The Attorney General of California is a legal arm of the state government. The California Attorney General office handles a wide range of tasks including working to protect consumers, issuing specific grants, regulating gambling, overseeing issues with the unfair application of justice, licensing professionals like contractors, and ensuring the rights of state citizens.

The California Attorney General handles complaints about infringement on the rights of citizens including consumer issues, access to health care, financial support of children, access to necessary services, and certain areas of consumer finance.

The Attorney General of California oversees many areas and legal concerns.

Consumer Protection

The Attorney General California has a broad range of oversight and relies on information and complaints from consumers to narrow the department’s focus on transgressions and issues. The California Attorney General office compiles many questions and concerns that it receives when citizens and employees submit a complaint. It then issues warnings and can take legal action on behalf of citizens.

It is important to note that California Attorney General consumer protection is not the same as legal representation. The California OAG is very clear on the official consumers' website page that they do not represent individuals as a lawyer. The website of the OAG  encourages and provides resources for consumers to contact a lawyer about their specific case or if they have been the victim of fraud.

According to the California Attorney General contact page, consumers are encouraged to leave complaints about businesses or issues they have experienced. The website then answers the question: how do I contact the California Attorney General?

If you would like to complain with the California OAG, the first step is to identify which department handles the issue you are experiencing. The website outlining how to complain online provides a table to clarify this question.

Once you have found the correct department, the referral chart provides the website and the correct California Attorney General phone number for your concern.

How to File a Consumer Protection Complaint

If you cannot find the right department or your concern is not specified on the long list of possibilities, you are encouraged to file a California Attorney General complaint through the OAG website.

California Attorney General consumer complaints are handled through an online complaint form template. To file your customer complaint form, start by gathering the necessary information including the dates of your transactions, the dollar amounts, the name and contact information for the company, and any advertising or relevant documents.

Then, completely answer the questions on the complaint form template available on the California State Attorney General complaint site. The form has simple fill-in-the-blank spaces for your answers. There is not an area to attach your files, but there is a comment box for concerns and details.

california complaint form comments

Be mindful of the tips provided by the OAG for how to file the California Attorney General complaint online. Once you have filled in the form, check the necessary boxes on the bottom of the page and submit. You can also print the California Attorney General complaint form using this PDF and mail it in.

After you submit the consumer and employee complaint form against a business, the Office of the Attorney General will review it and potentially use that information to investigate the business you have specified.

Note that your complaint may be one of many that are being gathered before the Attorney General publishes a public notice to help make consumers aware of dangerous or illegal business practices. For example, the OAG just released a warning against COVID-19 contact tracer scams that were stealing personal information from consumers.

If you have questions about how to file a complaint or wish to follow-up on a complaint you filed, you can contact the OAG or the California Department of consumer affairs with questions.

Contact the California OAG

You can contact the California Office of the Attorney General in the following ways:

  • The California Attorney General address for mailing is:

Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

  • You may call the Attorney General phone number: (916) 210-6276 or (800) 952-5225
  • You may fill out an online complaint form against a business online.
  • You may fill out an online question form for the OAG online.

Insurance

The referral chart from the Office of the Attorney general sends complaints about insurance claims, title questions, and bail bonds to the Department of Insurance in California. This department handles a variety of consumer issues. There are multiple forms available for the California Department of insurance complaints based on the type of issue you are facing.

There is a California Department of Insurance complaint form for independent medical review as well as health insurance and non-health insurance complaints.

On its website, the Department of Insurance recommends against printing and mailing a complaint form. According to a red warning on the page, mailing forms to the California Department of Insurance address “may delay the process.”

How to File a Complaint With the Department of Insurance

To submit a complaint with the California Department of Insurance licensing or DOI, you may use a printable form or complete one online. The DOI recommends online options.

If you choose to print a form and mail it, you may print the health complaint form, the non-health complaint form, a health care provider complaint form, or the individual medical review program form.

The Department of Insurance in California has only three options for online forms. You may complete the online version of the individual medical review program form, a complaint form template against a health care provider, or a generalized online complaint template that covers all other areas.

The insurance complaint form will ask for specifics and details about the incident including supporting documentation. As you only have thirty minutes to work through the pages of the complaint, be sure you find and sort your information first. Consider writing everything in a separate document so that you can copy it into the official form during the time limit.

Also, the DOI encourages users to complete the complaint form as a registered user so that you have access to your complaint later for follow-up.

Contact the Department of Insurance

The California Department of Insurance contact information includes several options:

  • You may send mail to the California Department of Insurance address:

Consumer Services Division
300 South Spring Street, South Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90013

  • You may call the California Department of Insurance phone number: 1-800-927-4357
  • You may send the Department of Insurance an online inquiry via its contact form.

