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Title 9: Commerce and Trade

Chapter 063: CONSUMER PROTECTION

  • Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • § 2451. Purpose

    The purpose of this chapter is to complement the enforcement of federal statutes and decisions governing unfair methods of competition, unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and anti-competitive practices in order to protect the public and to encourage fair and honest competition. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2451a. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (a) "Consumer" means any person who purchases, leases, contracts for, or otherwise agrees to pay consideration for goods or services not for resale in the ordinary course of his or her trade or business but for his or her use or benefit or the use or benefit of a member of his or her household, or in connection with the operation of his or her household or a farm whether or not the farm is conducted as a trade or business, or a person who purchases, leases, contracts for, or otherwise agrees to pay consideration for goods or services not for resale in the ordinary course of his or her trade or business but for the use or benefit of his or her business or in connection with the operation of his or her business.

    (b) "Goods" or "services" shall include any objects, wares, goods, commodities, work, labor, intangibles, courses of instruction or training, securities, bonds, debentures, stocks, real estate, or other property or services of any kind. The term also includes bottled liquified petroleum (LP or propane) gas.

    (c) "Seller" means a person regularly and principally engaged in a business of selling goods or services to consumers.

    (d) "Home solicitation sale" means the sale or lease, or the offer for sale or lease, of goods or services with a purchase price of $5.00 or more, whether under single or multiple contracts, where the sale, lease, or offer thereof is either personally solicited or consummated by a seller at the residence or place of business or employment of the consumer, or at a seller's transient quarters, or solicited or consummated by a seller wholly or in part by telephone with a consumer at the residence or place of business or employment of the consumer. Transient quarters includes hotel or motel rooms, or any other place utilized as a temporary business location. The term "home solicitation sale" does not include a transaction:

    (1) made pursuant to prior negotiations in the course of a visit by the consumer to a retail business establishment having a fixed permanent location where the goods are exhibited or the services are offered for sale on a continuing basis; or

    (2) in which the consumer has initiated the contact and specifically requested the seller to visit his home for the purpose of repairing or performing maintenance upon the consumer's personal property. If in the course of such a visit, the seller sells the consumer the right to receive additional services or goods other than replacement parts necessarily used in performing the maintenance or in making the repairs, the sale of those additional goods or services would not fall within this exclusion;

    (3) conducted and consummated entirely by mail; and without any other contact between the consumer and the seller prior to delivery of the goods or performance of the services;

    (4) with a purchase price of under $25.00 where the consumer is not required to sign any contract, receipt, sales ticket, evidence of indebtedness or other writing; and the goods, services, or merchandise purchased are capable of delivery or performance at one time;

    (5) pertaining to the sale or rental of real property, to the sale of insurance, to the sale of securities by a broker dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or to the sale of commodities by and any person registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission;

    (6) where, in the case of goods, the buyer may at any time:

    (A)(i) cancel the order prior to delivery of the goods and receive a full refund for any monies paid; or

    (ii) refuse to accept the goods when delivered, without incurring any obligation to pay for them and receive a full refund for any monies paid; or

    (iii) return the goods to the seller and receive a full refund for any monies paid; and

    (B) the buyer's right to cancel the order or return the goods without obligation or charge at any time and receive a full refund for any monies paid is clearly and unmistakably set forth on the face or reverse side of the sales ticket; and

    (C) the goods or merchandise purchased under an agreement meeting the requirements specified in subdivisions (A) and (B) of this subdivision are capable of delivery at one time;

    (7) solicited or consummated wholly or in part by telephone where the seller offers a full refund and right of cancellation for at least ten days after receipt of the goods or services, and a full refund within 30 days of return of the goods or cancellation of the services or under terms no more restrictive than those set forth in subsections 2454(a), (c), and (d) of this chapter, and the right of refund and cancellation is conspicuously disclosed with the goods or services;

    (8) solicited or consummated wholly or in part by a federally insured depository institution or its subsidiary, affiliate, or parent organizations, or by a public utility regulated by the Federal Communications Commission or the Vermont Public Utility Commission;

    (9) in response to an order placed by a farmer for farm-related goods or services, whether in person, by telephone, or otherwise, and the farmer has a preexisting open end credit plan with the seller.

    (e) "Business day" means any calendar day except Saturday, Sunday, or any day classified as a holiday under 1 V.S.A. § 371.

    (f) "Purchase price" means the total price paid or to be paid for the consumer goods or services, including all interest and service charges.

    (g) "Lessor" means a person engaged in a business of leasing goods to consumers.

    (h) "Collusion" means an agreement, contract, combination in the form of trusts or otherwise, or conspiracy to engage in price fixing, bid rigging, or market division or allocation of goods or services between or among persons. (Added 1973, No. 221 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. June 7, 1974; amended 1985, No. 34, § 1; 1985, No. 61; 1993, No. 99, § 3; 1995, No. 23, § 1; 1997, No. 42, § 1; 2001, No. 42, § 2; 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2452. Limitation

    (a) Nothing in this chapter shall apply to the owner or publisher of a newspaper, magazine, publication, or printed matter, or to a provider of an interactive computer service, wherein an advertisement or offer to sell appears, or to the owner or operator of a radio or television station which disseminates an advertisement or offer to sell, when the owner, publisher, operator, or provider has no knowledge of the fraudulent intent, design, or purpose of the advertiser or offeror, and is not responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of the advertisement or offer to sell.

    (b) In this section, "interactive computer service" has the same meaning as in 47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(2). (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 2015, No. 55, § 9.)

  • § 2453. Practices prohibited; antitrust and consumer protection

    (a) Unfair methods of competition in commerce and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce are hereby declared unlawful.

    (b) It is the intent of the Legislature that in construing subsection (a) of this section, the courts of this State will be guided by the construction of similar terms contained in Section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act as from time to time amended by the Federal Trade Commission and the courts of the United States.

    (c) The Attorney General shall adopt rules, when necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of this chapter, relating to unfair methods of competition in commerce and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce. The rules shall not be inconsistent with the rules, regulations, and decisions of the Federal Trade Commission and the federal courts interpreting the Federal Trade Commission Act.

    (d) Violation of a rule adopted by the Attorney General is prima facie proof of the commission of an unfair or deceptive act in commerce.

    (e) The provisions of subsections (a), (c), and (d) of this section shall also be applicable to real estate transactions. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 45, § 8, eff. April 4, 1969; 1969, No. 278 (Adj. Sess.); 1973, No. 221 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 7, 1974; 1999, No. 65 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 8, 2012; 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 1a, eff. May 18, 2012; 2017, No. 74, § 13.)

  • § 2453a. Practices prohibited; criminal antitrust violations

    (a) Collusion is hereby declared to be a crime.

    (b) Subsection (a) of this section shall not be construed to apply to activities of or arrangements between or among persons which are permitted, authorized, approved, or required by federal or state statutes or regulations.

    (c) It is the intent of the General Assembly that in construing this section and subsection 2451a(h) of this title, the courts of this State shall be guided by the construction of federal antitrust law and the Sherman Act, as amended, as interpreted by the courts of the United States.

    (d) Nothing in this section limits the power of the Attorney General or a State's Attorney to bring civil actions for antitrust violations under section 2453 of this title.

    (e) A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100,000.00 for an individual or $1,000,000.00 for any other person or by imprisonment not to exceed five years, or both. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2453b. Retaliation prohibited

    No person shall retaliate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any other person who:

    (1) has opposed any act or practice of the person which is collusive or in restraint of trade;

    (2) has lodged a complaint or has testified, assisted, or participated in any manner with the Attorney General or a State's Attorney in an investigation of acts or practices which are collusive or in restraint of trade;

    (3) is known by the person to be about to lodge a complaint or testify, assist, or participate in any manner in an investigation of acts or practices which are collusive or in restraint of trade; or

    (4) is believed by the person to have acted as described in subdivision (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2454. Purchase contracts; rescission

    (a) Consumer's or other obligor's right to cancel

    (1) Except as provided in subdivision (5) of this subsection, in addition to any right otherwise to revoke an offer, the consumer or any other person obligated for any part of the purchase price may cancel a home solicitation sale until midnight of the third business day after the day on which the consumer has signed an agreement or offer to purchase relating to such sale, or has otherwise agreed to buy consumer goods or services from the seller.

    (2) Cancellation occurs when notice of cancellation is given to the seller.

    (3) Notice of cancellation, if given by mail, shall be deemed given when deposited in a mailbox properly addressed and postage prepaid.

    (4) Notice of cancellation need not take the form prescribed and shall be sufficient if it indicates the intention of the consumer not to be bound.

    (5) A home solicitation sale may not be cancelled if the consumer has requested the seller to provide goods or services without delay because of an emergency, and

    (A) the seller in good faith has begun substantial performance of the contract before the notice of cancellation has been given, and

    (B) in the case of goods, the goods cannot be returned to the seller in substantially the same condition as when received by the consumer, and

    (C) the consumer's request is both handwritten and signed by the consumer.

    (b) Disclosure obligations

    (1) In every home solicitation sale, the seller shall furnish the consumer with a fully completed receipt or copy of any contract pertaining to such sale at the time the consumer signs an agreement or offer to purchase relating to such sale, or otherwise agrees to buy consumer goods or services from the seller. Such receipt or contract copy shall show the date of the transaction and shall contain the name and address of the seller, and in immediate proximity to the space reserved in the contract for the signature of the consumer or on the front page of the receipt if a contract is not used and in boldface type of a minimum size of 10 points, a statement in substantially the following form:

    You, the buyer, may cancel this transaction at any time prior to midnight of the third business day after the date of this transaction. See the attached notice of cancellation for an explanation of this right.

    (2) In a home solicitation sale, unless a consumer requests the seller to provide goods or services without delay in an emergency, the seller shall furnish a notice of cancellation to the consumer at the time he or she signs an agreement or offer to purchase relating to such sale or otherwise agrees to buy consumer goods or services from the seller, which notice shall be attached to the contract or receipt and easily detachable.

    (A) The notice of cancellation shall contain the following information and statements, printed in not less than 10 point boldface type:

     

    NOTICE OF CANCELLATION

     

    (enter date of transaction)

    ………………………………………..........

    (date)

            You may cancel this transaction, without any penalty or obligation, within three business days from the above date.

            If you cancel, any property traded in, any payments made by you under the contract or sale, and any negotiable instrument executed by you will be returned within 10 business days following receipt by the seller of your cancellation notice, and any security interest arising out of the transaction will be canceled.

            If you cancel, you must make available to the seller at your residence, in substantially as good condition as when received, any goods delivered to you under this contract or sale; or you may, if you wish, comply with the instructions of the seller regarding the return shipment of the goods at the seller's expense and risk.

            If you do make the goods available to the seller and the seller does not pick them up within 20 days of the date of your notice of cancellation, you may retain or dispose of the goods without any further obligation. If you fail to  make the goods available to the seller, or if you agree to return the goods to the seller and fail to do so, then you remain liable for performance of all  obligations under the contract.

