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How to File a California Attorney General Complaint

Camila Lopez - California Business Complaints - December 5, 2023

Thinking of filing a complaint against a business? Consider also sending a demand letter.

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    The California Attorney General (“CAG”) is the state’s top legal advisor, with many responsibilities and duties like advising the state, representing California in court, and most importantly, the California attorney general investigates consumer complaints against businesses and individuals. Their office is known as the Office of the Attorney General. 

    In addition to filing a complaint with the California Attorney General, consider sending the business a demand letter. We have a free tool that helps you write a demand letter. Check out our demand letter tool.

    Common Types of California Attorney General Complaints

    There are many types of California Attorney General consumer complaints, but among the most common are by consumers looking to file a complaint against a business for false representations or various types of discrimination such as for housing and jobs. 

    If you believe a business has committed a crime, make sure to contact your local district attorney’s office or City Attorney instead as the CAG does not handle criminal complaints.

    How to File a Complaint with the California Attorney General

    If you would like to file a complaint with the California Attorney General, here is how:

    • By Phone: 916-322-3360

    • Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-952-5225

    • By Mail: Download, fill out, and mail this form to P.O Box 944255, Sacramento 94244

    • By FAX: Download, fill out, and fax this form): (916) 323-5341

    • Online: Submit the complaint using their Online Form

    Information you will need to answer on the California Attorney General complaint form includes:

    • your name and address, 

    • the name and address of the business you’re filing against, 

    • knowledge of what your relationship is to the business, 

    • the disputed amount, and 

    • the reason behind your complaint.

    What to Expect After You Have Filed a California Attorney General Complaint

    The CAG will determine whether to investigate a company, but cannot assist individuals on an individual basis or give legal advice. Usually, the attorney general only takes action when many consumers have filed complaints against the same business.

    The attorney general may also refer you to another government agency that specializes in the type of complaint you filed or may tell you to reach out to an attorney.

    What Happens If My Attorney General Complaint Leads Nowhere?

    Option 1: Send a Demand Letter

    If the California Attorney General doesn't assist you, consider sending the business a demand letter. We have a free tool that helps you write a demand letter. Check out our demand letter tool.

    Here is a video on how our demand letter tool works:

    Option 2: Consider Suing in California Small Claims

    If you could not file California Attorney General complaint or the California Attorney General was unable to resolve your complaint, you may be able to file a small claims lawsuit against the business or individual. 

    Small Claims Court Limits

    To be able to file a small claims court lawsuit in California, you are capped at the amount you can sue for, also known as "small claims court limits."

    How to write a demand letter 3

    If you are owed more than the amount you can sue for, you can still sue for the maximum amount allowed, but you will need to waive any additional amount over the limit.

    What are the California Small Claims Court Filing Fees?

    The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit in California depends on how much you are suing for. You will pay between $30 to $75 to file the lawsuit. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees.  

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    What are other costs for Small Claims Court?

    In most small claims cases, you can expect to pay:

    If you win, you can request that the losing party pay for your court fees and serving costs.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • Do I need a lawyer to go to court? No, California does not allow lawyers to represent you at the initial small claims hearing.

    • What are small claims hearings like in California? The hearings are quick and on average are 10-15 minutes. Learn more here.

    • How long do small claims take? A court usually schedules the small claims hearing no later than 70 days from when the lawsuit is filed. Learn more here.


    Camila Lopez

    Chief Legal Architect & Co-Founder @ People Clerk. Camila holds a law degree and is a certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.

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