General Consumer Issues/Complaints

Advertising

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Section
1525 Sherman Street, 7th Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 1-800-222-4444 (in Colorado)
Phone: 1-800-332-2071 (out of state)
Fax: (303) 866-4916

Complaints about advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised and making false representations of fact are types of advertising which are prohibited under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. Complaints can be filed with the Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s Office.

False advertising by motor vehicle dealers is also handled by the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board within the Auto Industry Division at the Colorado Department of Revenue.

See also “Automobile Sales – NEW” and “Automobile Sales - USED” in this Resource Guide under “Automobiles – General”.

Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Phone (Consumer complaints): 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)

FTC Regional Office (includes Colorado)
901 Market Street, Suite 570
San Francisco, CA 94103

The Federal Trade Commission enforces federal laws dealing with false, deceptive or unfair advertising and related practices.

Council of Better Business Bureaus
National Advertising Division
Director of Communications
70 W. 36th Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 705-0120
Fax: (212) 705-0136 

The National Advertising Division’s (NAD) goal is to foster public confidence in the credibility of advertising by encouraging truthfulness and accuracy in advertisements. The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) establishes policy and Procedures for NAD.

See “Better Business Bureaus” in this Resource Guide.

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Airline Service Complaints

Commercial airlines are regulated exclusively by the federal government. If you experience air travel service problems, you should contact:

Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 7th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590
E-mail: airconsumer@dot.gov

Consumers may call 24 hours each day at 202-366-2220 (TTY 202-366-0511) to record your complaint. Calls are returned Monday through Friday, generally between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm Eastern time.

If you have concerns about airline safety, you should call the Federal Aviation Administration toll-free at 1-800-255-1111. Consumers with concerns about aviation security should register their comments with the Transportation Security Administration at www.tsa.gov/.

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Attorney General - Consumer Protection Section

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Section
1525 Sherman Street, 7th Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 1-800-222-4444
Fax: (303) 866-4916

Protects consumers and legitimate businesses against fraud and maintains a competitive business environment by (1) enforcing state and federal consumer protection and antitrust laws, including Colorado's telemarketing no-call, charitable solicitation, and mortgage fraud laws; (2) enforcing Colorado’s laws on consumer lending, debt collection, rent-to-own, and credit repair; (3) educating consumers and businesses through outreach and educational programs; (4) advocating on behalf of the Office of Consumer Counsel for residential, small business and agricultural public utility ratepayers; and (5) implementing and enforcing Colorado's rights and obligations under the national tobacco settlement agreements and related tobacco laws and tobacco education efforts.

Tens of thousands of consumer inquiries are received and between 3,000 to 5,000 written complaints are processed annually by the section. If a consumer would like to file a complaint we must receive the information in writing. If a matter is in litigation or in the process of settlement, we will process the complaint ourselves, if not it will be sent to the BBB for processing and possible mediation.

Colorado Consumer Line
Phone: (303) 866-5189
Phone: 1-800-222-4444
Fax: (303) 866-4916

The Colorado Consumer Line is a service of the Attorney General, the Colorado Better Business Bureaus and AARP ElderWatch. Consumers can now use this toll-free number to report elder fraud, file a complaint (by requesting a complaint form or downloading one online), access business reviews on businesses or charities, and get other consumer information.

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Automated Dialing

C.R.S., 18-9-311(1): Prohibits a telemarketer from using an automated dialing system with a prerecorded message for the purpose of soliciting consumers to purchase goods or services, unless there is an existing business relationship between the telemarketer and that consumer. Consumers should report such calls to their local District Attorneys.

This statute does not cover political or charitable calls.

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Better Business Bureaus

Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau
1020 Cherokee Street
Denver, CO 80204-4039
Phone: (303) 758-2100
Fax: (303) 758-8321 
E-mail: info@denverbbb.org

Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado & Greater Wyoming
8020 South County Road 5, Suite 100
Fort Collins, CO 80528
Phone: (970) 484-1348 (Larimer and Weld Counties)
Phone: (800) 564-0371 (Colorado & Wyoming)
Fax: (970) 221-1239
E-mail: info@mountainstates.bbb.org

Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado
25 N. Wahsatch
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: (719) 636-1155
Fax: (719) 636-5078
Toll-free: (866) 206-1800
Pueblo Office
503 N. Main Street, Suite LL108
Pueblo, CO 81003
Phone: (719) 542-1605
Fax: (719) 542-1627
E-mail: info@bbbsc.org

Better Business Bureau, Four Corners & the Western Slope
308 North Locke Ave.
Farmington, NM 87401-5855
Phone: (505) 326-6501
Fax: (505) 327-7731 

You can contact any of these Better Business Bureaus directly or through the Colorado Consumer Line: 1-800-222-4444. CCL is a joint effort between the Colorado Attorney General, AARP ElderWatch, and these four BBB’s. You can file a consumer complaint, seek more formal mediation services, or inquire about a business’ complaint record.