            To cancel this transaction, mail or deliver a signed and dated copy of this cancellation notice or any other written notice, or send a telegram, to …………………………..... at ………………..………………………………..

     (name of seller)                      (address of seller's place of business)

    not later than midnight of ……………………………………………………….

                                                                                        (date)

    I hereby cancel this transaction.

        ……………..................

    (date)

    ......................................................................

                                                              (buyer's signature)

     

    (B) Before furnishing copies of the "Notice of Cancellation" to the buyer, the seller shall complete both copies by entering the name of the seller, the address of the seller's place of business, the date of the transaction, and the date, not earlier than the third business day following the date of the transaction, by which the buyer may give notice of cancellation.

    (C) The seller shall leave the "Notice of Cancellation" with the consumer.

    (D) In addition to the written notice of cancellation the seller shall orally inform the buyer of his or her right to cancel at the time of the transaction.

    (3) Until the seller has complied with this subsection, the consumer or any other person obligated for any part of the purchase price may cancel the home solicitation sale by notifying the seller in any manner and by any means of his or her intention to cancel. The cancellation period of three business days shall begin to run from the time the seller complies with this subsection.

    (c) Restoration of payments

    (1) Within 10 days after a home solicitation sale has been cancelled or an offer to purchase revoked, the seller shall tender to the consumer any payments made by the consumer and any note or other evidence of indebtedness, and take any action necessary or appropriate to terminate promptly any security interest in the transaction, except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection.

    (2) If payment includes goods traded in, the goods shall be tendered in substantially as good condition as when received by the seller. If the seller fails to tender the goods as provided by this subsection, the consumer may elect to recover an amount equal to the trade-in allowance stated in the agreement.

    (3) Until the seller has complied with this subsection the consumer may retain possession of goods delivered to him or her by the seller and shall have a lien on the goods in his or her possession or control for any recovery to which he or she may be entitled.

    (d) Duties of seller and consumer

    (1) Within 10 days after a home solicitation sale has been cancelled or an offer to purchase revoked, the seller shall either demand possession of any goods delivered by the seller pursuant to the sale or instruct the consumer regarding the return shipment of the goods at the seller's expense and risk.

    (2) If the seller does not give instructions regarding the return shipment of the goods, or if the consumer does not comply with any such instructions given, the seller must pick up such goods within 20 days after a home solicitation sale has been cancelled.

    (3) If the seller does not act within the time periods established in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, the goods shall become the property of the consumer without obligation to pay for them.

    (4) Upon demand, the consumer shall tender to the seller any goods delivered by the seller pursuant to the sale but need not tender at any place other than his or her residence.

    (5) If the consumer agrees to return the goods to the seller and fails to do so, then he or she shall remain liable for performance of all obligations under the contract.

    (6) The consumer shall take reasonable care of the goods in his or her possession both before cancellation or revocation and for a reasonable time thereafter, during which time the goods are otherwise at the seller's risk.

    (7) If the seller has performed any services pursuant to a home solicitation sale prior to its cancellation, the seller shall be entitled to no compensation therefor.

    (e) If the home solicitation sale is principally negotiated in a language other than English, then all of the disclosures required by this section shall be given in that language.

    (f) If the consumer is unable to write in his or her own handwriting, then any of the statements required to be written by him or her under this section shall be handwritten by a member of the consumer's household at the request of the consumer. If there is no other member of the consumer's household, then such statements must be written by the seller, at the request of the consumer, and the effect of such statements shall be orally explained to the consumer by the seller.

    (g) Use of the cancellation provision provided for in this section shall not prevent any other action being taken under this chapter or otherwise against such seller.

    (h) A violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be considered an unfair act in commerce within the meaning of subsection 2453(a) of this title. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 45, § 1, eff. April 4, 1969; 1973, No. 110, § 1; 1973, No. 221 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 1974.)

  • § 2454a. Consumer contracts; automatic renewal

    (a) A contract between a consumer and a seller or a lessor with an initial term of one year or longer that renews for a subsequent term that is longer than one month shall not renew automatically unless:

    (1) the contract states clearly and conspicuously the terms of the automatic renewal provision in plain, unambiguous language in bold-face type;

    (2) in addition to accepting the contract, the consumer takes an affirmative action to opt in to the automatic renewal provision; and

    (3) if the consumer opts in to the automatic renewal provision, the seller or lessor provides a written or electronic notice to the consumer:

    (A) not less than 30 days and not more than 60 days before the earliest of:

    (i) the automatic renewal date;

    (ii) the termination date; or

    (iii) the date by which the consumer must provide notice to cancel the contract; and

    (B) that includes:

    (i) the date the contract will terminate and a clear statement that the contract will renew automatically unless the consumer cancels the contract on or before the termination date;

    (ii) the length and any additional terms of the renewal period;

    (iii) one or more methods by which the consumer can cancel the contract; and

    (iv) contact information for the seller or lessor.

    (b) A person who violates a provision of subsection (a) of this section commits an unfair and deceptive act in commerce in violation of section 2453 of this title.

    (c) The provisions of this section do not apply to:

    (1) a contract between a consumer and a financial institution, as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 11101, or between a consumer and a credit union, as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 30101; or

    (2) a contract for insurance, as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 3301a. (Added 2017, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 2455. Defenses

    The holder of a promissory note or instrument or other evidence of indebtedness of a consumer delivered in connection with a contract shall take or hold that note, instrument or evidence subject to all defenses of such consumer which would be available to the consumer in an action on a simple contract, and all rights available to him or her under this chapter. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 45, § 2, eff. April 4, 1969.)

  • § 2456. Confession of judgment

    Any agreement of a consumer in a contract that a power of attorney is given to confess judgment, or an assignment of wages is given, or any agreement of similar effect, is void and of no force and effect on any party. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 45, § 3, eff. April 4, 1969.)

  • § 2457. Evidence of fraud

    The failure to sell any goods or services in the manner and of the nature advertised or offered, or the refusal or inability to sell any goods or services at the price advertised or offered or in accordance with other terms or conditions of the advertisement or offer, creates a rebuttable presumption of an intent to violate the provisions of this chapter. No actual damage to any person need be alleged or proven for an action to lie under this chapter. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967.)

  • § 2458. Restraining prohibited acts

    (a) Whenever the Attorney General or a State's Attorney has reason to believe that any person is using or is about to use any method, act, or practice declared by section 2453 of this title to be unlawful, or has reason to believe that any person has violated any assurance of discontinuance entered into pursuant to section 2459 of this title, and that proceedings would be in the public interest, the Attorney General, or a State's Attorney if authorized to proceed by the Attorney General, may bring an action in the name of the State against such person to restrain by temporary or permanent injunction the use of such method, act, or practice or to dissolve a domestic corporation or revoke the certificate of authority granted a foreign corporation. The action may be brought in the Superior Court of the county in which such person resides, has a place of business or is doing business. The courts are authorized to issue temporary or permanent injunctions to restrain and prevent violations of this chapter, such injunctions to be issued without bonds, and so to dissolve, or revoke the certificate of authority of, a corporation.

    (b) In addition to the foregoing, the Attorney General or a State's Attorney may request and the court is authorized to render any other temporary or permanent relief, or both, as may be in the public interest including:

    (1) the imposition of a civil penalty of not more than $10,000.00 for each unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce, and of not more than $100,000.00 for an individual or $1,000,000.00 for any other person for each unfair method of competition in commerce;

    (2) an order for restitution of cash or goods on behalf of a consumer or a class of consumers similarly situated;

    (3) an order requiring reimbursement to the State of Vermont for the reasonable value of its services and its expenses in investigating and prosecuting the action;

    (4) amounts other than consumer restitution recovered by the Attorney General or Department of State's Attorneys and Sheriffs under this chapter, but not to exceed amounts annually appropriated, or authorized pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 167 or 32 V.S.A. § 511, shall be deposited into special funds which shall be available to the Attorney General or Department of State's Attorneys and Sheriffs, respectively to offset the costs of providing legal services.

    (c) Whenever a State's Attorney brings an action pursuant to this section, a copy of any pleadings shall be served on the Attorney General pursuant to Rule 5 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure. Failure to comply with this provision shall not affect the validity of the proceedings commenced under this section. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 45, § 4, eff. April 4, 1969; 1971, No. 235 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1973, No. 110, § 2; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1999, No. 49, § 213; 2009, No. 67 (Adj. Sess.), § 88, eff. Feb. 25, 2010; 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § D.1.)

  • § 2459. Assurance of discontinuance

    (a) In any case where the Attorney General or a State's Attorney has authority to institute an action or proceeding under section 2458 of this title, in lieu thereof he or she may accept an assurance of discontinuance of any method, act, or practice in violation of this chapter from any person alleged to be engaged or to have been engaged in such method, act or practice. Such assurance may include a stipulation for affirmative action by such person, payment of a civil forfeiture and the costs of investigation, or of an amount to be held in escrow pending the outcome of an action or as restitution to aggrieved consumers, or any of the above. Any such assurance of discontinuance shall be in writing and be filed with the Washington Superior Court. Evidence of a violation of such assurance shall be prima facie proof of violation of section 2453 of this title, or of any rule of regulation made pursuant to section 2453 of this title in any action or proceeding thereafter brought by the Attorney General or a State's Attorney.

    (b) No assurance of discontinuance may be accepted by a State's Attorney without the approval of the Attorney General who shall indicate his or her approval by countersigning any assurance before it may become effective. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 45, § 5, eff. April 4, 1969; 1973, No. 110, § 3; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974.)

  • § 2460. Civil investigation

    (a)(1) The Attorney General or a State's Attorney whenever he or she has reason to believe any person to be or to have been in violation of section 2453 of this title, or of any rule or regulation made pursuant to section 2453 of this title, may examine or cause to be examined by any agent or representative designated by him or her for that purpose, any books, records, papers, memoranda, and physical objects of whatever nature bearing upon each alleged violation, and may demand written responses under oath to questions bearing upon each alleged violation.

    (2) The Attorney General or a State's Attorney may require the attendance of such person or of any other person having knowledge in the premises in the county where the person resides or has a place of business or in Washington County if the person is a nonresident or has no place of business within the State, and may take testimony and require proof material for his or her information, and may administer oaths or take acknowledgment in respect of any book, record, paper, or memorandum.

    (3) The Attorney General or a State's Attorney shall serve notice of the time, place, and cause of the examination or attendance, or notice of the cause of the demand for written responses, at least 10 days prior to the date of the examination, personally or by certified mail, upon the person at his or her principal place of business, or, if the place is not known, to his or her last known address.

    (4) Any book, record, paper, memorandum, or other information produced by any person pursuant to this section shall not, unless otherwise ordered by a court of this State for good cause shown, be disclosed to any person other than the authorized agent or representative of the Attorney General or a State's Attorney or another law enforcement officer engaged in legitimate law enforcement activities, unless with the consent of the person producing the same.

