“It contains a misleading impression, not a lie. I was being eco­nomical with the truth.”
—Robert Armstrong

Consumer fraud in Arizona is illegal. Consumer fraud is defined as any deception, deceptive act or practice, false pre­tense, false promise or misrepresentation made by a seller or advertiser of merchandise. Concealment, suppression or failure to disclose a material fact also is consumer fraud if it is done with the intent that others rely on the factual omission. “Mer­chandise” means objects, wares, goods, commodities, intangi­bles, real estate or services.

A victim of consumer fraud may file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. If it appears to the Attorney General that a person or company has engaged or is engaging in consumer fraud, he may obtain from the superior court an injunction prohibiting that person or company from continuing the unlawful activity. The court may also enter an order to restore to a consumer fraud victim any monies or property which were acquired by unlawful means. A consumer com­plaint form can be obtained by contacting the Office of the Attorney General, telephone (602) 542-5763 (Phoenix), (520) 628-6504 (Tucson), or (800) 352-8431; www.azag.gov/consumer/complaintformintro.html. A complaint can also be filed online at the Attorney General’s Web site.

If a court finds that a person or company has willfully violated the consumer fraud laws, the Attorney General may recover from the violator, on behalf of the state, a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.

The consumer fraud laws do not apply to owners or pub­lishers of newspapers or magazines which print advertise­ments, or to the owners or operators of radio or television stations which broadcast advertisements, when the owner, publisher or operator has no knowledge of the intent, design or purpose of the advertiser.

The consumer fraud laws also create a private cause of action for consumer fraud victims. Thus, a victim of consumer fraud may bring a lawsuit against the person or company guilty of consumer fraud for money damages. The lawsuit must be brought within one year from the date the claim arises.

The above article is an excerpt from Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, 2nd Edition (Fenestra Books, 2012), by Donald A. Loose, republished with the author’s permission. 

Disclaimer: Laws change constantly. Specific legal advice should be obtained regarding any legal matter. The information contained on this website does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created. 

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Donald A. Loose is an Arizona attorney, and the author of Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, and Estate Planning in Arizona: What You Need to Know.  Mr. Loose is a regular guest on radio shows featuring local newsmaker interviews. He may be contacted at don@looselawgroup.com.