The BBB in the area where the company is located handles complaints dealing with misleading advertising, improper selling practices, non-delivery of goods or services, misrepresentation, unhonored guarantees or warranty, unsatisfactory service, credit/billing problems, and unfulfilled contracts. The BBB does NOT handle employment practices, discrimination, or the prices charged for goods or services unless they involve misrepresentation. The BBB will also not handle cases that are already involved in litigation.

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Buyers Club

A "buyers' club" involves the advertising or selling of memberships that provide an exclusive right to members to purchase goods, food, services, or property at purported discount prices. Under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, where a membership fee is in excess of $100, the sponsor of the buyer’s club must provide a written disclosure of the purchaser’s right to cancel the membership contract for any reason at any time prior to the close of business on the next day following the day the purchaser signs the membership contract. C.R.S., 6-1-706.

If consumers are unable to resolve a complaint with buyer’s club, small claims court is one avenue of relief. Complaints may also be filed with the Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s Office. To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form.

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Chambers of Commerce

Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
1445 Market Street
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 534-8500
Fax: (303) 534-3200
E-mail: dmcc@den-chamber.org

Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
924 West Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80204
Phone: (303) 534-7783
Fax: (303) 595-8977
E-mail: info@dhcc.com

Boulder Chamber of Commerce
2440 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 442-1044
Fax: (303) 938-8837
E-mail: info@boulderchamber.com

Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce
2 North Cascade Suite 110
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: (719) 635-1551
Fax: (719) 635-1571 

The Chambers offer information on merchants in the area, workforce development, education, healthcare, growth and land use management, transportation and small business development. Contact the Denver Chamber for information on how to reach Chambers of Commerce in other Colorado cities.

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Complaint Form

File a consumer complaint concerning a business or other entity by visiting this page, calling 1-800-222-4444 or sending an e-mail to stop.fraud@state.co.us.  

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Condominiums

See “Homeowner Associations” in this Resource Guide

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Door-to-Door Sales

Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240
Washington, DC 20580
Phone (General): (202) 326-2222
Phone (Consumer Protection): (877) 382-4357

Certain door-to-door sales of $25 or more may be covered by a Federal Trade Commission Rule (16 C.F.R. Part 429), that gives consumers three business days to cancel such sales.

Details regarding this rule (including important exceptions, procedures, and time limits) are available from the Federal trade Commission at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro03.shtm

WARNING -- You should be extremely careful about allowing anyone into your home that is soliciting uninvited at your door. This is true whether the solicitor is an adult or a child.

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Employment Agencies

When you use a private employment agency for job counseling or to find a new job, you should be aware of some important rights you may have under Colorado law. Some of these include:

  • If you are required to pay a fee to the employment agency for a job placement, there must be a written contract between you and that employment agency. That contract must include specific provisions for refunds and extended payment options.
  • The private employment agency may not charge any fee before you are placed in employment.
  • If your employment terminates for any reason within 100 calendar days, you cannot be required to pay a fee to a private employment agency in excess of one percent of the total fee for each calendar day elapsed between the beginning and termination of employment. A private employment agency must refund any portion of a fee paid by you in excess of this amount. If the private employment agency fails to make this refund, it is liable to you for the refund and for an additional sum equal to the refund.

It is unlawful for any private employment agency to knowingly:

  • Send an applicant to any fictitious job or position or make any false representation concerning the availability of employment;
  • Send an applicant to any place where a strike or lockout exists or is impending without notifying the applicant of the circumstances;
  • Conspire or arrange with any employer to secure the discharge of an employee or give or receive any gratuity or divide or share with an employer any fee, charge, or remuneration received from any applicant for employment;
  • Circulate or publish, by advertisement or otherwise, any false statements or representations to persons seeking employment or to employers seeking employees;
  • Fail to refund fees to an applicant where such refund is due;
  • Advertise or represent the availability of fee-paid positions where no cost accrues to the applicant if hired in such a manner as to confuse such position with other available positions which are not available on a fee-paid basis;
  • Advertise or represent that an available position is available on a free or no fee basis or otherwise indicate that no charge or cost accrues to anyone when in fact the employer is obligated to pay a fee contingent upon the acceptance of employment of the applicant; or
  • Advertise for any position, including personnel for its own staff, without identifying in the advertisement that it is a private employment agency.

