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Colorado Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Just about any advertisement or commercial contains an element of deception: the vague suggestion that a certain car will make you more adventurous or that a breakfast cereal will help you become more healthy. But in legal terms, deceptive trade practices include more blatant acts of fraud, tampering, or outright lies. For instance, virtually all state deceptive trade practice laws prohibit the tampering of a used car's odometer or bait-and-switch advertising tactics.

Colorado Deceptive Trade Practice Laws at a Glance

The Colorado Consumer Protection Act (PDF) identifies certain business practices that are considered deceptive, outlining civil and criminal penalties for violations and related trade regulations. The statute, which adopts the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, addresses general consumer protection provisions and also provides details about specific practices and specific industries. The types of actions prohibited under Colorado's deceptive trade practice laws include (but are not limited to):

  • Knowingly selling used or damaged goods as new and unblemished
  • Knowingly making false representations as to the source or certification of the goods
  • Falsely disparaging the goods or services of another business
  • Advertising under the guise of hiring sales personnel when the real intent is to sell products or services to the applicants
  • Knowingly failing to identity water- or fire-damaged goods

Additional provisions of Colorado's laws prohibiting deceptive trade practices are listed in the table below, with links to related resources.

Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted Yes; "Colorado Consumer Protection Act, an Update" (6-1-101)
False Advertising Forbidden Yes (§6-1-105)
Who May Bring Suit Class action; attorney general; private citizens; district attorney (§6-1-113)
Remedies Available The amount of actual damages, $500, or 3 times the actual damages, whichever is greatest if established by clear and convincing evidence that the person engaged in bad faith; cost of reasonable attorney's fee
Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden Yes (§42-6-202)

Note: State laws are always in flux and often change through the passage of new statutes, rulings from higher court judges, and voter-approved ballot initiatives. Be sure to contact a Colorado consumer protection attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

How to File a Consumer Complaint in Colorado

In order to file a consumer complaint for an alleged violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, contact the Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section. The complaint process is indexed by subject. For instance, to make a complaint against a payday lender, you would click on the "Consumer/Payday Lenders & Creditors link and either select the electronic complaint form or download and print a paper complaint form.

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