    (5) This subsection shall not be applicable to any criminal investigation or prosecution brought under the laws of this or any state.

    (b)(1) A person upon whom a notice is served pursuant to the provisions of this section shall comply with the terms thereof unless otherwise provided by the order of a court of this State.

    (2) Any person who, with intent to avoid, evade, or prevent compliance, in whole or in part, with any civil investigation under this section, removes from any place, conceals, withholds, or destroys, mutilates, alters, or by any other means falsifies any documentary material in the possession, custody, or control of any person subject of any such notice, or mistakes or conceals any information, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000.00 and to recovery by the Attorney General's or State's Attorney's office the reasonable value of its services and expenses in enforcing compliance with this section.

    (c)(1) Whenever any person fails to comply with any notice served upon him or her under this section or whenever satisfactory copying or reproduction of material pursuant to this section cannot be done and the person refuses to surrender the material, the Attorney General or a State's Attorney may file, in the Superior Court in which the person resides or has his or her principal place of business, or in Washington County if the person is a nonresident or has no principal place of business in this State, and serve upon the person, a petition for an order of the Court for the enforcement of this section.

    (2) Whenever a petition is filed under this section, the Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter presented, and to enter one or more orders as may be required to carry into effect the provisions of this section.

    (3) A person who violates an order entered under this section by a court shall be punished for contempt of court and shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000.00 and to recovery by the Attorney General's or State's Attorney's office of the reasonable value of its services and expenses in enforcing compliance with this section. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 45, § 6, eff. April 4, 1969; 1973, No. 110, § 4; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1997, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; 2013, No. 44, § 5.)

  • § 2461. Civil penalty

    (a) Any person who violates the terms of an injunction issued under section 2458 of this title shall forfeit and pay to the State a civil penalty of not more than $10,000.00 for each violation. For the purposes of this section, the court issuing such injunction shall retain jurisdiction, and the cause shall be continued, and in such cases the Attorney General or a State's Attorney acting in the name of the State may petition for recovery of such civil penalty.

    (b) Any consumer who contracts for goods or services in reliance upon false or fraudulent representations or practices prohibited by section 2453 of this title, or who sustains damages or injury as a result of any false or fraudulent representations or practices prohibited by section 2453 of this title, or prohibited by any rule or regulation made pursuant to section 2453 of this title may sue for appropriate equitable relief and may sue and recover from the seller, solicitor, or other violator the amount of his or her damages, or the consideration or the value of the consideration given by the consumer, reasonable attorney's fees, and exemplary damages not exceeding three times the value of the consideration given by the consumer. Any language, written or oral, used by a seller or solicitor, which attempts to exclude or modify recovery of the penalty or reasonable attorney's fees shall be unenforceable.

    (c) Any person alleged to have violated the terms of subsection (b) of this section shall be entitled to a trial by jury, unless waived according to law. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 45, § 7, eff. April 4, 1969; 1971, No. 235 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1973, No. 110, § 5.)

  • § 2461a. Hearing aid violations

    The Attorney General shall investigate alleged irregularities and complaints relating to the fitting and selling of hearing aids, in violation of 18 V.S.A. chapter 90, and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. (Added 1975, No. 95, § 2.)

  • § 2461b. Regulation of propane

    (a)(1) In this section:

    (A) "Consumer" means any person who, for consumption and not for resale, purchases propane through a meter or has propane delivered to one or more storage tanks of 2,000 gallons or less.

    (B) "Seller" means a person who sells or offers to sell propane to a consumer.

    (C) "Terminates service" means that a seller:

    (i) disconnects, removes, or locks off that seller's propane tank;

    (ii) reads a meter with the purpose of terminating service; or

    (iii) takes other action that evidences an intent to terminate a service relationship with a consumer or evidences knowledge that the consumer requested termination of service.

    (2) The Attorney General shall investigate irregularities, complaints, and unfair or deceptive acts in commerce by sellers.

    (b) For the purpose of promoting business practices which are uniformly fair to sellers and which protect consumers, the Attorney General shall adopt necessary rules, including notice prior to disconnection, repayment agreements, minimum delivery, discrimination, security deposits, and the assessment of fees and charges.

    (c)(1) A violation of this section, or a rule adopted under this section not inconsistent with this section, shall constitute an unfair and deceptive act in commerce in violation of section 2453 of this title.

    (2) No contract for propane services shall contain any provision that conflicts with the obligations and remedies established by this section or by any rule adopted under this section, and any conflicting provision shall be unenforceable and void.

    (d) A seller shall not:

    (1) assess a minimum usage fee;

    (2) assess a fee for propane that is not actually delivered to a consumer; or

    (3) require a consumer to purchase a minimum number of gallons of propane per year, except as part of a guaranteed price plan that meets the requirements of section 2461e of this title.

    (e) When terminating service to a consumer, a seller shall comply with the following requirements.

    (1)(A) If the propane storage tank has been located on the consumer's premises, regardless of ownership of the premises, for 12 months or more, the seller may not assess a fee related to termination of propane service, including a fee:

    (i) to remove the seller's storage tank from the premises;

    (ii) to pump out or restock propane; or

    (iii) to terminate service.

    (B) If a consumer has received propane service from the seller for less than 12 months, any fee related to termination of service may not exceed the disclosed price of labor and materials.

    (2) Subject to subdivision (h)(5) of this section:

    (A) Within 20 days of the date when the seller terminates service or is notified by the consumer in writing that service has been disconnected, whichever is earlier, the seller shall refund to the consumer the amount paid by the consumer for any propane remaining in the storage tank, less any payments due the seller from the consumer.

    (B) If the quantity of propane remaining in the storage tank cannot be determined with certainty, the seller shall, within the 20 days described in subdivision (2)(A) of this subsection, refund to the consumer the amount paid by the consumer for 80 percent of the seller's best reasonable estimate of the quantity of propane remaining in the tank, less any payments due from the consumer. The seller shall refund the remainder of the amount due as soon as the quantity of propane left in the tank can be determined with certainty, but no later than 14 days after the removal of the tank or restocking of the tank at the time of reconnection.

    (3)(A) Any refund to the consumer shall be by cash, check, direct deposit, credit to a credit card account, or in the same method or manner of payment that the consumer, or a third party on the consumer's behalf, used to make payments to the seller.

    (B) Unless requested by the consumer, a seller shall not provide a refund in the form of a reimbursement or credit to any account with the seller.

    (4) If the seller fails to mail or deliver a refund to the consumer in accordance with this subsection, the seller shall within one business day make a penalty payment to the consumer, in addition to the refund, of:

    (A) $250.00 on the first day after the refund was due; and

    (B) $75.00 per day for each day thereafter until the refund and penalty payment have been mailed or delivered, provided that the total amount that accrues under this subdivision (B) shall not exceed 10 times the amount of the refund.

    (5) Termination of service does not void any guaranteed price plan that meets the requirements of section 2461e of this title that has not expired by its own terms.

    (f)(1) A seller of propane shall not refuse to deliver propane to a storage tank owned by a consumer if the consumer provides proof of ownership of the tank and the seller has conducted a safety check of the tank in accordance with NFPA 54 (National Fuel Gas Code) and NFPA 58 (Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code) of the National Fire Protection Association and complies with rules adopted by the Attorney General governing propane.

    (2) If a seller of propane chooses to finance a consumer's purchase of a storage tank, the financing shall be a retail installment sale as provided in chapter 61 of this title.

    (g) Nonpayment of the following charges may be the only basis for an interruption or disconnection of service: propane, leak or pressure test, safety check, restart of equipment, after-hours delivery, special trip for delivery, and meter read.

    (h)(1) A seller who has a duty to remove a propane storage tank from a consumer's premises shall remove the tank within 20 days or, in the case of an underground storage tank, within 30 days of the earliest of the following dates:

    (A) the date on which the consumer requests termination of service;

    (B) the date the seller disconnects propane service; or

    (C) the date on which the seller is notified by the consumer in writing that service has been disconnected.

    (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if a consumer requests that a tank be removed on a specific day, the seller shall remove the tank no more than 10 days after the date requested, or within the period required by subdivision (1) of this subsection, whichever is later.

    (3) A seller who fails to remove a propane storage tank in accordance with this subsection shall make a penalty payment to the consumer of:

    (A) $250.00 on the first day after the tank should have been removed; and

    (B) $75.00 per day for each day thereafter until the tank has been removed and the penalty payments have been mailed or delivered, provided that the total amount that accrues under this subdivision (B) shall not exceed $2,000.00.

    (4)(A) Notwithstanding subdivision (3) of this subsection, no penalty shall be due for the time a seller is unable to remove a tank due to weather or other conditions not caused by the seller that bar access to the tank, if the seller provides within five days of the latest date the tank was otherwise required to be removed:

    (i) a written explanation for the delay;

    (ii) what reasonable steps the consumer must take to provide access to the tank; and

    (iii) a telephone number, a mailing address, and an e-mail address the consumer can use to notify the seller that the steps have been taken.

    (B) The seller shall have 20 days from the date he or she receives the notice from the consumer required in subdivision (4)(A)(iii) of this subsection to remove the tank.

    (5) A consumer who prevents access to a propane storage tank, such that a seller is unable to timely remove the tank from the property or determine the amount of propane remaining in the tank in compliance with this section, shall not be entitled to a refund for propane remaining in the storage tank pursuant to subsection (e) of this section until the consumer takes the reasonable steps identified by the seller that are necessary to allow access to the tank and provides notice to the seller that he or she has taken those steps, in compliance with the process established in subdivision (4) of this subsection. (Added 1985, No. 34, § 2; amended 2011, No. 47, § 19a, eff. May 25, 2011; 2013, No. 44, § 1; 2013, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 24, 2014; 2015, No. 23, § 90.)

  • § 2461c. Predatory pricing

    (a) No person, with the intent to harm competition, shall price goods or services in a manner that tends to create or maintain a monopoly or otherwise harms competition. A violation of this subsection is deemed to be an unfair method of competition in commerce and a violation of section 2453 of this title.

    (b) It is the intent of the General Assembly that in construing subsection (a) of this section, the courts of the State will be guided by similar terms contained in federal anti-trust law as construed by the courts of the United States and as amended by Congress.

    (c) The Attorney General shall adopt rules when necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of this section. The rules shall not be inconsistent with the rules, regulations, and decisions of the Federal Trade Commission or with the decisions of the courts of the United States construing federal anti-trust law.

    (d) The Attorney General has the same authority to conduct civil investigations and enter into assurances of discontinuance as provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter.

    (e) A person aggrieved by a violation of this section or a violation of rules adopted under this section may bring an action in Superior Court for appropriate relief under subsection 2461(b) of this title.

    (f) This section shall not be construed to limit rights or remedies available to a person under any other law. (Added 2005, No. 35, § 1; amended 2017, No. 74, § 14.)

