Consumer Complaints

Making a Consumer Complaint

The Consumer Complaint unit handles and mediates approximately 100 complaints per year. If you have a complaint against a business, arising out of a business transaction or attempted transaction, and would like to file a complaint with our office, please download the Consumer Complaint Form (PDF), Forma De Queja De Consumidores (PDF), completely fill it in, attach copies of all documents relating to the transaction, and mail it to:

Napa County District Attorney's Office
1127 First Street
Suite C
Napa CA 94559

If you have any questions about your complaint or the form, please call the Consumer Complaint Help Line at 707-253-4059, or email us.

Recommendations (Be Advised)

Be advised that a copy of your complaint will be sent to the person or entity you are complaining about for their side of the story.

Be advised that the District Attorney's Office cannot act as your private attorney or give you legal advice. If you need legal advice, go to legal remedies for assistance. This office will evaluate your complaint for mediation or for potential enforcement action. If we determine that your complaint involves the violation of laws by a business or its owner, our office may file a civil or criminal enforcement action against that business.

The primary purpose of such an action will be to punish the business or owner by seeking fines, penalties, court orders, and even jail time. Such an action may also seek restitution on your behalf, but there is no guarantee that restitution will be recovered. Further, during such an action, we cannot represent you, give you legal advice, or keep you apprised of the case.

Legal Remedies

Small Claims Court

If the Consumer Complaint Unit is unable to resolve your complaint or if it is deemed to be a civil matter another option would be to file a small claims action in the Napa Superior Court. Small Claims Court is a special court to provide citizens with a quick and inexpensive way to collect claims up to $10,000. You must be 18 years old to file a claim. Minors must have the court appoint a guardian to sue for them.

How to File a Claim

Go to the Court Executive Office in the Historic Courthouse, at 825 Brown Street, Napa, and ask for the small claims clerk. You need the defendant's exact legal name and address. You must fill out a court form saying who you are suing and for how much and that you have tried to resolve the dispute. You must pay a small filing fee or get the fee waived. The defendant must be served with a copy of the claim. This can be done for a fee by the Sheriff's Department, or the Small Claims Court Clerk may serve the claim by Certified Mail. It can also be done by a process server, a friend, or a relative; however, you can't do it yourself.

Bring to court all witnesses, books, papers and receipts you may need to prove your case. Lawyers are not allowed in Small Claims Court, but before going to court, you may consult an attorney or ask the court to provide assistance. The trial is informal. The judge is experienced in settling disputes and will come to a decision based on the facts, law, and common sense. If you obtain a judgment against a defendant, the court clerk will tell you ways to collect your money if the defendant fails to pay the judgment.

Need help? Napa County operates a Small Claims Court Advisor Program to assist you. Call 707-253-4524. The Small Claims Advisor is available by telephone Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Additional help may be found on the Napa County Superior Court's website.

Legal Aid

Bay Area Legal Aid - Napa County (formerly Napa County Legal Assistance Agency) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide free, competent legal assistance to seniors, immigrants and low-income residents of Napa County. Legal Aid represents clients before courts and agencies, helps them obtain benefits, and protects their rights through advocacy, consultation, education and referrals.