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Funerals

ere is some basic information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (from a February 2003 publication entitled “Orientation and Resource Manual For Medical Advisors and Public Health Officers”).

“Question: (A) What are the requirements for disposition of remains or cremains, (B) is a funeral director necessary and (C) does the body have to be embalmed?

Answer: (A) There is no requirement that a dead human body or fetus be buried in an established cemetery. Bodies or fetuses may be buried on private land unless local ordinances prohibit it. Cremation is considered “final disposition” and the State retains no control over disposition of the ashes. Remains or ashes may be disposed of as the next of kin desires except for any restriction by local ordinances. It is important to check any federal, county or local laws and ordinances first before disposing of remains.

(B) A funeral director is not required. However, the funeral director or person acting as such who first assumes custody of the body is the person primarily responsible for the process of completing the death certificate, obtaining the medical certification and filing it with the local registrar in the county of death.

(C) Embalming is not required if disposal is within 24 hours. However, a dead human body or fetus kept more than 24 hours before burial or cremation MUST be embalmed or properly refrigerated. The requirement is not specific concerning type or brand of container. The intent is to preserve the public health and the dignity with which the dead body is treated. The dead human body or fetus must be in a “tightly sealed container that will prevent the leakage of fluids or odor.”

Colorado Law
In Colorado, mortuaries (referred to generally as “funeral establishments”) are not licensed or regulated by any state agency or department. Practices of funeral establishments are governed in part by the Colorado Mortuary Sciences Code (12-54-101 through 201, C.R.S. ). Among other things, it is unlawful under this Code:

  • To discriminate because of race, creed, color, or national origin in the provision of funeral services.
  • For a funeral director, mortician, embalmer, or funeral establishment or such person's agent to engage in a business practice that interferes with the freedom of choice of the general public to choose a funeral director, mortician, embalmer, or funeral establishment.
  • To transport or otherwise transfer by common carrier a dead human body unless: (I) A funeral director or embalmer has embalmed or hermetically sealed the body for transportation and complies with applicable common carrier law; or (II) The transport or transfer is to a funeral establishment, funeral director, or embalmer within the state of Colorado.
  • For a funeral director, mortician, or embalmer to advertise as holding a degree in mortuary science, certificate of registration, professional license, or professional certification issued by a state, political subdivision, or agency unless the person holds such degree, registration, license, or certification and it is current and valid at the time of advertisement.
  • To refuse to properly and promptly release a dead human body to the custody of the person who has the legal right to effect such release whether or not any costs have been paid.
  • To tell a person that a casket is required when the expressed wish is for immediate cremation.
  • To embalm or cremate a dead human body without obtaining permission from the person with the right of final disposition unless otherwise required by law.

A funeral establishment whose services are purchased must make every reasonable attempt to fulfill your expressed needs and desires with the right of final disposition, and shall make a full disclosure of all its available services and merchandise to you prior to selection of the casket. Before you select the funeral, the funeral establishment must provide a written itemized list of the prices of all available merchandise and individual services at that funeral establishment. Full disclosure shall also be made in the case of a memorial service and as to use of funeral merchandise and facilities. In no event shall you be required to purchase services or products contained on the itemized list that are not desired for teh funeral unless such services or goods are required by law.  

Federal Law
The Federal Trade Commission has adopted a Regulation dealing with funeral industry practices (See 16 C.F.R. Part 453). Generally, this Regulation requires funeral establishments to provide detailed and accurate price information disclosing the cost to the purchaser for each of the specific funeral goods and funeral services used or provided by that funeral establishment. The funeral establishment must provide a typewritten price list for retention by the purchaser upon beginning discussion of the prices of funeral goods or services. The funeral establishment must also provide a typewritten price list for caskets or alternative containers and for outer burial containers.

See also “Preneed Funeral Contracts” in this Resource Guide.

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Health Clubs

Health club contracts may be canceled within three days of signing. Notice of this right must be spelled out in any contract.