  • § 2461d. Price gouging of petroleum products and heating fuel products

    (a) Definitions For the purposes of this section:

    (1) A "market emergency" shall be declared by the Governor. The market emergency shall continue for 30 days or until terminated by the Governor. The Governor may extend the market emergency for additional 30-day periods. "Market emergency" means any abnormal disruption of any market for petroleum products or heating fuel products, including any actual or threatened shortage in the supply of petroleum products or heating fuel products or any actual or threatened increase in the price of petroleum products or heating fuel products resulting from severe weather, convulsion of nature, supply manipulation, failure or shortage of electric power or other source of energy, strike, civil disorder, act of war, terrorist attack, national or local emergency, or other extraordinary adverse circumstances.

    (2) "Petroleum or heating fuel product" means motor fuels, liquefied petroleum gas, fuel oil, kerosene, and wood pellets used for heating or cooking purposes.

    (3) "Petroleum or heating fuel-related business" means any producer, supplier, wholesaler, distributor, or retail seller of any petroleum or heating fuel product.

    (b) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce and a violation of section 2453 of this title for any petroleum or heating fuel-related business during a market emergency or seven days prior thereto to sell or offer to sell any petroleum product or heating fuel product for an amount that represents an unconscionably high price.

    (c) A price is unconscionably high if:

    (1) the amount charged during the market emergency or seven days prior thereto represents a gross disparity between the price of the petroleum product or heating fuel product charged by the petroleum or heating fuel related business and:

    (A) the price at which the same product was sold or offered for sale by that business in the usual course of business immediately prior to the date of the declaration of the market emergency; or

    (B) the price at which the same or similar petroleum product or heating fuel product is readily obtainable by the buyer and other buyers in the trade area in which the petroleum- or heating-fuel-related business markets the product; and

    (2) the disparity is not substantially attributable to increased prices charged by the petroleum product or heating fuel product suppliers or increased costs due to a market emergency. (Added 2005, No. 210 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2461e. Requirements for guaranteed price plans and prepaid contracts

    (a)(1) Contract and solicitation requirements. A contract for the retail sale of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas that offers a guaranteed price plan, including a fixed price contract, a prepaid contract, a cost-plus contract, and any other similar terms, shall be in writing, and the terms and conditions of such price plans shall be disclosed. Such disclosure shall be in plain language and shall immediately follow the language concerning the price or service that could be affected and shall be printed in no less than 12-point boldface type of uniform font. A solicitation for the retail sale of home heating oil or liquefied petroleum gas that offers a guaranteed price plan that could become a contract upon a response from a consumer, including a fixed price contract, a prepaid contract, a cost-plus contract, and any other similar terms, shall be in writing, and the terms and conditions of such offer shall be disclosed in plain language.

    (2) Subdivision (1) of this subsection does not preclude a first come, first served offering.

    (b)(1) Security for prepaid contracts. No home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer shall enter into a prepaid contract to provide home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas to a consumer unless that dealer has, within seven days of the acceptance of the contract, obtained and maintained any one of the following:

    (A) Futures contract. Heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts or other similar commitments that allow the dealer to purchase, at a fixed price, heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas in an amount not less than 75 percent of the maximum number of gallons that the dealer is committed to deliver pursuant to all prepaid contracts entered into by the dealer;

    (B) Surety bond. A surety bond in an amount not less than 50 percent of the total amount of funds paid to the dealer by consumers pursuant to prepaid heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts; or

    (C) Line of credit, letter of credit, cash. A line of credit from an FDIC-insured institution, letter of credit from an FDIC-insured institution, cash in an FDIC-insured account or a functionally equivalent account, or combination thereof in an amount that represents 100 percent of the cost to the dealer of the maximum number of gallons that the dealer is committed to deliver pursuant to all prepaid contracts entered into by the dealer. The cost shall be calculated at the time the contracts are entered into.

    (2) A dealer shall maintain the amount of futures contracts required by this subsection for the period of time for which the prepaid home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts are effective, except that the amount of the futures contracts may be reduced during such period of time to reflect any amount of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas already delivered to and paid for by the consumer.

    (3) Subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply to budget plans under which consumers pay 1/12th of their yearly heating fuel cost each month.

    (c)(1) Disclosure; additional contract requirements. A prepaid home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contract shall indicate:

    (A) the amount of funds paid by the consumer to the dealer under the contract;

    (B) the maximum number of gallons of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas committed by the dealer for delivery to the consumer pursuant to the contract; and

    (C) that the performance of the prepaid contract is secured by one of the three options described in subsection (b) of this section.

    (2) Reimbursement default provision. Any contract described in this subsection shall provide that the contract price of any undelivered home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas owed to the consumer under the contract at the end date of the contract shall be reimbursed to the consumer not later than 30 days after the end date of the contract, unless the parties to the contract agree otherwise.

    (d) Private right of action under Consumer Protection Act. In addition to the remedies set forth in sections 2458 and 2461 of this title, a home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer may bring an action against its heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas suppliers for failing to honor its contract with the home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer. The home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer bringing the action may recover all remedies available to consumers under subsection 2461(b) of this title. (Added 2005, No. 210 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 8, 2012; 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 1a, eff. May 18, 2012; 2013, No. 44, § 3.)

  • § 2462. Action by State's Attorney

    Any State's Attorney receiving notice of any alleged violation of this chapter shall immediately forward written notice of the same with any other information he or she may have to the "Office of the Attorney General, Attention Consumer Protection Division."  (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1973, No. 110, § 6.)

  • § 2463. Credit billing for certain home solicitation sales

    In the case of any home solicitation sale solicited or consummated by a seller in whole or in part by telephone that is paid for by means of an open-end consumer credit plan within the meaning of the federal Truth-in-Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., the issuer of the credit card on which the consumer has charged the purchase shall, for one year from the date of the sale, or within any other time period available under applicable network operating rules in effect at the time of the sale, whichever is greater, and for the purpose of a disputed charge and reimbursement to the consumer, be subject to the claim or defense that the seller failed to comply with the disclosure requirements of subsection 2454(b) of this chapter and engaged in a related unfair or deceptive act or practice under subsection 2453(a) of this title, regardless of the amount of the purchase, the location of the seller, or the amount, if any, already paid by the consumer. Where a consumer has raised such a claim or defense, the issuer shall not report any negative information on the purchase to any consumer reporting agency as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(f), unless there is a judicial determination that the consumer's defense or claim is without merit, except that the issuer may report that there is a dispute with respect to the charge. (Added 1993, No. 99, § 4; amended 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 18, 2013.)

  • § 2463a. Choice of law in computer information agreement

    A choice of law provision in a computer information agreement which provides that the contract is to be interpreted pursuant to the laws of a state that has enacted the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, as proposed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws or any substantially similar law, is voidable, and the agreement shall be interpreted pursuant to the laws of this State if the party against whom enforcement of the choice of law provisions is sought is a resident of this State or has its principal place of business located in this State. For purposes of this section, a "computer information agreement" means an agreement that would be governed by the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act or substantially similar law as enacted in the state specified in the choice of law provisions if that state's law were applied to the agreement. This section may not be varied by agreement of the parties. This section shall remain in force until such time as the General Assembly enacts the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act or any substantially similar law and that law becomes effective. (Added 2003, No. 44, § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.)

  • § 2464. Telemarketing transactions

    (a) For the purposes of this section:

    (1) "Express oral authorization" means that a consumer has explicitly authorized an electronic funds transfer from his or her financial account for goods or services offered by a telemarketer:

    (A) during a telephone call in which the telemarketer has clearly stated that the consumer is authorizing the transfer from his or her account, and has further stated the consumer's name, a description of the specific goods or services offered, any material terms of the transaction, the date on or after which the account will be debited, the amount of the transfer, a telephone number for consumer inquiries that is answered during normal business hours, and the date of the authorization; and

    (B) where the telemarketer has either tape-recorded the entire telemarketing call on which the consumer has authorized the transaction and not disposed of the recording until at least four years after the authorization, or has provided written notice to the consumer, prior to the settlement date of the transfer, confirming the terms of the authorization as described in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (1) and has not disposed of the written notice until at least four years after the notice was created. Isolated and inadvertent failure to comply with this record-keeping requirement shall not give rise to liability under this subsection, provided that the telemarketer has in place reasonable procedures designed to comply with this requirement.

    (2) "Financial account" means a checking, savings, share, or other depository account.

    (3) "Process" includes printing a check, draft, or other form of negotiable instrument drawn on or debited against a consumer's financial account, formatting or transferring data for use in connection with the debiting of a consumer's account by means of such an instrument or an electronic funds transfer, or arranging for such services to be provided to a telemarketer.

    (4) "Telemarketer" means any person who initiates telephone calls to, or who receives telephone calls from, a consumer in connection with a plan, program, or campaign to market goods or services. The term "telemarketer" does not include:

    (A) a federally insured depository institution or its subsidiary when it obtains or submits for payment a check, draft, or other form of negotiable instrument drawn on or debited against a person's checking, savings, share, or other depository account at that institution;

    (B) any person that submits a payment when the consumer authorizing the submission has, prior to July 1, 1997, entered into a written contract with the person for the issuance of a charge or credit card;

    (C) any person who initiates telephone calls to or who receives telephone calls from a consumer in connection with collection of an amount due for goods or services previously provided to the consumer;

    (D) any company registered with and regulated by the Public Utility Commission;

    (E) any other category of persons that the Attorney General may exempt by rule consistent with the purposes of this section.

    (b) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for any telemarketer directly or through an agent:

    (1) to procure the services of any third-party delivery, courier, or other pickup service to obtain a consumer's payment for goods, unless the goods are delivered at the time that the consumer's payment is obtained by the courier; or

    (2) to obtain or submit for payment a check, draft, or other form of negotiable instrument drawn on a person's financial account without the consumer's prior written authorization or to dispose of the written authorization until at least four years after the authorization.

    (3) to obtain funds from a person's financial account by means of an electronic funds transfer unless:

    (A)(i) the consumer has initiated the telephone call to the telemarketer; or

    (ii) the telemarketer and the consumer have a current written agreement for the provision of goods or services or the consumer has purchased goods or services from the telemarketer within the previous two years; and

    (B) the telemarketer has obtained the consumer's express oral authorization to the transfer prior to initiating the debit.

    (c) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a party other than a federally insured depository institution to process for payment from a consumer's financial account, in connection with a telemarketer's transaction with the consumer:

    (1) a check, draft, or other form of negotiable instrument drawn on or debited against such account without the consumer's prior written authorization; or

    (2) an electronic funds transfer from such account for goods or services offered by a telemarketer, unless:

    (A)(i) the consumer has initiated the telephone call to the telemarketer; or

    (ii) the telemarketer and the consumer have a current written agreement for the provision of goods or services or the consumer has purchased goods or services from the telemarketer within the previous two years; and

    (B) the telemarketer has obtained the consumer's express oral authorization to the transfer prior to initiating the debit.

