“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela

By Christine Anderson Ferraris

The Arizona Consumer Fraud Act (the Act) provides a person (which could be a person or business as defined under the Act) with a legal remedy when harmed by any person, by an unlawful act, use, or practice in connection with a sale or advertisement of merchandise. The Act prohibits unfair and deceptive business practices. The Act broadly defines “Person” as any natural person or the person’s legal representative, partnership, domestic or foreign corporation, any company, trust, business entity, or association, any agent, employee, salesman, partner, officer, director, member, stockholder, associate, or trustee. Irrespective of whether the questionable act or practice was intentionally misleading, deceptive or caused damage, the challenged act could be declared an unlawful practice.

An injury occurs when a person relies on the misrepresentation; reasonable reliance on the deceptive act is not required. The deadline for filing a claim, that is the Statute of Limitations found at Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-541(5): there shall be commenced and prosecuted within? one year…a liability created by statute, other than a penalty or forfeiture. This period only begins running when the defrauded person discovers or, with reasonable diligence, could have discovered the deceptive act. Remedy under the act is cumulative, in addition to all those offered under other causes of action: a claimant may seek recovery against any person who acquired “any monies or property, real or personal, by means of any practice declared to be unlawful under the Act. Generally, a private party recovers for actual damages incurred by the unlawful act or practice. Punitive damages may be recoverable if the wrongdoer’s conduct is found to be wanton, reckless, shows spite, ill-will, or shows a reckless indifference to the interest of others.

While it may be possible for you to seek remedy to file a lawsuit, you may want to start with filing a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Consumer Information and Complaints Division, which you can do online at this web address: https://www.azag.gov/consumer/procedure. Here are guidelines for filing a complaint suggested by the Consumer Information and Complaints:
• Make a list of the issues you want to address and do your best to separate your feelings from the facts. Present the events in the order in which they occurred, using dates whenever possible.

• Keep in mind, your complaint should describe the event or practice that was misleading to you, and how it misled you.

• Keep copies of contracts, letters, advertisements, sales slips, proof of payment, warranties, text messages, emails, and other papers or other documents that may support your complaint. Be sure to keep your original documents for your own safekeeping.

A pattern of complaints or serious violations may lead to an investigation or, possibly, a lawsuit brought by the State of Arizona for violation of the Act.

The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only. This information may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Links provided are only for the convenience of the reader, A. Ferraris Law, PLLC and its members do not endorse the contents of the third-party references.

Copyright©2022, A. Ferraris Law, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

Christine Anderson Ferraris and her firm, A. Ferraris Law, assist consumers and business owners harmed by the government, or another business. She has been for several years the race director for the CV50/50 children’s trail run in Colossal Cave Mountain Park each November.

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