Health

The California Department of Health operates across several platforms. The California Department of Health Care Services covers a wide range of healthcare needs for providers and individuals including access to health insurance, mental health, and medical regulations. They also ensure that the state’s health care providers follow the California Attorney General advance healthcare directive.

While there is an area to report fraud under the DHCS, these complaints of abuse are limited to federal programs like WIC and state insurance programs like Medi-Cal.

The California Department of Managed Health Care, another platform of the health department, handles complaints.

In some cases, such as those involving adult care providers and in-home support services, specific health and care complaints are reported to the California Department of Social Services or CDSS.

A third platform covering health services in the state, the California Department of Public Health, handles widespread health concerns like emergency preparedness, food safety, and infection disease control among many other things. The CDPH provides nutritional and healthcare support to those most at need in California. It is also possible to contact the CDHP with complaints or concerns.

How to File a Complaint With the Health Department

California Department of Managed Health Care complaints are filed online or by mail. But before you can report your issue to the DMHC, you must first file a complaint with your health plan. The DMHC provides an overview and instructions for this process, which will be handled by your individual plan.

California health department complaint

You cannot submit your issue with the Department of Managed Health Care until you have participated in the grievance process with your provider for thirty (30) days. There is an exception to this rule, however, if “there is an immediate threat to your health or the request was denied as experimental/investigational.

If you have participated in the grievance process for thirty days, but not found a resolution, you may file a complaint to the DMHC. You may submit your claim in various ways, but the DMHC recommends the online submission.

To submit by mail or fax, you will need to complete a printable PDF form, to send or scan to the department. The online complaint form is a single page with spaces to complete. The website suggests preparing documents ahead of time to use as attachments in the process.

Issues submitted via the form are decided within 45 days. In some cases, the case may be decided within 7 days. The website states that 60 percent of patients receive the service they have requested following the complaint process. Once the department of health has reviewed the case and made a determination, the health plan must follow the decision and provide the service requested.

IMR complaint form

It is also possible to file and complaint with the California Department of Public Health about a healthcare facility. You do not need to be a patient or an employee. The website explicitly states that “anyone can file a complaint against a health-care facility – a patient or facility resident, a relative or friend, even a general member of the public.”

You can file a complaint with the DPH by phone, fax or by mail, but the most direct way is by using the online complaint form. To start, type in the name of the health care facility and complete a short form about the incident in question.

The form does ask for information you can attach to support your claim, but it is optional. It is also possible to remain anonymous using this form, but that will limit your ability to follow up on the complaint. You can also print the form to keep a record.

Contact the Health Department

You may contact the California Department of Health Care Services in several ways:

  • Send your complaint to the Health Care Services Department by mail:

Department of Health Care Services
P.O. Box 997413, MS 0000
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413

  • You may call the California Department of Health Care Services phone number at (888) ​452-8609
  • You may email the Ombudsman for this department at MMCDOmbudsmanOffice@dhcs.ca.gov

To contact the California Department of Public Health, you may:

The California Department of Managed Health Care can be reached out in the following ways:

  • You may contact the DMHC by mail:

Department of Managed Health Care
980 9th Street, Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95814

  • You may contact the DMHC by phone: 1-888-466-2219
  • You may contact the DMHC by fax: 916-255-5241
  • You may file a complaint online.

Employment, Labor and Workforce Development

Labor concerns in California are overseen by two departments. The California Department of  Employment is officially called the Employment Development Department or EDD. The second California Department of Employment is the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, or LWDA.

The LWDA is a cabinet-level agency in California that oversees the rights and benefits for workers. The program ensures a level playing field, access to training, and administers benefits like workman’s compensation and unemployment insurance.

How to File for Unemployment Benefits

The Employment Development Office handles requests for unemployment benefits. If you need to file for unemployment in the state of California, you will first create an Unemployment benefits account. Then you will need to provide the required information about your state of employment to establish what benefits you may be eligible for. This process is the same for benefits related to COVID-19 unemployment and unemployment not related to the pandemic.

To register with the program, start by setting up your account using this EDD page and filing your claim within the first week of unemployment. According to the instructions and tips, you will need the following things before beginning the application:

  • Employer information including address and phone number;
  • The reason for the unemployment;
  • Gross earnings in your last week;
  • Information on all employers you’ve had in the past 18 months;
  • Citizenship status;
  • Certain ex-military and federal employment documentation.

Once you have assembled your documentation, you can file your claim online or by filling out the twelve-page printable form and mailing your application. According to the EDD, filing online is the fastest way. You also have the option to file for benefits over the phone by calling 1-800-300-5616.