    (d) In addition to the legal liability described in subsection (c) of this section, it is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for any person, including a third-party delivery, courier, or other pickup service, or the telemarketer's financial institution as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 10202(5), but not including the consumer's financial institution as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 10202(5), to provide substantial assistance to a telemarketer in violation of subsection (b) of this section when the person or the person's authorized agent knows or consciously avoids knowing that the telemarketer is engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce.

    (e) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a party other than a federally insured depository institution who processes a telemarketing transaction for payment from a consumer's financial account to:

    (1) fail to obtain, before processing the transaction, any prior written authorization required by subdivision (b)(2) of this section or any tape recording or copy of a written confirmation required by subdivision (b)(3) of this section as part of the consumer's express oral authorization; or

    (2) dispose of a document required by subdivision (1) of this subsection, or of telemarketer applications or agreements, records of payments processed or returned, electronic communications relating to telemarketers, consumer complaints, or any other category of record that the Attorney General may prescribe by rule, until at least four years after the records were created. (Added 1997, No. 42, § 2; amended 2005, No. 5, § 1; 2007, No. 134 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 2-5.)

  • § 2464a. Prohibited telephone solicitations

    (a) Definitions. As used in this section, section 2464b, and section 2464c of this title:

    (1) "Customer" means a customer, residing or located in Vermont, of a company providing telecommunications service as defined in 30 V.S.A. § 203(5).

    (2) "Caller identification information" means information a caller identification service provides regarding the name and number of the person calling.

    (3) "Caller identification service" means a service that allows a subscriber of the service to have the telephone number, and where available, the name of the calling party transmitted contemporaneously with the telephone call and displayed on a device in or connected to the subscriber's telephone.

    (4) "Federal functional regulator" means a federal functional regulator as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 6809(2).

    (5) "Financial institution" means a financial institution as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 6809(3).

    (6) "Tax-exempt organization" means an organization described in Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Service Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)).

    (7) "Telemarketer" means any telephone solicitor. However, "telemarketer" does not include any telephone solicitor who is otherwise registered or licensed with, or regulated or chartered by, the Secretary of State, the Public Utility Commission, the Department of Financial Regulation, or the Department of Taxes or is a financial institution subject to regulations adopted pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 6804(a) by a federal functional regulator. Telephone solicitors registered with the Department of Taxes to collect Vermont income withholding, sales and use, or meals and rooms tax, but not registered with any other agency listed in this subdivision, shall provide to the Secretary of State an address and agent for the purpose of submitting to the jurisdiction of the Vermont courts in any action brought for violations of this section.

    (8) "Telephone solicitation":

    (A) means the solicitation by telephone of a customer for the purpose of encouraging the customer to contribute to an organization that is not a tax-exempt organization, or to purchase, lease, or otherwise agree to pay consideration for money, goods, or services; and

    (B) does not include:

    (i) telephone calls made in response to a request or inquiry by the called customer;

    (ii) telephone calls made by or on behalf of a tax-exempt organization, an organization incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the State of Vermont, or an organization in the process of applying for tax-exempt status or nonprofit status;

    (iii) telephone calls made by a person not regularly engaged in the activities listed in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (8); or

    (iv) telephone calls made to a person with whom the telephone solicitor has an established business relationship.

    (9) "Telephone solicitor" means any person placing telephone solicitations, or hiring others, on an hourly, commission, or independent contractor basis to conduct telephone solicitations.

    (b) Prohibition; Caller Identification Information.

    (1) No telemarketer shall make a telephone solicitation to a telephone number in Vermont without having first registered in accordance with section 2464b of this title.

    (2) No person shall make any telephone call to a telephone number in Vermont that violates the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Rule, 16 C.F.R. subdivision 310.4(b)(1)(iii), or the Federal Communication Commission's Do Not Call Rule, 47 C.F.R. subdivision 64.1200(c)(2) and subsection (d), as amended from time to time.

    (3)(A) A person who places a telephone call to make a telephone solicitation, or to induce a charitable contribution, donation, or gift of money or other thing of value, shall transmit or cause to be transmitted to a caller identification service in use by the recipient of the call:

    (i) the caller's telephone number; and

    (ii) if made available by the caller's carrier, the caller's name.

    (B) Notwithstanding subdivision (A) of this subdivision (3), a caller may substitute for its own name and number the name and the number, which is answered during regular business hours, of the person on whose behalf the caller places the call.

    (c) Violation. A violation of this section shall constitute a violation of section 2453 of this title. Each prohibited telephone call shall constitute a separate violation. In considering a civil penalty for violations of subdivision (b)(2) of this section, the court may consider, among other relevant factors, the extent to which a telephone solicitor maintained and complied with procedures designed to ensure compliance with the rules of the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

    (d) Criminal Penalties. A telemarketer who makes a telephone solicitation in violation of subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall be imprisoned for not more than 18 months or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both. It shall be an affirmative defense, for a telemarketer with five or fewer employees, that the telemarketer did not know, and did not consciously avoid knowing, that Vermont has a requirement of registration of telemarketers. Each telephone call shall constitute a separate solicitation under this section. This section shall not be construed to limit a person's liability under any other civil or criminal law. (Added 2001, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2003, No. 89 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 7, 2004; 2011, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 2, 2012; 2017, No. 66, § 1, eff. June 8, 2017.)

  • § 2464b. Registration of telemarketers

    (a) Every telemarketer shall register with the Secretary of State, on a form approved by the Secretary. In the case of a telemarketer who hires, whether on an hourly, commission, or independent contractor basis, one or more persons to conduct telephone solicitations, only the person who causes others to conduct telephone solicitations need register. The Secretary of State may adopt rules prescribing the manner in which registration under this section shall be conducted, including a requirement of notice to the Secretary by the telemarketer when the telemarketer ceases to do business in Vermont.

    (b) The Secretary of State shall require that each telemarketer designate an agent for the purpose of submitting to the jurisdiction of the Vermont courts in any action brought for violations of section 2464a of this title.

    (c) The Secretary of State shall collect the following fees when a document described in this section is delivered to the Office of the Secretary of State for filing:

    (1) Registration: $125.00.

    (2) Statement of change of designated agent or designated office, or both: $25.00, not to exceed $1,000.00 per filer per calendar year. (Added 2001, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2013, No. 72, § 2.)

  • § 2464c. Private cause of action

    Any person who receives a telephone call in violation of subsection 2464a(b) of this title may bring an action in Superior Court for damages, injunctive relief, punitive damages in the case of a willful violation, and reasonable costs and attorney's fees. The court may issue an award for the person's actual damages or $500.00 for a first violation, or $1,000.00 for each subsequent violation, whichever is greater. In considering the amount of punitive damages, the court may consider, among other relevant factors, the extent to which a telephone solicitor maintained and complied with procedures designed to ensure compliance with the requirements of sections 2464a and 2464b of this title. This section shall not limit any other claims the person may have under applicable law. (Added 2001, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; amended 2003, No. 89 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 7, 2004; 2017, No. 66, § 1, eff. June 8, 2017.)

  • § 2464d. Telephone preference service

    Local exchange carriers shall provide notices at least annually to residential customers of the availability of telephone callers' do not call lists under federal law and of the federal do not call registry, and a description of how to register. (Added 2001, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; amended 2003, No. 89 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 7, 2004.)

  • § 2465. Antitrust remedies

    (a) Any person who sustains damages or injury as a result of any violation of State antitrust laws, including section 2453 of this title, may sue and recover from the violator the amount of his or her damages, or the consideration or the value of the consideration given by the aggrieved person, reasonable attorney's fees and exemplary damages, not exceeding three times the value of the consideration given or damages sustained by the aggrieved person.

    (b) In any action for damages or injury sustained as a result of any violation of State antitrust laws, pursuant to section 2453 of this title, the fact that the State, any public agency, political subdivision, or any other person has not dealt directly with a defendant shall not bar or otherwise limit recovery. The Court shall take all necessary steps to avoid duplicate liability, including the transfer or consolidation of all related actions. (Added 1999, No. 65 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)

  • § 2465a. Definition of local and locally grown

    For the purposes of this chapter and rules adopted pursuant to subsection 2453(c) of this chapter, "local," "locally grown," and any substantially similar term shall mean that the goods being advertised originated within Vermont or 30 miles of the place where they are sold, measured directly, point to point, except that the term "local" may be used in conjunction with a specific geographic location, such as "local to New England," or a specific mile radius, such as "local-within 100 miles," as long as the specific geographic location or mile radius appears as prominently as the term "local," and the representation of origin is accurate. (Added 2007, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. June 11, 2008.)

  • § 2465b. Misrepresentation of a floral business as local

    (a) In connection with the sale of floral products, it shall be an unlawful and deceptive act and practice in commerce in violation of section 2453 of this title for a floral business to misrepresent in an advertisement, on the Internet, on a website, or in a listing of the floral business in a telephone directory or other directory assistance database the geographic location of the floral business as "local," "locally owned," or physically located within Vermont.

    (b) A floral business is considered to misrepresent its geographic location that it is "local," "locally owned," or located within Vermont in violation of subsection (a) of this section if the floral business is not physically located in Vermont and:

    (1) the advertisement, Internet, website, or directory listing would lead a reasonable consumer to conclude that the floral business is physically located in Vermont; or

    (2) the advertisement, Internet, website, or directory listing uses the name of a floral business that is physically located in Vermont, with geographic terms that would lead a reasonable consumer to understand the advertised floral business to be physically located in Vermont.

    (c) A retail floral business physically located in Vermont shall be deemed a consumer for the purposes of enforcing this section under subsection 2461(b) of this chapter. (Added 2011, No. 52, § 45, eff. May 27, 2011.)

  • § 2466. Goods and services appearing on telephone bill

    (a) Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, a seller shall not bill a consumer for goods or services that will appear as a charge on the person's bill for telephone service provided by any local exchange carrier.

    (b) No person shall arrange on behalf of a seller of goods or services, directly or through an intermediary, with a local exchange carrier, to bill a consumer for goods or services other than as permitted by this section. This prohibition applies, but is not limited, to persons who aggregate consumer billings for a seller and to persons who serve as a clearinghouse for aggregated billings.

    (c) Failure to comply with this section is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce under this chapter.

    (d) The Attorney General may make rules and regulations to carry out the purposes of this section.

    (e) Nothing in this section limits the liability of any person under existing statutory or common law.

    (f)(1) This section shall apply to billing aggregators described in 30 V.S.A. § 231a, but shall not apply to:

    (A) billing for goods or services marketed or sold by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the Vermont Public Utility Commission under 30 V.S.A. § 203;

    (B) billing for direct dial or dial around services initiated from the consumer's telephone; or

    (C) operator-assisted telephone calls, collect calls, or telephone services provided to facilitate communication to or from correctional center inmates.

    (2) Nothing in this section affects any rule issued by the Vermont Public Utility Commission. (Added 1999, No. 67 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2011, No. 52, § 78, eff. May 27, 2011.)

  • § 2466a. Consumer protections; prescription drugs

    (a) A violation of 18 V.S.A. § 4631 shall be considered a prohibited practice under section 2453 of this title.

