Under the direction of the Attorney General and Consumer Advocate, the Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP) enforces various consumer protection statutes, in particular deceptive trade and antitrust laws, through the filing of lawsuits on behalf of the State of Nevada and the public good. BCP cannot represent individual consumers in these lawsuits, nor can BCP assist individual consumers with their own private legal disputes. BCP also advocates the consumer's voice in cases involving the rates and service of privately-owned utility (telephone, electric, and natural gas) companies before the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada and similar government agencies.
For further information on consumer issues, call the Bureau of Consumer Protection Hotline: 702.486.3132.
What is deceptive trade?
When a consumer is buying a good or service, the seller cannot deceive the consumer about the good or service, as defined under the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act (NRS 598) and its related laws. A deceptive trade practice includes a seller making a false statement or misrepresentation about its goods or services, or failing to disclose material facts about its goods or services. Not all fraudulent activity is illegal under the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act, such as when another law applies that regulates a particular industry or is more specific. Examples of what is not deceptive trade include timeshares, landlord/tenant issues, debt collection, and bank or credit card problems. Other government agencies, not BCP, may handle these types of matters.
How can I learn more about fraud? What government agencies can assist me?
Visit the Nevada Fight Fraud website to learn more about fraud and the government agencies that may be able to handle your concerns.
View BCP's announcement for information concerning the Nevada Consumer Affairs Division.
What laws govern the sales of goods or services by Telephone?
There have been Legislative changes to NRS 599B that concern such matters.
How does BCP decide what deceptive trade lawsuits to bring?
By performing investigations, BCP learns of cases that indicate a pattern of deceptive activity that substantially affect the public interest in Nevada. BCP brings these lawsuits on behalf of the State of Nevada and the public good (but not individual consumers). The lawsuits can be civil.
What are the antitrust laws? Why is antitrust important?
The antitrust laws protect free and open competition in the marketplace, by prohibiting certain anti-competitive acts by companies. Although ultimately the courts decide what specific acts are illegal based on the facts of each case, the antitrust laws generally identify the following as illegal behavior, among others:
- Restraining trade, such as when competitors agree to fix prices, rig bids, allocate (divide up) customers, restrict output, or engage in group boycotts
- Monopolizing a product through exclusionary conduct that suppresses competition
- Companies merging when the effect may substantially lessen competition
BCP is responsible for civil and criminal enforcement of Nevada's antitrust law, NRS 598A, and has authority to file civil and criminal actions under federal antitrust statutes.
To learn more about the antitrust laws, please review more detailed information authored by the Federal Trade Commission on the topic.
Antitrust offenses almost always raise the prices paid by consumers and discourage the introduction of new and better products. Being forced to pay illegally high prices is the equivalent of having money stolen from you. When companies pay too much for a product, they tend to pass on the illegal extra costs through price increases to their own customers. When state or local governments pay too much for products because of antitrust violations, either taxes must be raised or services must be reduced.
What utilities work does BCP do?
BCP represents the public interest before the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, federal utility regulatory agencies, courts and all other forums with jurisdiction over Nevada public utilities. The role before these bodies is to advocate for reliable utility service at the lowest reasonable cost-particularly for residential and small business customers of public utilities. BCP is actively involved in federal and state regulatory and legislative proceedings related to the restructuring of the telecommunications, electric, natural gas, and alternative energy industries.