The County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs has a long history of working to ensure a fair marketplace for L.A. County residents.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recognized the need to have a department who could advocate for L.A. County residents, act as the central clearinghouse for consumer complaints and disseminate consumer protection information. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) was established under Ordinance 11166 by the Board of Supervisors on July 1, 1975. We officially opened to the public on April 15, 1976.
On January 13, 2015, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to add the County’s Office of Small Business to DCA and to change the name of our department from the Department of Consumer Affairs to the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA). Now, the Department serves both consumers and small businesses in Los Angeles County. DCBA now assists with certifying local small businesses and helping those who wish to start a small business in Los Angeles County.
Starting in 2016, the Board of Supervisors tasked DCBA with enforcing the new Los Angeles County minimum wage. DCBA's Wage Enforcement Program accepts complaints of alleged minimum wage violations for residents who work in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
Our mission is to serve consumers, businesses and communities through education, advocacy and complaint resolution to promote a fair and vibrant marketplace in Los Angeles County.
In our first year of operation, Shirley Goldinger was appointed as the Department’s first Director. Our primary focus during these early years was to answer questions from consumers and investigate consumer complaints.
Shirley Goldinger served as Director until 1991. She was succeeded by Pastor Herrera, Jr., who served as our Director for 19 years. Brian J. Stiger serves as the current Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.
The Department’s resources and areas of assistance have greatly expanded over the past 40 years. In addition to assisting with general consumer complaints, the Department now helps Los Angeles County residents with issues involving real estate fraud, identity theft, elder financial abuse, Small Claims Court, mediation, foreclosure, small business development, and minimum wage enforcement. All of our services are free.
The Department has developed a close working relationship with many law enforcement, prosecuting, and legal aid agencies. Many of our investigations have led to criminal arrests or civil judgments.
The Department has made many improvements in recent years to improve our efficiency, meet the growing demand for our services and assist more consumers. With the help of the Internal Services Department, we created eComplaints, our new online consumer complaint intake and case management system. Under the leadership of Director Stiger, we created our first-ever Consumer Education and Public Outreach Unit to concentrate and streamline our efforts to educate consumers. We’ve also expanded our mediation program to include court-connected mediations which are conducted on-the-spot at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.
On December 2, 2013, the Department expanded its Homeowner Notification Program to include the Notice of Default and Notice of Sale. The expanded program will allow us to help consumers facing foreclosure explore their options to retain their home and prevent them from being victimized by foreclosure consultants.
Our Department is often recognized for the positive impact of our programs. We have received local, state, and national awards throughout the years for delivering effective service and working efficiently to maximize our resources.
Here is a list of some of our recent awards:
2009—Our Foreclosure Prevention Project received the National Association of Counties Achievement Award and the California State Association of Counties Merit Award for helping consumers avoid foreclosure.
2010—The Department’s Real Estate Fraud Prevention team received the L.A. County SUPER STARS award for its foreclosure prevention efforts.
2011—The Department received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for working in partnership with the Department of Children and Family Services and the Probation Department to aid foster youth who were victims of identity theft and/or had errors on their credit reports.
2012—The Department was awarded the Special Merit Award from the Quality and Productivity Commission for our Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program.
2013— The Department won the 2013 Silver Eagle Award from the L.A. County Quality and Productivity Commission for eComplaints, our new online consumer complaint intake and case management system. The new web-based system allows consumers to quickly and easily file complaints and submit questions online. The case management features helped to improve the processing of new complaints, reduce the average time to close a case, and reduce the number of aging cases.
2015— The Department, along with our partners at the Department of Community and Senior Services and Los Angeles Superior Court, won a National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for our mediation program, "Improving Mediation Success Through a County-Court Partnership."
We remain committed to our mission of promoting a fair and vibrant marketplace in Los Angeles County and look forward to many more years of serving L.A. County consumers and businesses.