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Arizona has defined consumer fraud as, "Any deception, unfair act or practice, false statement, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation made by a seller or advertiser of merchandise (A.R.S. §44-1522(A)). In addition, concealment, suppression or failure to disclose a material fact may be consumer fraud if it is done with the intent that others rely on such concealment, suppression or nondisclosure. Merchandise may include any objects, wares, goods, commodities, intangibles, real estate, or services. 

The Arizona Attorney General has the authority to bring actions alleging violations of the Consumer Fraud Act and other state and federal consumer protection laws. A private citizen can also bring an action for a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act within one year from the date the claim arises.

If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you may file a consumer complaint. For consumer inquiries, or to request a complaint form, call (602) 542-5763 (Phoenix), (520) 628-6648 (Tucson), or toll-free outside of metro Phoenix, (800) 352-8431," (azag.gov/consumer).

 

To file a consumer complaint, visit www.AZAG.gov/complaints/consumer

 

Q: What happens if my new car is a lemon?

A: You might be able to cancel the purchase if you bought it from a dealer. You must notify the dealer and give them an opportunity to fix it first. If it continues to be a problem, you must notify the dealer that you are cancelling the purchase and must return it intact. Arizona’s “lemon law” (A.R.S. §44-1261 - §44-1267) covers new and used vehicles purchased from a dealer.  Also, the warranty on a new motor vehicle includes a period of two years or 24,000 miles following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer, whichever is earlier (A.R.S. §44-1262). For a used motor vehicle, the warranty period runs before midnight of the 15th calendar day after delivery of a used motor vehicle or until it is driven 500 miles after delivery, whichever is earlier (A.R.S. §44-1267).

 

Q: What exactly is a warranty?

A: There are two types of consumer warranties: express and implied. Under Arizona law, express warranties by the seller are created by:  

  • Any affirmation of fact or promise made by the seller to the buyer, which relates to the goods and becomes part of the bargain creates an express warranty that the goods will meet the promise. (A.R.S §47-2313(A)(1)).
  • Any description of the goods, which is made part of the bargain, creates an express warranty that the goods will meet the description. (A.R.S §47-2313(A)(2)).
  • Any sample or model, which is made part of the bargain, creates an express warranty that goods will meet the sample or model (A.R.S §47-2313 (A)(3)).
  • Implied warranties occur where the seller, at the time of contracting, has reason to know any particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the buyer is relying on the seller’s skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods. Under this section of the Arizona laws, implied warranty means:
  • The goods are fit for the regular purposes for which the goods are used; and
  • The goods meet the promises or affirmations of fact made on the container or label (A.R.S §47-2314).

 

Q: I have three days to cancel a purchase, right?

AMany consumers mistakenly believe they have three days to back out of any purchase. However, there are very few cases in which this right applies. In very specific circumstances this may be true such as when purchasing a new home. Home solicitation sales under the Arizona Home Solicitation Sales Act (A.R.S. §44-5001 - §44-5008) provides buyers three business days to cancel certain sales if the seller personally solicited the sale and the buyer agreed to buy a good or service at the buyer’s home. Additionally other statutes require cancellation periods for certain kinds of contracts, such as for health spa services or dance studio lessons. It is always important to understand what you are agreeing to when making purchases, especially large ones. Other important information to consider when purchasing items:

  • Business days include Saturdays, but not Sundays or federal holidays
  • You must notify the lender in writing when canceling a purchase as a phone call or a face-to-face conversation does not cancel the purchase
  • The written cancellation notice must be mailed, wired, or delivered before midnight of the third business day
  • It is best to send your mail by registered or certified mail with a return receipt requested to prove you mailed the letter in time and to ensure your lender received it

 

Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.