One of the Nevada statutes I turn to frequently is NRS 41.600, entitled “Actions by Victims of Fraud.” This statute allows any person who is a victim of “consumer fraud” to recover his or damages, equitable relief (which can include “rescinding” or unwinding the bad deal), and attorney’s fees. The statute gives a specialized definition of “consumer fraud.” The most important part of this definition is that “consumer fraud” includes any “deceptive trade practice” described in NRS 598.0915 to 598.0925.
Turning to the statutory definition of “deceptive trade practice” reveals multiple lists of conduct that counts as a deceptive trade practice and, therefore, consumer fraud. Some of the items are fairly specific and some are general. There are more than 57 separate items.
Whenever I encounter any kind of fraud or consumer dispute, I will review theses lists to see if one or more of the items match the situation with which I am dealing. Some particularly potent items on the statutory list of deceptive trade practices include:
- Knowingly making any false representation in a transaction, NRS 598.0915(15);
- failing to make delivery of goods or services for sale or lease within a reasonable time, NRS 598.092(4);
- knowingly misrepresenting the legal rights, obligations or remedies of a party to a transaction, NRS 598.092(8);
- conducting a business or occupation without all required state, county or city licenses, NRS 598.0923(1);
- failing to disclose a material fact in connection with the sale or lease of goods or services, NRS 598.0923(2); and
- violating a state or federal statute or regulation relating to the sale or lease of goods or services, NRS 598.0923(3).
Investors and those who market investments should pay particular attention to NRS 598.092(5), which says that a deceptive trade practice includes advertising or offering an opportunity for investment and:
- representing that the investment is guaranteed, secured or protected in a manner which he or she knows or has reason to know is false or misleading;
- representing that the investment will earn a rate of return which he or she knows or has reason to know is false or misleading;
- making any untrue statement of a material fact or omits to state a material fact which is necessary to make another statement, considering the circumstances under which it is made, not misleading;
- failing to maintain adequate records so that an investor may determine how his or her money is invested;
- failing to provide information to an investor after a reasonable request for information concerning his or her investment;
- failing to comply with any law or regulation for the marketing of securities or other investments; or
- representing that he or she is licensed by an agency of the State to sell or offer for sale investments or services for investments if he or she is not so licensed.
So when you are a consumer or investor with a question about your rights, check the statutory list of deceptive trade practices. If you are a business, please be aware that some of your customers may check this list as well. As always, I am more than happy to discuss with you any questions you might have about Nevada consumer fraud.