    (b) As provided in 18 V.S.A. § 9474, a violation of 18 V.S.A. § 9472 or 9473 shall be considered a prohibited practice under section 2453 of this title.

    (c)(1) It shall be a prohibited practice under section 2453 of this title for a manufacturer of prescription drugs to present or cause to be presented in the State a regulated advertisement if that advertisement does not comply with the requirements concerning drugs and devices and prescription drug advertising in federal law and regulations under 21 U.S.C. §§ 331 and 352(n) and 21 C.F.R. Part 202.

    (2) For purposes of this section:

    (A) "Manufacturer of prescription drugs" means a person authorized by law to manufacture, bottle, or pack drugs or biological products, a licensee or affiliate of that person, or a labeler that receives drugs or biological products from a manufacturer or wholesaler and repackages them for later retail sale and has a labeler code from the federal Food and Drug Administration under 21 C.F.R. § 202.20.

    (B) "Regulated advertisement" means:

    (i) the presentation to the general public of a commercial message regarding a prescription drug or biological product by a manufacturer of prescription drugs that is broadcast on television, cable, or radio from a station or cable company that is physically located in the State, broadcast over the Internet from a location in the State, or printed in magazines or newspapers that are printed, distributed, or sold in the State; or

    (ii) a commercial message regarding a prescription drug or biological product by a manufacturer of prescription drugs or its representative that is conveyed:

    (I) to the office of a health care professional doing business in Vermont, including statements by representatives or employees of the manufacturer and materials mailed or delivered to the office; or

    (II) at a conference or other professional meeting occurring in Vermont.

    (d) No person shall sell, offer for sale, or distribute electronic prescribing software that advertises, uses instant messaging and pop-up advertisements, or uses other means to influence or attempt to influence the prescribing decision of a health care professional through economic incentives or otherwise and which is triggered or in specific response to the input, selection, or act of a health care professional or agent in prescribing a specific prescription drug or directing a patient to a certain pharmacy. This subsection shall not apply to information provided to the health care professional about pharmacy reimbursement, prescription drug formulary compliance, and patient care management. (Added 2007, No. 80, § 21; amended 2007, No. 89 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. March 5, 2008; 2013, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2015, No. 23, § 42.)

  • § 2466b. Disclosure of fee for automatic dialing service

    (a) In this section:

    (1) "Automatic dialing service" means a service of a home or business security, monitoring, alarm, or similar system, by which the system automatically initiates a call or connection to an emergency service provider, either directly or through a third person, upon the occurrence of an action specified within the system to initiate a call or connection.

    (2) "Emergency functions" include services provided by the Department of Public Safety, firefighting services, police services, sheriff's department services, medical and health services, rescue, engineering, emergency warning services, communications, evacuation of persons, emergency welfare services, protection of critical infrastructure, emergency transportation, temporary restoration of public utility services, other functions related to civilian protection, and all other activities necessary or incidental to the preparation for and carrying out of these functions.

    (3) "Emergency service provider" means a person that performs emergency functions.

    (b) Before executing a contract for the sale or lease of a security, monitoring, alarm, or similar system that includes an automatic dialing service, the seller or lessor of the system shall disclose in writing:

    (1) any fee or charge the seller or lessor charges to the buyer or lessee for the service; and

    (2) that the buyer or lessor may be subject to additional fees or charges imposed by another person for use of the service.

    (c) A person who fails to provide the disclosure required by subsection (b) of this section commits an unfair and deceptive act in commerce in violation of section 2453 of this title. (Added 2015, No. 55, § 4.)

  • § 2466c. Internet service; network management; Attorney General review and disclosure

    (a) The Attorney General shall review the network management practices of Internet service providers in Vermont and, to the extent possible, make a determination as to whether the provider's broadband Internet access service complies with the open Internet rules contained in the Federal Communications Commission's 2015 Open Internet Order , "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet," WC Docket No. 14-28, Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling and Order , 30 FCC Rcd 5601.

    (b) The Attorney General shall disclose his or her findings under this section on a publicly available, easily accessible website maintained by his or her office. (Added 2017, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 8.)


  • Subchapter 001A: ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
  • § 2467. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Assistive device" means an item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off-the-shelf, modified, or customized, that is used or designed to be used to increase, maintain, or improve any functional capability of an individual with disabilities. An assistive device system, that as a whole is within the definition of this term, is itself an assistive device, and, in such cases, this term also applies to each component product of the assistive device system that is itself ordinarily an assistive device. For this section only and no other purposes, this term is limited to:

    (A) wheelchairs and scooters of any kind, including all their assistive devices and components that enhance the mobility or positioning of an individual, such as motorization, motorized positioning features, and the switches and controls for any motorized features; and

    (B) computer equipment with voice output, artificial larynges, voice amplification devices, and other alternative and augmentative communication devices or any devices used for the purpose of communication.

    (2) "Assistive device dealer" means a person who is in the business of selling assistive devices to consumers.

    (3) "Assistive device lessor" means a person who leases an assistive device to a consumer, or who holds the lessor's rights, under a written lease.

    (4) "Collateral costs" means expenses incurred by a consumer in connection with the repair of a nonconformity, including the costs of obtaining an alternative assistive device.

    (5) "Consumer" means any of the following:

    (A) the purchaser of an assistive device, if the assistive device was purchased from an assistive device dealer or manufacturer for purposes other than resale;

    (B) a person to whom the assistive device is transferred for purposes other than resale, if the transfer occurs before the expiration of an express warranty applicable to the assistive device;

    (C) a person who may enforce the warranty; and

    (D) a person who leases an assistive device from an assistive device lessor under a written lease.

    (6) "Demonstrator" means an assistive device used primarily for the purpose of demonstration and tryout to the public.

    (7) "Early termination cost" means any expense or obligation that an assistive device lessor incurs as a result of both the termination of a written lease before the termination date set forth in that lease and the return of an assistive device to a manufacturer pursuant to this section. Early termination cost includes a penalty for prepayment under a finance arrangement.

    (8) "Early termination saving" means any expense or obligation that an assistive device lessor avoids as a result of both the termination of a written lease before that termination date set forth in that lease and the return of an assistive device to a manufacturer pursuant to this section. Early termination saving includes an interest charge that the assistive device lessor would have paid to finance the assistive device or, if the assistive device lessor does not finance the assistive device, the difference between the total amount for which the lease obligates the consumer during the period of the lease term remaining after the early termination and the present value of that amount at the date of the early termination.

    (9) "Loaner" means an assistive technology device that is loaned to the user without charge while repairs are made to the user's assistive technology device.

    (10) "Manufacturer" means a person who manufactures or assembles assistive devices and agents of that person, including an importer, a distributor, factory branch, distributor branch, and any warrantors of the manufacturer's assistive device, but does not include an assistive device dealer.

    (11) "Nonconformity" means a condition or defect that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of an assistive device, and that is covered by an express warranty applicable to the assistive device or to a component of the assistive device, but does not include a condition or defect that is the result of abuse, use which exceeds the manufacturer's recommendations, neglect, or unauthorized modification or alteration of the assistive device by a consumer.

    (12) "Reasonable attempt to repair" means, within the terms of an express warranty applicable to a new assistive device:

    (A) any nonconformity within the warranty that is either subject to repair by the manufacturer, assistive device lessor, or any of the manufacturer's authorized assistive device dealers, for at least three times and a nonconformity continues; or

    (B) the assistive device is out of service for an aggregate of at least 30 cumulative days because of warranty nonconformity. (Added 1999, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2468. Warranty

    (a) A manufacturer who sells or leases an assistive device, only of the types listed in subdivisions 2467(1)(A) and (B) of this title, to a consumer, either directly or through an assistive device dealer, shall furnish the consumer with an express warranty for the assistive device. By the terms of or in the absence of an express warranty from the manufacturer, the manufacturer shall be deemed to have expressly warranted to the consumer of an assistive device, only as defined in subdivisions 2467(1)(A) and (B) of this title, that, for a period of at least one year from the date of first delivery to the consumer, the assistive device:

    (1) has no defects in parts or performance; and

    (2) is free from any condition and defect that would substantially impair the device's use, value, or safety to the consumer.

    (b) The manufacturer, through the assistive device lessor or assistive device dealer, shall provide the consumer with a loaner if the assistive device, listed in subdivisions 2467(1)(A) and (B) of this title, has any condition or defect that would substantially impair the device's use, value, or safety to the consumer and that can not be remedied within one business day.

    (c) If a new assistive device listed in subdivisions 2467(1)(A) and (B) of this title does not conform to an applicable express warranty and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, the assistive device lessor, or any of the manufacturer's authorized assistive device dealers, and makes the assistive device available for repair before one year after return delivery of the assistive device to the consumer, the nonconformity shall be repaired at no charge to the consumer, including parts, labor, shipping, delivery, and all other costs.

    (d) If, after a reasonable attempt to repair, the nonconformity is not repaired, then at the direction of a consumer described in subdivisions 2467(5)(A), (B) or (C) of this title, the manufacturer shall do one of the following:

    (1) Accept return of the assistive device and replace the assistive device with a comparable new assistive device and refund any collateral costs.

    (2) Accept return of the assistive device and refund to the consumer and to any holder of a perfected security interest in the consumer's assistive device, as their interest may appear, the full purchase price plus any finance charge amount paid by the consumer at the point of sale and collateral costs, less a reasonable allowance for use. A reasonable allowance for use may not exceed the amount obtained by multiplying the full purchase price of the assistive device by a fraction, the denominator of which is 1,825 and the numerator of which is the number of days that the assistive device was used before the consumer first reported the nonconformity to the assistive device dealer.

    (3) With respect to a consumer described in subdivision 2467(5)(D) of this title, accept return of the assistive device, refund to the assistive device lessor and to any holder of a perfected security interest in the assistive device, as their interest may appear, the current value of the written lease and refund to the consumer the amount that the consumer paid under the written lease, plus any collateral costs, less a reasonable allowance for use.

    (e) The current value of the written lease equals the total amount for which that lease obligates the consumer during the period of the lease remaining after its early termination, plus the assistive device dealer's early termination costs and the value of the assistive device at the lease expiration date if the lease sets forth that value, less the assistive device lessor's early termination savings.

    (f) A reasonable allowance for use may not exceed the amount obtained by multiplying the total amount for which the written lease obligates the consumer by a fraction, the denominator of which is 1,825 and the numerator of which is a number of days that the consumer used the assistive device before first reporting the nonconformity to the manufacturer, assistive device lessor or assistive device dealer.

