Should You File a Complaint
with the Consumer Protection Division?

The Consumer Protection Division enforces consumer laws in the State of New Mexico that are intended to shield the public from fraudulent and unfair business practices. Under the Unfair Practices Act, the Division provides multi-level services to the public to ensure that consumers have safe and satisfactory interactions with businesses operating in New Mexico. Specifically, the Consumer Protection Division:
  • Tracks and monitors complaints against businesses operating in New Mexico;
  • Offers complaint resolution services to dissatisfied consumers;
  • Educates the public about consumer issues and unlawful trade practices;
  • Investigates suspicious business activity;
  • Proposes legislation and promulgates rules to clarify acceptable business      
    behavior; and
  • Engages in litigation on behalf of the public interest.

Whether the Consumer Protection Division will get involved in a dispute depends upon whether we have authority over the matter and on available staff resources. The following is a list of the types of complaints the Consumer Protection Division will not attempt to resolve due to lack of authority or jurisdiction.
Government entities
The Consumer Protection Division does not handle disputes involving city, county, state or federal government entities.
Child support disputes
This is a domestic relations issue that is within the jurisdiction of the New Mexico district courts.
Divorce and other domestic relations matters
The Consumer Protection Division does not have the authority to resolve divorce and other domestic relations. These should be brought privately to the court of appropriate jurisdiction.
Criminal issues
The police department and the office of the district attorney should be contacted regarding disputes that involve criminal acts.
Disputes between individuals not involving a business
The Unfair Practices Act of New Mexico (Section 57-12-1 through 24) deals with any person involved in “the regular course of his trade or commerce”. Therefore, if one of the parties involved in a civil dispute is not engaged in a trade, our Office does not have authority to enforce the parties’ agreement.
Disputes purely involving the sale of land
The sale of land is not covered under the Unfair Practices Act. However, if the sale of land also includes, for example, the extension of credit, then our dispute resolution services are available to the public. The extension of credit is a trade practice covered under the Unfair Practices Act.
Collection of personal or business debts
The Consumer Protection Division does not have the authority to serve as a collection agency for private individuals or businesses. Our office gets involved, however, when a business is attempting to collect a debt from a consumer and the collection practice is unfair or unconscionable.
Homeowners’ association members in disputes with their association
The Consumer Protection Division encourages citizens who have such a dispute to present the dispute to the homeowners’ association using its bylaws, which are the rules that govern the association’s internal affairs to resolve the dispute. If all else fails, then the association member should file a private civil lawsuit, either with or without a legal representative.

When to File a Complaint

If you are a New Mexico consumer who is experiencing a dispute with a business or if you are a resident of another state and have a dispute with a New Mexico business, you should file a complaint after other attempts at negotiation fail.