After this three-day period, a buyer may cancel a health club contract for the following reasons: the buyer dies, the buyer becomes totally physically disabled, the health club is moved to a location or the membership is transferred to a location of the same club that is more than five miles from the location of the club when the buyer entered into the contract, the seller discontinues operation of the health club (subject to certain conditions). See C.R.S. 6-1-704(1)(c).

If a consumer’s complaint cannot be resolved with the health club, the consumer may file a complaint. To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form. Consumers may also pursue a small claims action.

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Homeowners Associations

Homeowner associations in Colorado are governed by the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act, §§ 38-33.3-101 through 319, C.R.S. (“CCIOA”). Common interest communities may include condominium developments, cooperatives, planned communities, or some combination of all of these. With a few exceptions, such as for small planned communities with less than ten units and new planned communities with relatively small annual assessments set in their declarations (less than $400 as adjusted by annual Consumer Price Index), this Act applies to all common interest communities created in Colorado on or after July 1, 1992.

Please note – Some condominium developments may also be subject to the Colorado Condominium Ownership Act (§§ 38-33-101 through 113, C.R.S.) to the extent not superseded by the CCIOA.

General Information

Homeowner associations are given significant authority under CCIOA, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Adopt and amend budgets for revenues, expenditures, and reserves and collect assessments for common expenses from unit owners;
  • Hire and terminate managing agents and other employees, agents, and independent contractors;
  • Institute, defend, or intervene in litigation or administrative proceedings in its own name on behalf of itself or two or more unit owners on matters affecting the common interest community;
  • Regulate the use, maintenance, repair, replacement, and modification of common elements;
  • Impose and receive any payments, fees, or charges for the use, rental, or operation of the common elements (except for certain limited common elements); and
  • Impose charges for late payment of assessments, recover reasonable attorney fees and other legal costs for collection of assessments and other actions to enforce the power of the association, regardless of whether or not suit was initiated, and, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, levy reasonable fines for violations of the declaration, bylaws, and rules and regulations of the association.

Unit owners have a right to receive from the association a written summary of any proposed budget (which must be done at least annually) within ninety days after its adoption by the executive board of the association. The association must give unit owners notice of a meeting to consider the budget. Unless provided otherwise in the declaration of the common interest community, the proposed budget will be deemed approved at the noticed meeting in the absence of a veto.

The association is required to keep financial records sufficiently detailed to enable it to comply with law concerning statements of unpaid assessments. All financial and other records must be made reasonably available for examination and copying by any unit owner and such owner's authorized agents.

Recent Amendments to CCIOA

During its 2005 legislative term, the Colorado General Assembly established some new protections for homeowners in a common interest community. Effective immediately, an association may not prohibit:

  • The display of the American flag by a unit owner on that unit owner’s property, in a window of the unit owner’s residence, or on a balcony adjoining the unit owner’s property – although the association may regulate the location and size of flags and flagpoles.
  • The display by a unit owner of a service flag bearing a star denoting the service of the unit owner or a member of the unit owner’s immediate family in the active or reserve military service of the United States during a time of war or armed conflict.
  • The display of a political sign by a unit owner on that unit owner’s property or in a window of the unit owner’s residence. An association may prohibit the display of political signs earlier than forty-five days before an election and later than seven days after an election and may regulate the size and number of political signs that may be placed on a unit owner’s property.
  • The parking of a motor vehicle on a street, driveway, or guest parking area if the vehicle is required to be available at designated periods at the unit owner’s residence if the residence is a bona fide member of a voluntary fire department or is employed by an emergency service provider and the vehicle has a gross weight rating of less than ten thousand pounds and bears an official emblem of the emergency service provider.
  • The removal by the unit owner of trees, shrubs, or other vegetation to create defensible space around a dwelling for fire mitigation purposes.
  • The replacement by a unit owner of cedar shakes or other flammable roofing material with nonflammable roofing materials for fire prevention and suppression purposes.

If you are selling your residence in a common interest community, please be aware that, beginning January 1, 2006, Colorado law will require you to provide to the buyer of your residence a number of specific documents relating to the common interest community and the homeowner association. You will also be required to provide the buyer with a disclosure statement acknowledging delivery of such documents and advising the buyer of certain obligations to pay assessments and to seek architectural review before making changes to the exterior of the residence.

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Landlord/Tenant - Security Deposits

C.R.S. 38-12-103 regulates the return of security deposits. The statute requires that a landlord return a security deposit within one month after the lease has been terminated or the surrender of the premises, whichever occurs last, unless a longer time has been specified in the lease (not longer than 60 days). The landlord may retain part of the security deposit for damages, however he or she may not retain any of the deposit for normal wear and tear.