After submitting your application, you will be contacted by mail and will likely have additional steps to take. One of those steps is completing an online resume viewable by potential employees. According to the EDD, it can take three weeks to process a claim and begin paying unemployment benefits.

How to File a Complaint With the Labor Department

The EDD handles consumer issues like unemployment benefits, disability insurance, and complaints about fraud. The Labor Commissioner’s Office, a third organization, actually handles complaints about wages and labor laws.

If you are looking to file a California Labor Department complaint about an unfair or illegal labor practice, the Labor Commissioner’s Office, or LCO, allows you to complete this process online or by submitting the forms in person at a local office.

To submit the California Labor Department complaint, you will need to complete the printable version of the form found here, print it, and either deliver it by hand or mail it to the closest LCO office.

Or you can gather the necessary information and complete the multi-page online form. Be sure that your complaint is about an unfair labor practice. If you are complaining about your unpaid wages, you can complete the necessary form here.

Contact the California Department of Employment

As there are many departments overseeing labor laws, regulations, practices, and benefits, you have several options for contact.

  • You may call the LWDA at the California Labor Department phone number: 1-916-653-9900
  • You may call the EDD at the California Unemployment Department phone number: 1-866-333-4606
  • You may reach the LCO about a labor complaint by phone: 1-844-522-6734
  • You may also submit a complaint to the LCO online.
  • You may find a local LOC office to call or visit in person using this alphabetized list.

Children’s Justice

According to its website, the California Department of Child Support Services, or DCSS, “works with parents and guardians to ensure children and families receive court-ordered financial and medical support.”  This California Department of children justice helps children by establishing paternity, modifying and enforcing court orders for child support, following through with parents in the Department of Corrections, as well as ensuring health care coverage.

How to File a Complaint With the Department of Child Support Services

The nature of involvement with the DCSS is based on court orders. A court order determines the amount of child support owed to a parent from another parent. The DCSS facilitates the payment of that amount by withholding support from the paying parent’s paychecks.

The receiving parent can choose to have the funds directly deposited into a bank account, paid by check or paid on a pre-paid credit card every month. If you have a question or concern about the process, there is not an online way to report your case. Instead, you are asked to call the California Department of Child Support if you have issues or questions with payments.

FAQ child support payment

Contact the DCSS

You may contact the California Department of Child Support in two ways:

  • You may contact the DCSS by phone: 1-866-901-3212
  • You may contact the DCSS by mail:

Department of Child Support Services
P.O. Box 419064
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9064

Finances

The California Department of Business Oversight, or DBO, handles the various financial divisions within the state. It is, in effect, the California department of finance. As the California Department of financial institutions, the DBO oversees several areas of finance including public banks, credit unions, traditional banks, and money transmitters.

How to File a Complaint with the Department of Finance

To file the California department of banking complaints of any kind, you will work through an online complaint form provided by the DBO. The DBO recommends filing a complaint with the California department of finance through its website even if you are filing in other areas as well. According to its consumer complaint website, the DBO “relies on your complaints to help us protect consumers, borrowers, investors, and to obtain redress for them when victimized by unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices.”

To file a California department of financing complaint, you have a choice to submit your complaint online or to print your forms and mail them to the DBO. You can find the PDF version of the complaint form.

You also have the option to complete the DBO complaint form online. To do this, you will first gather all supporting documentation, then complete the fill-in-the-blank boxes. Be sure to save the number you are given when you complete the application as you will need it when checking the complaint status on the DBO website.

Contact the Department of Business Oversight

There are several ways to contact the California departments of finance and banking.

  • You may contact the by mail:

Attn: Consumer Services
1515 K Street, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95814

  • You may contact the DBO by phone: 1-866-275-2677
  • You may complete an online complaint form for the DBO.

Government agencies, such as the California Office of the Attorney General and the others highlighted above exist for consumer and employee protection. If you feel you have been taken advantage of or that you are the victim of illegal activities, notify the appropriate agency about your concern.

If applicable, seek professional legal advice as well about how to best handle your complaint against the company. Remember that these organizations are not lawyers on your behalf, but by notifying them about fraud or unethical practices, they can step in to protect other consumers, publish alerts and warnings, and penalize or even close the businesses as necessary.

Freelance Writer By Rebecca Garland
Business and Education Expert

Rebecca Garland, M.S. is a business and education writer. She holds secondary teaching certifications in six areas, has a degree in Business, and earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. As an expert, Rebecca has been working with international clients since 2005.

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Legal disclaimers:

1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.

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