    (g) None of the requirements of this subchapter shall be construed to diminish existing assistive device warranties. (Added 1999, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2469. Loaners

    A loaner must:

    (1) Be in good working order;

    (2) Perform the essential functions of the assistive technology device that is being repaired, considering the needs of the user;

    (3) Not create a threat to the safety of the user; and

    (4) Be provided to the consumer by the manufacturer through the assistive device dealer within two business days after notice from the consumer of the nonconformity, except in the case of an assistive device that requires extensive custom retrofit in order to perform the essential functions. Such a custom device shall be provided as soon as reasonably possible, but in no case later than 10 business days after notice. (Added 1999, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2470. Remedies

    (a) To receive a comparable new assistive device or a refund due under subsection 2468(d) of this title, a consumer shall offer to the manufacturer of the assistive device having the nonconformity to transfer possession of that assistive device to that manufacturer. No later than 30 days after that offer, the manufacturer shall provide the consumer with the comparable assistive device or refund. When the manufacturer provides the new assistive device or refund, the consumer shall return the assistive device having the nonconformity to the manufacturer, along with any endorsements necessary to transfer real possession to the manufacturer.

    (b) To receive a refund due under subsection 2468(d) of this title, a consumer described in subdivision 2467(5)(D) of this title shall offer to return the assistive device having the nonconformity to its manufacturer. No later than 30 days after that offer, the manufacturer shall provide the refund to the consumer. When the manufacturer provides the refund, the consumer shall return to the manufacturer the assistive device having the nonconformity.

    (c) To receive a refund due under subsection 2468(d) of this title, an assistive device lessor shall offer to transfer possession of the assistive device having the nonconformity to its manufacturer. No later than 30 days after that offer, the manufacturer shall provide the refund to the assistive device lessor. When the manufacturer provides the refund, the assistive device lessor shall provide to the manufacturer any endorsements necessary to transfer legal possession to the manufacturer.

    (d) If the assistive device was a covered benefit under a health insurance policy or health benefit plan, then the health insurer or other entity providing the benefit shall be subrogated to the consumer's right of recovery to the extent of the benefit provided.

    (e) No person shall enforce the lease against the consumer after the consumer offers to return the assistive device having the non-conformity pursuant to this section or returns the assistive device to the vendor pursuant to this section.

    (f) No assistive device returned by a consumer or assistive device lessor in this State, or by a consumer or assistive device lessor in another state under a similar law of that state, may be sold or leased again in this State, unless full written disclosure of the reasons for return is made to any prospective buyer or lessee.

    (g) This subchapter shall not be construed to limit rights or remedies available to a consumer under any other law.

    (h) Any waiver by a consumer of rights under this subchapter is void.

    (i) A violation of this subchapter or rules adopted under this subchapter is deemed to be an unfair or deceptive practice in commerce and a violation of section 2453 of this title. The Attorney General has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and enter into assurances of discontinuance as provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter.

    (j) A consumer aggrieved by a violation of this subchapter or a violation of rules adopted under this subchapter may bring an action in Superior Court for appropriate equitable relief, the amount of the consumer's damages, punitive damages in the case of a willful violation, the consideration or the value of the consideration given by the consumer, and reasonable costs and attorney's fees. (Added 1999, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


  • Subchapter 001B: CHILDREN'S PRODUCT SAFETY
  • § 2470a. Definition

    As used in this subchapter, "children's product" means a product that is designed or intended for the care of, or use by, children under six years of age (whether or not it is also designed or intended for the care of or use by children six years of age or older), and the product is designed or intended to come into contact with the child while the product is used. A product is not a "children's product" for purposes of this subchapter if:

    (1) it may be used by or for the care of a child under six years of age, but is designed or intended for use by the general population, and not solely or primarily for use by or the care of a child; or

    (2) it is a medication, drug, or food or is intended to be ingested. (Added 2001, No. 42, § 3.)

  • § 2470b. Unsafe children's products; prohibition

    (a) A children's product is deemed to be unsafe for purposes of this subchapter if it meets any of the following criteria:

    (1) It does not conform to all federal laws and regulations setting forth standards for the children's product, including standards endorsed or established by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Society for Testing and Materials.

    (2) It has been recalled for any reason by an agency of the federal government or the product's manufacturer, distributor, or importer, and the recall has not been rescinded.

    (3) An agency of the federal government has issued a warning that a specific product's intended use constitutes a safety hazard, and the warning has not been rescinded.

    (b) The Department of Health shall create or adopt by reference, and shall maintain and update, a comprehensive list of children's products that it has identified as meeting any of the criteria set forth in subdivisions (a)(1) through (3) of this section. The Department of Health shall make the comprehensive list available to the public at no cost, and shall post it on its Internet website. The Department shall also encourage links to and from state, federal, and private internet websites that describe children's product standards, provide information on children or children's products, or advertise or sell children's products.

    (c) It shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce and a violation of section 2453 of this title, subject to enforcement and subject to the rights and remedies provided by subchapter 1 of this chapter, for a seller or lessor to remanufacture or retrofit (unless in compliance with the provisions of subsection (d) of this section), or for a seller or lessor to sell, contract to sell or resell, lease, sublet, or otherwise place in the stream of commerce, on or after January 1, 2002, a children's product that appears on the list of children's products created and maintained under subsection (b) of this section.

    (d)(1) A listed children's product may be retrofitted if the retrofit has been approved or sanctioned by the agency of the federal government issuing the recall or warning or the agency responsible for approving the retrofit, if different from the agency issuing the recall or warning. A retrofitted children's product may be sold or leased if it is accompanied at the time of sale or lease by a notice containing:

    (A) a description of the original problem which made the recalled product unsafe;

    (B) a description of the retrofit which explains how the original problem was eliminated and declaring that it is now safe to use for a child under six years of age; and

    (C) the name and address of the person who accomplished the retrofit.

    (2) The seller or lessor is responsible for ensuring that the notice is present with the retrofitted product at the time of sale or lease. A retrofit is exempt from the provisions of this subchapter if:

    (A) the retrofit is for a children's product that requires assembly by the consumer, the approved retrofit is provided with the product by the seller or lessor, and the retrofit is accompanied at the time of sale or lease by instructions explaining how to apply the retrofit; or

    (B) the seller or lessor of a previously unsold or unleased product accomplishes the repair, approved or recommended by an agency of the federal government, prior to sale or lease.

    (e) It shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce and a violation of section 2453 of this title, subject to enforcement and subject to the rights and remedies provided by subchapter 1 of this chapter, for a person to manufacture, and to sell, contract to sell, resell, lease, sublet, or otherwise place in the stream of commerce, on or after January 1, 2002, a children's product that does not conform to all federal laws and regulations setting forth standards for the children's product, including standards endorsed or established by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Society for Testing and Materials.

    (f) At least annually, the Department of Health shall notify day care facilities and family child care homes licensed or registered under 33 V.S.A. chapter 35 of the list of children's products created and maintained under subsection (b) of this section.

    (g) At least annually, the Department of Health shall notify pediatricians licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 23 of the list of children's products created and maintained under subsection (b) of this section. (Added 2001, No. 42, § 3; amended 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 14.)

  • § 2470c. Exception

    A seller or lessor shall not be held in violation of any provision of this subchapter if the specific children's product sold or leased is not deemed unsafe under subsection 2470b(a) of this title, or was not included on the Department of Health's list 14 days before the sale or commencement of the lease. (Added 2001, No. 42, § 3.)

  • § 2470d. Penalty; remedies

    (a) A seller or lessor who willfully and knowingly violates any provision of this subchapter shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

    (b) The rights and remedies available under this subchapter are in addition to any other rights and remedies that may exist in law or in equity for an aggrieved party, or for the Attorney General. (Added 2001, No. 42, § 3.)


  • Subchapter 001C: LEAD IN CONSUMER PRODUCTS
  • § 2470e. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Children's product" means any consumer product marketed for use by children under the age of 12, or whose substantial use or handling by children under 12 years of age is reasonably foreseeable, including toys, furniture, jewelry, personal care products, clothing, and food containers and packaging.

    (2)(A) "Contain or containing lead," unaccompanied by a specific standard, means containing or having a surface coating containing the following amount of lead by weight of lead or lead compound, unless the Commissioner of Health, in consultation with the Attorney General by rule, reduces this percentage generally or with respect to specific products:

    (i) 0.06 percent as of October 1, 2008;

    (ii) 0.03 percent as of July 1, 2009; and

    (iii) 0.01 percent as of January 1, 2010.

    (B) If the standard set under this subdivision (2) is preempted by a federal standard as to any class of products, then "contain (or containing) lead," unaccompanied by a specific standard, means the lowest such federal standards and federal effective dates applicable to such a class of products.

    (3) "Nonresidential paints and primers" does not mean artists' supplies. (Added 2007, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2470f. Prohibition of lead in children's products

    Except to the extent specifically preempted by federal law, no person shall manufacture, regardless of location, for sale in, offer for sale, sell in or into the stream of commerce, or otherwise introduce into the stream of commerce in Vermont any children's product any component part of which contains lead. This prohibition shall not apply to:

    (1) any part of a children's product that is not accessible to a child through normal and reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of such product. A component part is not accessible under this section if such component part is not physically exposed by reason of a sealed covering or casing and does not become physically exposed through reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of the product, except that paint, coatings, and electroplating shall not be considered barriers that would render lead in the substrate inaccessible to a child under this subdivision;

    (2) any component of a children's product that is intended for children age eight or under, that complies with any more stringent federal or European Union standard for lead in consumer products or with a similar standard applicable in states with a total population of 25 million, and that is contained within a battery compartment that cannot be opened without a coin, screwdriver, or other common household tool; or

    (3) any power cord, USB cable, audio-visual cable, jack, connector, or similar device or component used in connection with or attached to a children's product that:

    (A) conducts electric current;

    (B) is not a small part, as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 16 C.F.R. part 1501;

    (C) does not have a casing or coating that contains lead; and

    (D) complies with the most stringent standard for lead in consumer products adopted by federal law, by states with a total population of at least 25 million, or by the European Union. (Added 2007, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2470g. Prohibition of lead in jewelry

    Except to the extent specifically preempted by federal law and in addition to the prohibition in section 2470f of this subchapter, no person shall manufacture, regardless of location, for sale in, offer for sale, or sell in or into the stream of commerce, or otherwise introduce into the stream of commerce in Vermont any article of jewelry or other metal decorative item containing lead that is not a children's product as defined in section 2470e of this title, where the article, or any detachable part of the article, is the size of a small part as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 16 C.F.R. part 1501, unless the article is:

    (1) expressly and prominently advertised as adult jewelry;

    (2) not commonly understood to be an article for use by a child under age 12; and

    (3) accompanied by a point-of-sale disclosure prescribed by the Attorney General to the effect that the article may contain lead at or above the prevailing legal limit for lead in children's products, if that is true. (Added 2007, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2470h. Consumer warnings; notification; phase-outs

    Except to the extent specifically preempted by federal law:

    (1) Wheel weights. Beginning January 1, 2010, the State of Vermont shall not use wheel weights containing lead in vehicles owned by the State or vehicles operated by the State under a long-term lease. Beginning September 1, 2011, no person shall sell or offer for sale in or into the State of Vermont a new motor vehicle with wheel weights containing lead.

