How Do I Check Out a Company?
How do I check out a company that I am considering doing business with?
Can I find out if the Attorney General's Office has received consumer complaints
against a particular company?
The California Attorney General solicits and maintains consumer complaints
from the public regarding companies doing business in our state. These are used
to assist our Consumer Law Section in determining patterns of deceptive or unfair
business activity which require formal investigation or legal action. The complaints
we receive are unsubstantiated and are considered to be law enforcement investigative
material. For this reason, it is our policy not to release information from
our files except to law enforcement agencies. Further, we feel that it would
be unfair to legitimate businesses to comment on the existence of complaints
which have not been proven, and which may provide a misleading impression to
Because the information which we are able to provide is limited, we recommend
that if you have any doubts about a company's business practices, you should
investigate the company thoroughly. Here are some of the things you might research
before entering into any business dealings.
Ask for a list of references. The list should include companies from whom
they purchase their materials, as well as distributors or customers to which
the company sells. Ask for a business statement. A business statement should
describe the daily practices of the company. It should also provide general
information on the company, such as the number of years in business, all of
their locations, the owners of the company and a description of the organizational
structure of the business. Ask the company what licenses they had to obtain
and who to contact to verify their licenses. Also, ask what precautions the
company has taken to verify that all of their actions are legal within the State
For those thinking of investing in a company, it is also advisable to inquire
about a stock portfolio or an income statement. These documents will provide
the investor with information on the company's assets and liabilities.
The Better Business Bureau of the community where the business is located
may be able to provide information on complaints received about the firm. They
may also be able to tell you if the company is responsive to consumer problems.
The answers to such questions may enable you to detect whether the business
is legitimate and will help to protect you against the possible loss of your
money and time. While we cannot comment on the legitimacy of a particular company,
we do hope that you take all of the necessary safeguards to protect your interests.
We hope this information is both useful and helpful to you.
For further information:
Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov
Better Business Bureau: http://www.bbb.org