If a landlord believes there is cause to retain part of the deposit a written notice must be given to the tenant listing the exact reasons for the retention of the deposit or the portion. The landlord must send the notice and return the portion of the deposit that will not be retained to the tenant's last known address.

If the landlord fails to provide the notice during the specified time outlined above, the landlord forfeits his right to retain any portion of the deposit. If the landlord unlawfully retains any portion of the security the deposit, the tenant may have the right to sue for triple damages in small claims court.

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Living Trusts

A living trust is an estate-planning device that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is created for the purpose of holding ownership to an individuals assets during his lifetime and distributing those assets at the time of his death. Usually the individual is also the trustee of the living trust and can control the assets even though they belong to the trust. The intent of the trust is to eliminate the need for probate of the individuals estate at his death. It is important to note that living trusts may not be right for everyone. You should contact your personal lawyer or other reputable estate-planning professional for advice.

Be wary of any individuals who try to sell you a living trust program by exaggerating the tax consequences or other costs of a simple will probate in Colorado. Such individuals may also claim that a living trust can be used to shelter your assets so that you can qualify for Medicaid or other low-income benefits programs. Such claims may not be true. Again, it is important for you to seek advice from your personal lawyer or other reputable estate-planning professional before you agree to purchase a “one size fits all” living trust program.

To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form.

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Magazine Sales

C.R.S. 6-6-103(2) covers unsolicited magazine sales and subscriptions. The statute provides that “the sender of a magazine or other periodical shall cancel a subscription if any invoice is returned by the recipient marked ‘cancel’. Cancellation shall also occur when the recipient gives written notice of cancellation to the sender at the sender's address or at the address of the subscription department printed in the periodical, or, if no such department is listed, at the general business address of the periodical.” Within sixty days after notice of cancellation for prepaid subscriptions, the sender shall refund to the recipient any amount paid for the subscription less the amount owed by the recipient for any periodicals, together with the postage thereon, if postage has been charged separately, received before the effective date of the notice of cancellation.

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Manufactured Housing - Mobile Homes

Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Division of Housing
1313 Sherman Street, Room 518
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 866-2033
Fax: (303) 866-4077

Factory built (modular) housing, commercial structures, and manufactured homes sold in this state must meet Colorado safety standards. The Colorado Division of Housing inspects these buildings to ensure the health and safety of Colorado residents who purchase these units. For more information about manufactured housing and factory-built structures visit the Division of Housing website at http://dola.colorado.gov/cdh/codes/index.htm.

Sellers of manufactured homes are required to register with the Division of Housing before engaging in the business of selling homes in Colorado. See C.R.S. 6-1-603. For landlord/tenant questions relating to the mobile home parks, see C.R.S. 38-12-201

To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form.

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Negative Option Plans

A lot of products (especially books, records, videos, and similar products) are sold through what are called “negative option” plans. Under a negative option plan, products are automatically delivered to you unless you affirmatively indicate that you do not want them. Legitimate book or record clubs, for example, will send you a new selection each month unless you previously indicated that you didn’t want the selection or were canceling your participation. Other, illegitimate companies may try and bill you for goods you did not order but were sent to you anyway. Under the Colorado Unsolicited Goods Act (C.R.S., 6-6-101) a sender of unsolicited goods is prohibited from sending a bill for such unsolicited goods or any dunning communications. Violation of this section shall constitute a class 2 petty offense, and, upon conviction thereof, the violator shall be punished by a fine of not more than $250.00. See “Unsolicited Goods" in this Resource Guide.

Unless otherwise agreed, where unsolicited goods are delivered to you, you have the right to refuse to accept delivery of the goods and are not bound to return such goods to the sender. If such unsolicited goods are either addressed to or intended for you, they shall be deemed a gift and you may use them or dispose of them in any manner you sees fit without obligation to the sender.

The Federal Trade Commission has a specific Rule dealing with pre-notification negative option plans (16 C.F.R. Part 425) – including book, music and video clubs where you are obligated to continue purchasing merchandise unless you opt out of a specific purchase. Complaints regarding violations of this Rule can also be filed with:

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center
CRC-240
Washington, DC 20580
Phone: Toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or
1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338)

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No-Call Laws

Public Utilities Commission
1560 Broadway, Suite 250
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: See various numbers listed below depending on type of issue.

