Dispute Resolution Services
The Central California Better Business Bureau (BBB) may be able to help you resolve your complaint. The BBB offers a variety of free and local dispute resolution services including conciliation, mediation and arbitration. They also have national programs related to specific market place problems arising in the following areas: auto warranty, lemon law, telecommunications, moving and storage and manufactured housing. They are located in Fresno and Bakersfield and serve the Fresno, lnyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono and Tulare counties. You may make a complaint directly with the BBB. You can visit their website at http://cencal.bbb.org/ or contact them using the information below.
Central California Better Business Bureau
4201 W. Shaw Avenue, Suite 107 Fresno, CA 93722
Phone: (559) 222-8111 Fax: (559) 228-6518
Bakersfield Office1601 H Street, Suite 101 Bakersfield, CA 93301
Phone: (661) 322-2074 Fax: (661) 322-8318
Small ClaimsYou may wish to pursue your case in a small claims court. A small claims action can be used to recover up to $7,500 in damages. You do not need an attorney to file a case in small claims court. If you need assistance in preparing a case for small claims court, you may contact the Small Claims Legal Advisor. There is no charge for their services. They also provide free clinics for the public about small claims every month. NOTE: They do have Spanish speaking representatives available to assist you. The Small Claims Legal Advisor is located inside the offices of the Central California Better Business Bureau at 4201 W. Shaw, Suite 107, Fresno, CA 93722. The phone number is (559) 256-6303.
Contact a Licensed California Attorney
You may also want to contact an attorney licensed to practice in California. The Kings County Bar Association maintains an Attorney Referral Service which can arrange for a consultation with a licensed local attorney for a small administrative fee. You may contact the referral service at (559) 584-3337.
Low Cost Legal ServicesIf you believe you may qualify for low cost legal assistance you should contact the Central California Legal Services (CCLS) at (559) 570-1200. CCLS employs licensed California attorneys that have experience assisting persons with legal issues in the following areas: housing, health, consumer, family, education, immigration and public benefits. You can also visit their website at http://www.centralcallegal.org/ for additional information. CCLS maintains offices in Fresno, Merced and Visalia. Their main office is located in Fresno at 2115 Kern Street, Suite 1, Fresno, CA 93721.
Administrative Enforcement by a Government Entity
There are many federal, state and local government agencies that exist to protect consumers from possible fraud in the marketplace and to ensure industry standards. Many times it is necessary that you directly file a complaint with the agency that oversees businesses like the one involved in your complaint. For example, if you are complaining about work done on your home by an unlicensed contractor, you should make a complaint to the State of California Contractors State License Board.
Many (but not all) of the consumer protection agencies operating in the State of California are part of the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Department of Consumer Affairs website is an excellent resource for learning about your rights and identifying the correct agency to contact regarding your complaint. You can visit their website at http://www.dca.ca.gov or contact them by telephone at (800) 952-5210.