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CONSUMER CORNER FAQs

 

From in-store to online purchases, today's consumer can be overwhelmed and faced with a wide variety of concerns. Below are a few examples of questions you may have. If you would like to discuss a specific consumer issue, please feel free to email us at consumer@dao.sccgov.org or call (408) 792-2880.​

1. Do I have three days to cancel the purchase of a new or used car?
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California's Car Buyer's Bill of Rights states that there is no cancellation period for new cars. A new car contract is valid as soon as it is signed by both the seller and the buyer. When buying a used car, consumers may purchase the right to return the car within 2 days. The cost for this added protection depends on the price of the car​

2. I want to return an item and get my money back. Is a store required to take back my purchase and give me a refund?
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No. Sellers are not required by law to accept returned items unless they are defective. However, California law requires retailers to inform consumers about their refund policy. Some companies may limit exchanges or returns for credit or refund on all, or some products. Some may not allow exchanges or returns for credit or refund at all. But whatever the limitation, it must be conspicuously disclosed. Before making a purchase, check the store's policy. ​

3. Can a mechanic demand more money for a car repair than shown on the estimate?
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The mechanic must get your consent for any work not included in the estimate; this can be done by telephone, fax or email. By law the mechanic is not permitted to charge you more than stated in the written estimate without your agreement.​

5. My credit report contains inaccurate information. What can I do?
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You can dispute the report with both the credit reporting agency (CRA) and the business that provided the inaccurate information. You can do it online, on the CRA's website, or by letter, preferably sent via certified mail. The CRA must investigate the error within 30 days.​

6. A merchant charged me an extra fee for the use of my credit card. Is this wrong?
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Merchants are prohibited from charging extra fees, also known as surcharges, when someone pays with a credit card. The merchant can however give a discount if you pay by cash.​

7. The item i purchased scanned at a higher price than what was listed. Can I get the listed price?
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The store is required by law to charge you the lowest of the advertised or posted price on any scanned item when you purchase. You should bring it to the store’s attention so that the price can be adjusted. If the problem is not resolved, contact the Santa Clara County Weights and Measures office to report the scanner error. ​

8. Does a travel agent need to be registered?
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Travel agents in California are required to register with both the Attorney General's Office and the California Travel Consumer Restitution Fund. A copy of that registration should be displayed in a place easy to see by customers and on all advertising. Should there be a problem with the travel agent or the travel arrangements, only the customers of registered agents may obtain restitution from the State Restitution Fund.​

9. I ordered a product from a door-to-door salesman, but I changed my mind. Can I cancel my order?
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Virtually any consumer transaction in the amount of $25 or more which takes place in the buyer's home or away from "appropriate trade premises" can be canceled by the buyer, without penalty or obligation. The consumer must give proper written notice within three business days after the buyer signs the contract. The cancellation notice is required to be printed on the contract. ​
10. What can I do to reduce the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls?
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You can add your home and cell phone numbers, at no charge, to the National Do Not Call Registry at (888) 382-1222/(866) 290-4236 TTY. You must call from the phone number you wish to register. ​

Last updated: 8/16/2018 11:59 AM