Consumer fraud is a term that encompasses deceptive and fraudulent techniques used by retailers, dealerships, manufacturers, and businesses. New Mexico has laws that protect the consumer from being misguided and cheated by these unfair practices–namely, the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act (UPA). The UPA is pro consumer and it clearly states what businesses cannot do when advertising or selling their products.
Consumer fraud can occur from a local mom-and-pop shop, car dealerships, big businesses, and even by phone solicitations. We have all seen ads that are too good to be true, and when you get to the business, of course, it is. This type of false advertising is against the law in New Mexico and you can be compensated for damages due to the businesses’ violation.
Another fraud, which is way too common, is car dealerships selling cars that have been in a prior accident and repaired, but not disclosing this to the new buyer. Just because repairs were made, and the car appears to be in good shape, does not mean a disclosure is not warranted. In fact, the value of the car should be decreased due to the previous accident, but instead, the dealership will still charge full retail and not disclose the prior accident. Now, understand, this is not every dealership, nor is this every used vehicle, but it does happen quite often from both big and small dealerships. It is an effort of the dealership to get top dollar for a vehicle that it paid a low price for–i.e. increases its profit margin tremendously.
However, consumer deception and fraud is certainly not limited to these two scenarios. It happens in banking, insurance, repair shops, retail sale of goods, and pretty much any business in which a consumer depends on statements or actions of that business.