santa Ana, CA

Stockton, CA

Ventura County, Inc.
Ventura, CA

The North Coast
Arcata, CA

To register or verify a Credit Service Organization or to report fraud, contact:

Department of Justice (DOJ)
Office of the Attorney General
Public Inquiry Unit
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(800) 952-5225 (CA Callers)
(916) 322-3360 (Out of State)
(916) 323-5341 (fax)
(800) 952-5548 (TDD in CA)
(916) 327-5564 (TDD Out of State)

To file a copy of the surety bond required for registration, contact:

Secretary of State
1500 11th Street, 6th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-4984 (special filings)

A "Debt" or "Credit" Counselor is certified through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). A college degree or equivalent experience in finance, banking, credit, home economics, or counseling is desired. Debt Counselors are not licensed by a state agency in California but may need a business license to operate. A Debt or Credit Counselor does not provide credit and is not a lending institution.

National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)
801 Roeder Road, Suite 900
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
(301) 589-5600
(301) 495-5623 (fax)
(800) 388-2227 (National informationline)

The NFCC recommends using the agency's client grievance process. If you are not satisfied File a complaint against a member agency with the NFCC On-line complaint forms available on the Web site.

Publications Available: Successful Credit Management takes Planning

Other Publications: FTC - Getting Back in the Black Campaign, Self-Help May Be Best

Other References: Credit Repair Services, Credit Counselor, Debt Counselor

Other Referrals: Better Business Bureau and Small Claims Court

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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