Deceptive trade practices are acts (or omissions) by businesses that mislead consumers, such as tampering with a used car's odometer or engaging in bait-and-switch advertising tactics.
State business laws prohibit practices considered "deceptive" to consumers, such as rolling back the odometer on a used car or using false advertising. Unlike many other states, Arizona does not adhere to the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. But Arizona deceptive trade practice laws prohibit false advertising and odometer tampering
Arizona deceptive trade practices law bans false advertising, making it a misdemeanor charge and empowering the state Attorney General to file suit against the offending party. Note that there is no statutory language that indicates a consumer or private party may bring an action.
These types of laws don't always make things fool-proof for consumers, however. For example, using disclaimers (typically in smaller print) often gets companies off the hook for otherwise deceptive acts. And claiming your product is "all natural," for example, merely suggests a certain quality without making specific claims.
Fair Debt Collection laws
Another area of the law aimed to protect consumers is the regulation of debt collection. Arizona law prohibits debt collectors from engaging in a range of deceptive and intrusive tactics when collecting money on behalf of a creditor. Arizona also requires collection agencies to be licensed.
The Arizona law is similar to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal law that protects people who owe money for consumer debts from abusive collection practices. However, because the Arizona law is a criminal statute, unlike the FDCPA, it does not allow individuals to sue collection agencies for violating the law.
The basic provisions of Arizona's deceptive trade practice laws are listed in the following chart, with links to relevant sources below.
|Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted||No|
|False Advertising Forbidden||Yes (§44-1522; §13-2203); Class 1 misdemeanor|
|Who May Bring Suit||Attorney general (§44-1524); No language that indicates a consumer or private party may bring an action.|
|Remedies Available||Subpoena; injunction, civil damages (§44-1526-1528); if willfully violated: $10,000 civil penalty (§44-1531); violating injunction: $25,000 penalty (§44-1532).|
|Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden||Yes; Class 1 misdemeanor (§44-1223)|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Arizona consumer protection attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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