 

 

DepartmentsPhone
Sign up to be on the No Call list 1-800-309-7041
To submit a complaint 1-800-309-7041
Problems with sign up or complaint filing (303) 219-8104
Telemarketers with problems registering (303) 219-8104
Problems with accessing the no-call website (303) 219-8104
Attorney General No-Call Specialist (303) 866-506

 

 

Colorado No Call Law
In 2001, the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation that allows consumers to stop telemarketing calls to their residential telephone or FAX line. In March 2003, the law was amended to protect wireless (cell) phone numbers as well. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is responsible for implementing the Colorado No-Call Law. Their vendor maintains the list of consumer numbers, consumer complaints and the telemarketers’ registrations. The law applies to residential phone and facsimiles solicitations only -- it does not apply to businesses.

The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcement of the law only. The Attorney General’s Office does not take complaints or registrations. Complaints can be filed on-line at www.coloradonocall.com  or by calling 1-800-309-7041.

Federal No-Call Law
There is also a federal no-call registry administered by the Federal Trade Commission. This registry was created pursuant to Rules adopted by the FTC and by the Federal Communications Commission. To sign up for the federal no-call registry you can go to https://www.donotcall.gov/register/Reg.aspx  or call 1-888-382-1222. You can file a complaint for a violation of the federal law at https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.aspx .

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Occupational Schools

Colorado Department of Higher Education
Division of Private Occupational Schools
1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 1200
Denver, CO 80204
Phone: (303) 866-2723
Fax: (303) 866-4237

The Private Occupational Education Act of 1981 governs private occupational schools in Colorado. Its purpose is to provide standards for and improve these schools and to protect consumers against fraudulent or substandard schools. Statute gives the main powers and duties for regulating the schools to the Board. The Board has delegated the day-to-day oversight of the schools to the Division, including assessing applications for licensure, monitoring schools, and providing technical assistance. However, the Board must approve all applications for licensure or action involving the school’s license.

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Preneed Funeral Contracts

Preneed funeral contracts are governed in Colorado under the Insurance Code (See 10-15-101 through 121, C.R.S.). A preneed funeral contract is any written contract, agreement, or mutual understanding whereby it is agreed that, upon the death of the preneed contract beneficiary, a final resting place, merchandise, or services shall be provided or performed in connection with the final disposition of the preneed contract beneficiary's body. This does NOT include a contract for a developed burial plot within a designated cemetery.

Sellers of preneed funeral contracts must obtain a license from the Colorado Insurance Commissioner.

At the time the preneed funeral contract is entered into, the contract seller must furnish you with an accurate copy of the preneed contract. If the contract seller is a broker, or if the preneed contract requires any services to be performed or merchandise to be provided by a general provider other than the contract seller, the contract seller must furnish you with a copy of the agreement or a certificate evidencing an agreement between the contract seller and such general provider whereby the general provider or the heirs, assigns, or duly authorized representatives of such general provider are obligated to perform the services or provide the merchandise as stated in the preneed contract.

Among other things, each preneed funeral contract must:

  • State on its face that "This preneed contract is not insurance; however, preneed contracts and contract sellers are subject to regulation by the Colorado Division of Insurance.";
  • State the terms and conditions for cancellation by the contract buyer within the first seven days of the contract buyer's signature to the preneed contract during which period the contract buyer may provide the contract seller with written notice of cancellation. The contract seller shall forward a one hundred percent refund to the contract buyer within ten calendar days of receipt of the written cancellation.
  • Provide that the contract buyer may cancel the preneed contract at any time after the seven-day period provided in paragraph (d) of this subsection (4) and that any return of consideration be made to the contract buyer, heirs, assigns, or duly authorized representatives in a timely manner, not to exceed thirty days after the date of the request for return of consideration in lieu of performance, and not to exceed forty-five days after the date of request for return of consideration in case of default or cancellation; and
  • Contain a provision expressing the right of the contract seller to perform under the preneed contract if the heirs, assigns, or duly authorized representatives of the preneed contract beneficiary have not canceled the preneed contract within one hundred sixty-eight hours after the death of the preneed contract beneficiary, or if previously authorized to perform prior to such one hundred sixty-eight hours;

No contract seller may condition a preneed funeral contract upon the purchase of any other item or contract unless such preneed contracts, other contracts, and any other item can be independently purchased at the same stated price.

