New Mexico Deceptive Trade Practices Laws


Deceptive trade practices laws in the State of New Mexico are dealt under New Mexico Statutes, Chapter 57 (Trade Practices and Regulations), Article 12 (Unfair Trade Practices), Section 1 et seq.  ‘Trade and Commerce’ is defined in Section 57-12-2, to include advertising of goods and services.  Therefore, as described under Section 57-12-3, any trade or commerce carried out with unfair, unconscionable or deceptive intent are unlawful.  According to Section 57-15-6, an Attorney General can institute a civil proceeding against any person upon reasonable belief that such person had violated any of the provisions of this Article.  Under Section 57-15-5, an Attorney General or the district attorney or a private citizen of the State of New Mexico may bring an action in the name of the state against any person to restrain or prevent any violations of the Article.  Furthermore, any person or a class of persons injured or damaged by an unfair or deceptive trade practice by another can bring an action, to recover actual damages, under Section 57-12-10.

Under Section 57-12-10, an injured person can recover actual damages against violations of this Article.  The Court may also grant an injunction, order to recover actual damages or the sum of $100, whichever is greater.  The Court may also award up to three times actual damages or $300 if it finds that the violation was willful.  The Court may also award reasonable attorney fees and costs to the prevailing party. In any class action filed under this Article, the court may award damages to the named plaintiffs and may award members of the class actual damages.

Pursuant to Section 57-12-11, an Attorney General can recover a civil penalty not exceeding $5000 from a person who willfully engages in any deceptive trade practices in this State.

According to Section 57-15-4, any person, firm, corporation or association or agent or employee thereof who engages in any of the acts or practices made unlawful by this act shall be liable to a civil penalty not exceeding $ 500 for each violation.

Any willful misrepresentation of the age or condition of the motor vehicle by any person, will invite an award three times the actual damages and s/he will be guilty of misdemeanor under Section 57-12-6.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-12-3

Unfair or deceptive and unconscionable trade practices prohibited
Unfair or deceptive trade practices and unconscionable trade practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are unlawful.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-15-6

Civil investigative demand
A. Whenever the attorney general has reason to believe that any person may be in possession, custody or control of an original or copy of any book, record, report, memorandum, paper, communication, tabulation, map, chart, photograph, mechanical transcription or other tangible document or recording which he believes to be relevant to the subject matter of an investigation of a probable violation of Section 57-15-1 NMSA 1978, he may prior to the institution of a civil proceeding, execute in writing and cause to be served upon the person, a civil investigative demand requiring such person to produce documentary material and permit the inspection and copying of the material. The demand of the attorney general shall not be a matter of public record and shall not be published by him except by order of the court.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-15-5

Injunctions to prevent violation.
A. The attorney general of the state of New Mexico or the district attorney of the district in which the violation occurs or a private citizen may bring an action in the name of the state against any person to restrain and prevent any violation of this act [57-15-1 to 57-15-5, 57-15-9, 57-15-10 NMSA 1978]. Any proceeding initiated under this section by a private citizen shall be initiated on his behalf and all others similarly situated.
B. The court in exceptional cases brought by private citizens may award reasonable attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party. Costs or attorneys’ fees may be assessed against a defendant only if the court finds that he has willfully engaged in false advertising.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-12-10

Private remedies
A. A person likely to be damaged by an unfair or deceptive trade practice or by an unconscionable trade practice of another may be granted an injunction against it under the principles of equity and on terms that the court considers reasonable. Proof of monetary damage, loss of profits or intent to deceive or take unfair advantage of any person is not required. Relief granted for the copying of an article shall be limited as to the prevention of confusion or misunderstanding as to source.
B. Any person who suffers any loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of any employment by another person of a method, act or practice declared unlawful by the Unfair Practices Act [57-12-1 NMSA 1978] may bring an action to recover actual damages or the sum of one hundred dollars ($ 100), whichever is greater. Where the trier of fact finds that the party charged with an unfair or deceptive trade practice or an unconscionable trade practice has willfully engaged in the trade practice, the court may award up to three times actual damages or three hundred dollars ($ 300), whichever is greater, to the party complaining of the practice.
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N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-12-11

Civil penalty
In any action brought under Section 57-12-8 NMSA 1978, if the court finds that a person is willfully using or has willfully used a method, act or practice declared unlawful by the Unfair Practices Act [57-12-1 NMSA 1978], the attorney general, upon petition to the court, may recover, on behalf of the state of New Mexico, a civil penalty of not exceeding five thousand dollars ($ 5,000) per violation.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-15-4

Civil penalty
Any person, firm, corporation or association or agent or employee thereof who engages in any of the acts or practices made unlawful by this act [57-15-1 to 57-15-5, 57-15-9, 57-15-10 NMSA 1978] shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than five hundred dollars ($ 500) for each violation, which shall inure to this state and may be recovered in a civil action brought by the attorney general or, with his consent, the district attorney of the district where the act is committed. In any such action it shall be a complete defense that the advertisement is subject to and complies with the rules and regulations of, and the statutes administered by the federal trade commission.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-12-6

Misrepresentation of motor vehicles; penalty
A. The willful misrepresentation of the age or condition of a motor vehicle by any person, including regrooving tires or performing chassis repair, without informing the purchaser of the vehicle that the regrooving or chassis repair has been performed, is an unlawful practice within the meaning of the Unfair Practices Act [57-12-1 NMSA 1978], unless the alleged misrepresentation is based wholly on repair of damage, the disclosure of which was not required pursuant to Subsection C of this section. The failure to provide an affidavit pursuant to Subsection B of this section when there has been repair for which disclosure is required shall constitute prima facie evidence of willful misrepresentation.
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