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Consumer Protection

Who We Are

Section Mission:

To protect the public from consumer fraud, antitrust and anti-competitive conduct. To provide advocacy and public education on consumer protection issues with an emphasis on fraud and abuse. To enforce tobacco laws and orders and to help reduce underage sale of tobacco products. To provide legal representation in judicial and administrative cases and legal advice and assistance in legislative and rule-making matter to state agencies.

Consumer fraud, as defined by Arizona law, is any deception, unfair act or practice, false statement, false pretense, false promise or misrepresentation made by a seller or advertiser of merchandise. 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 here. For consumer inquiries, or to request a complaint form, call (602) 542-5763 (Phoenix), (520) 628-6504 (Tucson), or toll-free outside of metro Phoenix, (800) 352-8431.

 


Sections

The Public Advocacy Section is made up of 4 units:

Agency

Agency

The Agency Unit provides representation for a number of state agencies. These include the Departments (“Departments”) of Agriculture, Financial Institutions (Banking), Game & Fish, Insurance, and Real Estate.

The attorneys and staff of this Unit assist and support the Departments in a variety of circumstances in an effort to protect the general public. These include issues concerning licensing, interpretation of the law, enforcement of the agencies’ respective statutes and rules, advice on following the laws pertaining to public records and open meetings, and representation at administrative hearings conducted at the Office of Administrative Hearings and any subsequent appeals.

Department of Real Estate (“DRE”): A primary responsibility of the DRE is the licensing and monitoring of real estate salespersons and brokers, and real estate continuing education courses and schools. In addition, DRE administers the Arizona Real Estate Recovery Fund, issues Public Reports, audits property managers and subdivisions, investigates complaints, and audits business practices. The Agency Unit provides legal advice and representation in advisory and disciplinary matters, including revocation of licenses and defending the Commissioner’s decision to approve or deny an application to the Arizona Real Estate Recovery Fund.

Department of Insurance (“DOI”): The DOI’s mission is to promote a strong insurance marketplace through consumer protection, sound financial regulation, and economic development. The Agency unit provides DOI with legal representation in matters regarding producer and company licensing and provides advice and representation to the Arizona Insurance Guaranty Funds. The Agency Unit also supports the DOI’s dedication to solvency regulation by assisting DOI to detect and deter insurer financial deficiencies and unsound practices and endeavoring to minimize the impact of insurer insolvencies on Arizonans.

Department of Financial Institutions (“DFI”): The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions is statutorily charged with the licensing, supervision and regulation of state-chartered financial institutions and financial enterprises. DFI is responsible for ensuring the safety and soundness of the financial industry in Arizona and compliance with state and applicable federal laws. It also investigates complaints filed by consumers against licensed entities and directs appropriate remedial action of the violations are substantiated. The state-chartered financial institutions regulated by DFI include banks, credit unions, trust companies, trust divisions and savings and loan associations. The state financial enterprises regulated by DFI include advance fee loan brokers, collection agencies, commercial mortgage brokers and bankers, consumer lenders, debt management companies, escrow agents, loan originators, money transmitters, mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, motor vehicle dealers, premium finance companies, pre-need funeral trusts (licensed by the Funeral Board) and sales finance companies.

The Agency Unit provides legal advice and representation in advisory and disciplinary matters, including Cease and Desist Orders, Notices of Assessments, and license revocations and denials. The Agency Unit also provides legal representation in defending the Superintendent’s decisions in contested cases and appealable agency actions. Further, the Agency Unit defends and prosecutes actions in Superior Court on behalf of DFI.

Department of Game & Fish: The Arizona Game and Fish Department is responsible for the management and conservation of all wildlife in Arizona. The Department issues hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, and regulates the take and possession of wildlife. The Department is also responsible for watercraft registration and enforcement of Arizona’s boating laws and the laws governing the use of off-highway vehicles. The agency unit provides legal representation to the Department on all matters except employment litigation, and property and casualty claims.

Department of Agriculture (“ADA”): The ADA’s mission is to regulate and support Arizona agriculture in a manner that encourages farming, ranching, and agribusiness while protecting consumers and natural resources. The ADA is divided into three main divisions: environmental services, animal services, and plant services, though it also has a State Agricultural Laboratory, a citrus, fruit and vegetable standardization and inspection program, and an agricultural consultation and training program. The ADA oversees the Office of Pest Management, which is a separate state agency that regulates and licenses pest control businesses. The ADA also provides assistance through ISAs to several independent state boards, including the Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee, the Arizona Grain Research & Promotion Council, the Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council, the Arizona Citrus Research Council, and the Arizona Agricultural Employment Relations Board. The Agency Unit provides general legal advice to the ADA and all of the associated state agencies described above as well as legal representation with respect to licensing matters.

 

Antitrust

Antitrust

The Antitrust Unit (“ATU”) protects competition and consumer welfare in Arizona by enforcing Arizona’s antitrust statutes. We investigate alleged price fixing, bid rigging and group boycott agreements between competing businesses (“horizontal arrangements”). ATU also reviews anticompetitive conduct by firms having a significant market share. When asked, ATU provides advice to state agencies regarding their antitrust questions.

The legislature has tasked ATU with collecting gasoline pricing within the state. ATU regularly analyzes the pricing data and keeps the Attorney General informed about gasoline pricing issues. In May 2004, ATU issued a gasoline pricing report, which is available on the Attorney General’s website.

ATU has conducted four prescription drug pricing surveys and issued reports on each survey. ATU’s most recent report was released in 2004.

Click here to learn more about Gasoline Prices.

Consumer Litigation Unit

Consumer Litigation Unit

The Consumer Litigation Units in Phoenix and Tucson enforce the Consumer Fraud Act. Consumer fraud, as defined by Arizona law, is any deception, unfair act or practice, false statement, false pretense, false promise or misrepresentation made by a seller or advertiser of merchandise. 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.

Tobacco Enforcement Unit

Tobacco Enforcement Unit

The Tobacco Enforcement Unit (“TEU”) is tasked with ensuring that tobacco manufacturers comply with state laws and enforcing groundbreaking tobacco settlements (MSA) that benefit state health programs.

TEU also manages the Arizona Youth Tobacco Counterstrike Program, a cooperative effort with the Arizona Department of Health Services, targeting underage tobacco sales.