If a contract seller enters into a preneed contract in which the consideration is money (as opposed to the proceeds of a life insurance policy), the contract seller must deposit not less than seventy-five percent of the total preneed contract price with a trustee. The contract seller shall deposit all funds in excess of twenty-five percent of the total preneed contract price with a trustee within forty-five days after receipt thereof.

See also “Funerals” in this Resource Guide.

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Rent to Own

The Uniform Commercial Credit Code Unit of the Attorney General’s Office regulates businesses allowing you to rent goods and electronics by the week or month with an option to buy the item at the end of the contract. Consumers can call (303) 866-4494 for assistance with this. See C.R.S. 5-10-101.

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Securities Disputes

The Office of the Attorney General does not provide legal advice to consumers in private securities disputes. The Investors Rights Clinic of Pace University’s Law School and the FINRA Education Foundation, however, have produced a guide for consumers with questions about consumer-broker disputes that consumers can consult.

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Slamming

“Slamming” refers to the illegal practice of switching a customer from one long-distance telephone company to another without the customer’s permission. Consumer protection rules created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provide a remedy if you’ve been slammed. According to information provided by the FCC on its website (www.fcc.gov):

If you HAVE paid your phone bill and discover that you have been slammed: The slamming company must pay your authorized long-distance carrier 150% of the charges it received from you. Out of this amount, your authorized carrier will then reimburse you 50% of the charges you paid to the slammer. For example, if you were charged $100 by the slamming company, that company will have to give your authorized carrier $150, and you will receive $50 as a reimbursement.

Before a telephone company can place an order to switch a customer who agreed to sign up during a telemarketing call, the company must use at least one of the following methods to verify that the customer authorized the switch:

  • Obtain a written or electronic Letter of Agency (LOA) from the customer, which must include (1) the subscriber's billing name and address, (2) each telephone number to be covered by the order to change the subscriber's telephone company, (3) a statement that the subscriber intends to change from his or her current telephone company to this new company, (4) a statement that the sub- scriber designates this new carrier to act as the agent for this change, and (5) a statement that the subscriber understands that there may be a charge for this change. It must also be separate from any promotional material - like prizes, contests, and forms - that come with it.
  • The LOA provided by the carrier must be limited strictly to authorizing a change in telephone carrier and it must be clearly identified as an LOA authorizing the change. The LOA must be written in clear language and the print must be of sufficient size and readable style, generally comparable in type, style, and size to any promotional materials, and must make clear to the consumer that the document, when signed, would change his or her telephone carrier.

Only the name of the telephone carrier that will set the consumer's rates can appear on the letter of authorization. The LOA must also contain full translations if it uses more than one language.

If you have been slammed, you can file a complaint with:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
445 12th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20554
E-mail: slamming@fcc.gov

Colorado Public Utilities Commission
External Affairs Section
1580 Logan St., OL2
Denver CO 80203
Phone: 1-800-456-0858
Phone: (303) 894-2070
Fax: (303) 894-2065
E-mail: pucconsumer.complaints@dora.state.co.us

You may now file a complaint against a public utility with the PUC on-line at http://www.dora.state.co.us/puc/consumer/ConsumerComplaint.htm

Also, See “Cramming” in this Resource Guide.

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Stocks & Bonds

Colorado Division of Securities
1560 Lincoln Street, Suite 1550
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 894–7855
Fax: (303) 894-7855

The Colorado Division of Securities within the Department of Regulatory Agencies attempts to protect investors and maintain public confidence in the securities markets while avoiding unreasonable burdens on participants in the capital markets. The Division licenses and regulates stockbrokers and investment advisers and the securities investments they offer, sell and advise about in Colorado. The website includes information for investors to assist them in making sound and reasoned investment decisions.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
SEC Complaint Center
100 F. Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-0213
Phone: 1-800-SEC-0330 – Investor information and complaints
TTY: (202) 942-7114
Fax: (202) 942-9634 

SEC Denver Regional Office
1801 California Street, Suite 1500
Denver, CO 80202-2656
Phone: (303) 844-1000 (also TTY)
Fax: (303) 844-1000

National Association of Securities Dealers
District 3
370 17th Street, Suite 2900
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 446-3100
Fax: (303) 620-9450 

If a consumer believes a brokerage firm or one of the brokers within the firm has defrauded them, the NASD wants to know about it immediately. Consumer can contact the Denver District Office listed above.

