Consumer Resource Guide - For more information on addressing common issues and topics, please review the Colorado Attorney General’s Consumer Resource Guide. Please be advised the information contained within the Resource Guide should not be taken as legal advice. Consumers seeking a legal opinion should consult with a licensed attorney.
Odometer fraud is the illegal practice of rolling back an odometer to make it appear that a motor vehicle has lower mileage than it actually does. Any person who disconnects, resets, or alters the odometer on a motor vehicle with the intent to defraud a subsequent purchaser or lessee is in violation of federal law.
If you suspect odometer fraud with a vehicle purchase, report it:
If you desire a legal opinion or representation relating to your specific situation, we recommend contacting a private attorney or one of the services that provide legal assistance through the local bar association and/or other legal entities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) primary mission is to “save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes.” One of the most important ways in which the agency carries out its safety mandate is to issue Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
Through these rules, NHTSA strives to reduce the number of crashes and to minimize the consequences of those crashes that do occur. To learn more about vehicle safety standards or to report vehicle safety concerns, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Many consumers feel most vulnerable when dealing with the inevitable need to take their car to a mechanic, whether it is for minor service or major repairs. The Motor Vehicle Repair Act, C.R.S., 42-9-101 to 113, was adopted in order to provide consumers with some control over what can easily become a major expenditure.
Under that Act:
To report possible violations of The Motor Vehicle Repair Act, contact your district attorney’s office.
Deception or misrepresentations regarding vehicle repairs may also violate the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). If you believe you have been a victim of a vehicle repair fraud or if you wish to report suspicious activity, report it to the Colorado Attorney General.
Rental car companies are required to give to persons renting cars written disclosures of the terms and provisions of any collision damage waiver sold as part of the rental contract as well as other disclosures pertaining to financial and personal liability.
Failure to provide these written disclosures may be a violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) and should be reported to the Colorado Attorney General
No state or federal agency directly regulates the prices charged by gasoline refiners, wholesalers, or retailers. Prices are established in each local marketplace by each competitor independently and without agreement with a competitor.
Similarity of prices in a local marketplace is NOT, by itself, evidence of a conspiracy since competitor’s prices are publicly disclosed. However, if you have direct evidence that local competitors are actually agreeing on prices, report it to the Colorado Attorney General’s Anti-Trust Unit.
The Colorado Department of Labor – Division of Oil and Public Safety not only overseas safe storage and use of petroleum products, the agency also handles complaints regarding gas pumps that appear to be reading inappropriate amounts, as well as certain pricing issues and measurement issues.
If you suspect petroleum contamination or believe a gas pump may not accurately reflect your purchase, contact the Department of Oil and Safety.
In Colorado, a “salvage vehicle” is any vehicle that is damaged by collision, fire, flood, accident, trespass, or other occurrence, excluding hail damage, to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle to a roadworthy condition and for legal operation on the highways exceeds the vehicle's retail fair market value immediately prior to such damage.
For more information regarding salvage vehicles or to report possible fraud pertaining to a vehicle purchase, contact the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles.
After July 1987, any vehicle must have all the original emissions equipment at the time of sale and it is the responsibility of the seller to provide the buyer with proof. Information on Colorado motor vehicle emission requirements is available through the Colorado Department of Revenue – Department of Motor Vehicles.
For additional information or where you can find an emissions testing location, check with Air Care Colorado.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no three-day right to cancel on a car purchase. If a consumer signs a contract to purchase a vehicle, he or she has bought the car and must abide by the contract stipulations or face potential consequences, including legal action.
If someone cancels or backs out of a deal, the dealer may or may not hold them accountable for the entire amount -- it is up to the dealer. But if they allow the contract to be voided, the dealer can only keep $500.00 of the consumer's deposit, unless a greater loss to the dealership can be substantiated, such as mileage or damage to the vehicle.
While there is no three-day right to cancel on a car purchase, deception or misrepresentations during the sales process may violate certain Colorado Department of Revenue – Auto Industry Enforcement Division regulations and/or constitute a violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). If this may be the case, report it.
The Colorado Lemon Law may require a manufacturer of a new car to replace that car or to repurchase that car if a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value of the car cannot be corrected. Colorado's Lemon Law, C.R.S. 42-10-101 through 42-10-107, covers only new self- propelled vehicles, including pickups and vans, but does not cover motor homes and motorcycles. It is unclear whether Colorado’s Lemon Law applies to leased vehicles.
To qualify for relief under the Lemon Law, the vehicle must have been in for repair four or more times for the same defect; or the vehicle is out of service for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days during the warranty term or one year after purchase, whichever comes first..
Complaint filing process for Lemon Law:
To initiate the Lemon Law process, consumers must first notify the manufacturer by certified mail of the problem after their car has met the criteria outlined in the previous paragraph. (Consult your owner's manual to find out where to write and for specific regarding your auto manufactures complaint procedures). Consumers then can participate in an informal dispute settlement procedure if the manufacturer offers it.
If the settlement offered through the dispute settlement procedure is unsatisfactory to the consumer, he/she can file suit. The suit must be filed within six months following the expiration date of any warranty term or within one year following the date of the original delivery of a motor vehicle to a consumer, whichever is the earlier date. If a manufacturer has established or participates in an informal dispute resolution procedure (for example, through the Better Business Bureau), you must pursue that remedy before you can sue.
If you suspect fraud, If you suspect fraud or wish to report suspicious activity, report it to the Colorado Attorney General.
Auto Dealer Purchases:New and used auto purchases handled through a dealer are regulated by the Colorado Department of Revenue – Auto Industry Enforcement Division. Consumers with questions or concerns regarding their auto purchase should contact the Auto Industry Enforcement Division.
Deception or misrepresentations during the sales process may also constitute a violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). If this may be the case, report it to the Colorado Attorney General.
Individual Auto Sales:
Auto purchases made through individuals or a private party are not typically regulated thought the Auto Industry Enforcement Division. Rather traditional contract rules typically apply to any private auto purchase transaction, including vehicles purchased “AS IS”. As a result consumers should have any vehicle checked out by an independent certified mechanic and should fully understand all contract terms prior to executing/signing a purchase agreement.