The New Mexico Department of Justice Consumer Protection Division is dedicated to the protection of New Mexico citizens, including the most vulnerable residents of this State.
The Attorney General team of attorneys, investigators and legal staff uphold New Mexico and Federal laws designed to maintain a fair and competitive business environment while protecting consumers from all types of unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices.
The Division collects reports, receives complaints and conducts investigations, and litigates when necessary, to stop unfair and deceptive practices, recover refunds for consumers, seek penalties against offending entities, and recover costs and fees to ensure that wrongdoers pay for their actions.
The Consumer Protection Division provides information and education to businesses and the public on consumer issues and issues alerts and press releases to warn consumers and businesses about fraudulent or predatory activities.
The Division also advocates on behalf of New Mexico’s energy and utility ratepayers.
The Division has responsibility for the enforcement, and defense against the tobacco industry, of New Mexico’s Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) – which promotes the public health and protects the state’s fiscal soundness.
The Consumer Protection Division oversees charitable organizations (501(c)(3)s and organizations that identify themselves to the public as having a charitable purpose; except for religious and educational organizations, as defined in the Charitable Solicitations Act that exist, operate or solicit contributions in our state.
The Division is particularly active in pursuing recovery for New Mexico taxpayers, and works confidentially with whistleblowers who identify fraud and false claims which deplete the public treasury. Under state law, the Attorney General has the power to seek recovery of three times the amount of misused funds and to impose monetary penalties for fraud. These mechanisms aid the Attorney General in making taxpayers whole and in deterring false claims against the State.
The Litigation Division represents the State of New Mexico in a variety of legal matters related to the enforcement of New Mexico’s antitrust laws. This work is intended to ensure fair competition among businesses and to protect consumers. In antitrust matters, the Division often collaborates with the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and other state attorneys general. Antitrust matters handled by the Litigation Division include lawsuits to enforce New Mexico’s Antitrust Act, reviews of proposed mergers and acquisitions for any anti-competitive effects, and investigations of potential violations of antitrust laws.
As the Attorney General’s bankruptcy counsel, the Division takes the lead in representing the State and its various agencies in major national bankruptcy actions. On the local level, by inter-agency agreement, the Division represents the Taxation and Revenue Department in matters pending before the New Mexico Bankruptcy Court, where more than 8,000 New Mexico taxpayers seek relief in a typical year.
The Division also conducts investigations and takes enforcement actions to protect New Mexicans from unlawful solicitation practices by New Mexico charities and ensures that charity assets are used for their intended charitable purposes.
The Attorney General is charged with enforcement of the Master Settlement Agreement, a 1998 agreement between many of the cigarette manufacturers and 46 states including New Mexico. The Division enforces the agreement by filing lawsuits against cigarette companies that fail to abide by their legal obligations; auditing escrow payments made by non-participating manufacturers for sales in the state; requiring compliance by the manufacturers to the statutory reporting requirements; and working closely with the Taxation and Revenue Department to assure that sales are compliant and escrows are paid. Further, the Division maintains and continually updates the statutorily required tobacco webpage directory so that all currently compliant manufacturers and brands are listed for public view.