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Sweepstakes

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Section
1525 Sherman Street, 7th Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 1-800-222-4444
Fax: (303) 866-4916

Direct mail sweepstakes and contests are regulated in Colorado under the Consumer Protection Act. C.R.S. 6-1-801 through 804. As a general rule, any direct mail solicitation that requires any purchase of a product or payment of any kind of fee as a condition to entering or winning a contest or sweepstakes is illegal.

This sweepstakes law was passed to curtail and prevent the most deceptive practices in connection with the promotion of sweepstakes and contests. The goal of the law is to require that Colorado consumers be provided with all the relevant information necessary to make an informed decision concerning sweepstakes and contests. It is also the intent of the law to prohibit misleading and deceptive prize promotions.

Sweepstakes are a popular marketing tool used to sell products, where the promoters offer chances to win prizes. Sweepstakes promoters hope to grab consumers' attention with the possibility of large prizes in order to convince consumers to purchase merchandise or magazines. By law, making purchases will not improve your chances of winning a prize.

Here are some important tips regarding sweepstakes and contests

  • You do not need to buy anything in order to enter and win a sweepstakes.
  • Buying products will not improve your chances of winning a prize.
  • Do not purchase merchandise or magazines offered by a sweepstakes promoter unless you truly desire to own these products.
  • Sweepstakes promoters, just like other direct mail companies, have the ability to automatically insert your name into their sweepstakes messages, so EVERY recipient of the mailings gets a personalized greeting.
  • The winner of a sweepstakes is chosen entirely by chance or at random. The sweepstakes promoter has no idea who will win before the winner is actually picked. Don't be fooled by suggestions that you have a better chance of winning because of membership in a select group or because you supposedly share characteristics with past winners.
  • Your chances of winning a big prize in sweepstakes are very small, often only 1 in 50,000,000! Don't be fooled into believing that you're likely to win or that you're very close to winning a big prize. You probably will win nothing.
  • Sweepstakes promoters often send documents that resemble a check, money order, or wire transfer instructions. Oftentimes, these checks will have your name on them. These are NOT REAL and are mailed to EVERYONE! Do not be fooled into believing that you are receiving actual money or a special mailing.
  • Consumers have no obligation to read or respond to a sweepstakes mailing. Feel free to toss it in the garbage. Furthermore, if you don't wish to receive future mailings, you can ask the sweepstakes promoter to STOP SENDING sweepstakes mailings to you, and, if you do so, the sweepstakes promoter must comply with your request.

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Telephones

Local Phone Carriers:

Public Utilities Commission
1560 Broadway, Ste. 250
Denver, CO 80202
Phone (General issues): (303) 894-2000
Phone (General issues): 1-800-888-0170
Phone (Consumer issues): (303) 894-2070
Phone (Consumer issues): 1-800-456-0858
Fax: (303) 894-2065

You may now file a complaint against a public utility with the PUC on-line at http://www.dora.state.co.us/puc/consumer/ConsumerComplaint.htm

If consumers have complaints regarding slamming (carrier changed without your authorization) or cramming (services added to your phone bill without your authorization), they can contact the Public Utilities Commission, External Affairs Section, at the numbers listed above. The PUC may refer complaints to the Attorney General’s Office – Consumer Protection Section. To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form.

Long Distance Phone Carriers and Cellular Phones:

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
Phone: 1-888-225-5322
Phone: 1-888-835-5322 (TTY)
Fax: 1-866-418-0232
E-mail (complaint): fccinfo@fcc.gov

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Unsolicited Goods

Colorado has an “unsolicited goods” statute. Under the statute, an unsolicited good means a “contractual obligations or other tangible or intangible property or services delivered to a person who has not ordered, solicited, or agreed to purchase them, but shall not include tangible or intangible goods or services which are misdirected, misdelivered, or offered in good faith in substitution for goods solicited by the recipient.” If you receive an unsolicited good, you have the right to refuse to accept delivery of the goods and you are not bound to return such goods to the sender. If they are addressed to you, such an unsolicited good shall be deemed a gift to you and you may use it or dispose of it in any manner you see fit without any obligation to the sender. It is illegal for the sender of an unsolicited good to attempt to bill you or collect for that unsolicited good.

See also “Negative Option Plans” in this Resource Guide.

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Use of Title or Degree

People claiming to hold certain titles or degrees, must actually have such titles or degrees. See C.R.S. 6-1-707. This falls under the Consumer Protection Act. To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form.

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Identity Theft

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