    (2)(A) Plumbing fixtures and related supplies. As prescribed by the Attorney General, beginning January 1, 2009, and ending December 31, 2009, any person who sells or offers for sale in or into the State of Vermont plumbing fixtures whose wetted surfaces contain more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead shall clearly and conspicuously post a warning at the point of sale, stating that these products contain lead and shall also provide to each buyer prior to sale information on the risks of lead exposure.

    (B) Beginning January 1, 2010, no person shall sell or offer for sale in or into the State of Vermont, or use in the State of Vermont, solder or flux for plumbing containing more than 0.2 percent lead, or plumbing fixtures whose wetted surfaces contain more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead.

    (C) As prescribed by the Attorney General, beginning January 1, 2009, any person who sells or offers for sale in or into the State of Vermont solder or flux containing more than 0.2 percent lead shall clearly and conspicuously post a warning at the point of sale, stating that these products contain lead and shall also provide to each buyer prior to sale information on the risks of lead exposure.

    (D) For the purpose of this subdivision (2) of this section:

    (i) the term "plumbing fixtures" means pipes, pipe and plumbing fittings, and fixtures used to convey or dispense water for human consumption;

    (ii) the "weighted average" lead content shall be calculated by using the following formula: the percentage of lead content within each component that comes into contact with water shall be multiplied by the percent of the total wetted surface of the entire pipe and pipe fitting, plumbing fitting, or fixture represented in each component containing lead; these percentages shall be added; and the sum shall constitute the weighted average lead content of the pipe and pipe fitting, plumbing fitting, or fixture.

    (3) Nonresidential paints and primers. As prescribed by the Attorney General, beginning January 1, 2009, and ending December 31, 2010, any person who sells or offers for sale in or into the State of Vermont nonresidential paints and primers containing lead shall clearly and conspicuously post a warning at the point of sale, stating that these products contain lead and shall also provide to each buyer prior to sale information on the risks of lead exposure. Beginning January 1, 2011, no person shall sell or offer for sale in or into the State of Vermont nonresidential paints or primers containing lead. Beginning January 1, 2012, no person shall use nonresidential paints or primers containing lead in the State of Vermont.

    (4) Salvage building materials. As prescribed by the Attorney General, beginning January 1, 2009, any person in commerce who sells or offers for sale in or into the State of Vermont salvage building materials made prior to 1978 shall clearly and conspicuously post a warning at the point of sale, stating that these products may contain lead and shall also provide to each buyer prior to sale information on the risks of lead exposure.

    (5) Other. The Attorney General, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, may by rule require warnings, notifications, or a combination of these relating to other products containing lead. (Added 2007, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2470i. Prohibition on removal of labels

    No person in commerce shall remove from a consumer product any warning label affixed to it that relates in whole or in part to lead or lead hazards and which label is required by this State, the federal government, or any other state or country. (Added 2007, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2470j. Prohibition on providing substantial assistance

    No person shall provide substantial assistance to a person in violation of section 2470f, 2470g, 2470h, or 2470i of this title with knowledge or reason to know of the violation. (Added 2007, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2470k. Violations

    (a) A violation of this subchapter is deemed to be a violation of section 2453 of this title.

    (b) The Attorney General has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, enter into assurances of discontinuance, and bring civil actions, and private parties have the same rights and remedies, as provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter. (Added 2007, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2470l. Scope

    (a) Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to regulate firearms, ammunition or components thereof, hunting or fishing equipment or components thereof, lead pellets from air rifles, shooting ranges, or circumstances resulting from shooting, handling, storing, casting, or reloading ammunition.

    (b) Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to alter the existing authority of the Agency of Natural Resources to regulate the lead content of products used in connection with fishing and hunting. (Added 2007, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)


  • Subchapter 002: CHARITABLE SOLICITATIONS
  • § 2471. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Charitable" means related to a charitable purpose.

    (2) "Charitable organization" means any organization which is or holds itself out to be furthering any charitable purpose.

    (3) "Charitable purpose" means any benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, patriotic, social welfare, advocacy, public health, environmental conservation, or civic objective or any objective of law enforcement officers, firefighters, or other persons who protect the public safety.

    (4) "Contribution" means the grant, promise, or pledge of money, credit, financial assistance, or other goods or services in part or in whole for a charitable purpose.

    (5) "Contributor" means a person who makes a contribution.

    (6) "Fundraising campaign" means an effort undertaken during a specific time period by a paid fundraiser to solicit contributions on behalf of a charitable organization.

    (7) "Gross receipts" mean all receipts before deduction of any administrative or operating expenses.

    (8) "Paid fundraiser" means a person who, for financial consideration, solicits contributions from persons in this State, either directly or through employees, agents, or those with whom the paid fundraiser is in privity. A paid fundraiser does not include:

    (A) Any person who, for compensation, plans, manages, advises, or consults in connection with the solicitation of contributions in this State, but does not solicit contributions; except that if the compensation is in whole or in part dependent on the number or value of contributions received, the person shall be considered a paid fundraiser.

    (B) Any person who for profit is regularly and primarily engaged in trade or commerce in this State other than in connection with the raising of funds for charitable purposes and who represents to the public that an amount per unit of goods or services purchased by the public will benefit a charitable purpose.

    (C) A bona fide officer or employee of a charitable organization.

    (D) A person who solicits for an educational institution at which he or she is a bona fide student, unless the person is paid compensation which is in whole or in part dependent upon the number or value of contributions received.

    (9) "Solicit" and "solicitation" mean the direct or indirect request for a contribution, including the solicitor's offer or attempt to sell any property, rights, services, or other thing, in connection with which:

    (A) The name of any charitable organization or name similar to any charitable organization is used as an inducement for making the contribution or consummating the sale.

    (B) Any statement is made which implies that the whole or any part of the contribution will be donated to any charitable organization or will go to any charitable purpose. A solicitation shall be deemed to have taken place when the request for a contribution is made and at the place where the request is received, whether or not the person making the solicitation receives a contribution. A request or appeal on behalf of a candidate for office or a political committee is not a solicitation. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1991, No. 102.)

  • § 2472. Contracts between paid fundraisers and charitable organizations

    (a) Prior to soliciting in this State, a paid fundraiser shall enter into a written contract with the charitable organization on whose behalf solicitations are to be made. The contract shall contain the following:

    (1) A minimum percentage of the gross receipts of the fundraising campaign to be paid to the charitable organization.

    (2) An itemized description of all expenses, commissions, and other amounts that are to be deducted from the receipts of the fundraising campaign, how they are to be calculated, and to whom they are to be paid.

    (3) An authorized signature of the charitable organization indicating approval of the terms of the contract.

    (4) The following statement in immediate proximity to the signature of the charitable organization, in a minimum size of 10 points:

    Chapter 63 of this title requires a paid fundraiser to provide the fundraiser's charitable sponsor, within 60 days after the end of a solicitation campaign, with a statement setting out the name and address of each contributor and the amount of the contribution; the amount of the gross receipts; and an itemized list of all expenses, commissions, and other costs incurred in the campaign. The law also gives charities other rights, including the right to cancel this contract or to recover damages, or both, in certain circumstances. Contact the Vermont Attorney General for further information.

    (5) A provision that prohibits the paid fundraiser from restricting in any way the use by the charitable organization of the list of donors to the campaign.

    (b) Prior to commencing a solicitation, a paid fundraiser shall:

    (1) Provide to the charitable organization on whose behalf solicitations are to be made, the wording to be used by the paid fundraiser when conducting written solicitations and a copy of any script to be used in conducting telephone or in-person solicitation.

    (2) Obtain written approval from the charitable organization for the use of such wording and script.

    (c) A charitable organization may rescind any contract with a paid fundraiser and have all contributions in the possession of the paid fundraiser returned to the contributors if the contract or the paid fundraiser does not comply with this subchapter.

    (d) Upon application for State funds received through a grant or contract, a charitable organization shall disclose:

    (1) the actual percentage of gross receipts of any fundraising campaign paid to the charitable organization within the two previous fiscal years; and

    (2) the minimum contracted percentage of gross receipts to be paid by a paid fundraiser to the charitable organization in any current or known future fundraising campaign. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2003, No. 51, § 2.)

  • § 2473. Notice of solicitation

    (a) At least 10 days prior to the commencement of a fundraising campaign, a paid fundraiser shall file with the Attorney General a notice of solicitation on a form prescribed by the Attorney General. The notice of solicitation shall contain the following:

    (1) the name, permanent address, and permanent telephone number of the paid fundraiser and, if the paid fundraiser is a business entity, of each of its principal officers and directors;

    (2) the name, address, and telephone number of the charitable organization on behalf of which solicitations are to be made;

    (3) the nature, location, dates, parties, and outcome of any litigation or investigation concerning the fundraiser's solicitation activity in any jurisdiction occurring within six years prior to the commencement of the fundraising campaign in this State;

    (4) the nature and anticipated starting and ending dates of the solicitation campaign;

    (5) the address and telephone number from which the solicitation will be conducted;

    (6) the names and addresses of all employees and agents of, and individuals in privity with, the paid fundraiser who will solicit during the campaign, and whether any of these persons have been convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty arising from a charitable solicitation;

    (7) the name and address of any member of the immediate family of an officer, director, or owner of the paid fundraiser and the name and address of any entity owned in whole or in part by an officer, director, or owner of the paid fundraiser with whom the paid fundraiser will incur expenses in connection with the solicitation campaign;

    (8) a copy of the contract between the paid fundraiser and the charitable organization;

    (9) such other information as the Attorney General may by rule require.

    (b) The notice of solicitation shall be accompanied by a bond approved by the Attorney General in the amount of $20,000.00. The bond shall run to the State and to any person who may have a cause of action against the paid fundraiser for any liability arising under this subchapter, as long as the action on the bond is brought within two years after accrual of the cause of action.

    (c) A separate notice of solicitation shall be required to be filed for each separate solicitation campaign to be undertaken on behalf of a charitable organization. However, only one bond shall be required to be in effect at the same time for any one fundraiser, regardless of the number of notices of solicitation filed.

    (d) Any material change in any information contained in a notice of solicitation shall be reported to the Attorney General in writing not more than seven days after the change occurs.

    (e) The Attorney General may adopt rules to require that:

    (1) the notice of solicitation be filed electronically, with proper verification;

    (2) the paid fundraiser provide an electronic copy of the contract with the notice of solicitation, or provide a copy of the contract upon request of the Attorney General; and

    (3) the paid fundraiser provide an electronic copy of the bond with the notice of solicitation, or provide a copy of the bond upon request of the Attorney General.

    (f)(1) For each calendar year in which a paid fundraiser solicits in this State on behalf of a charitable organization, the paid fundraiser shall pay a registration fee of $500.00 to the Attorney General no later than ten days prior to its first solicitation in this State.

    (2) Each notice of solicitation filed in accordance with this section shall be accompanied by a fee of $200.00. In the case of a campaign lasting more than 12 months, an additional $200.00 fee shall be paid annually on or before the date of the anniversary of the commencement of the campaign.

    (3) Fees paid under this subsection shall be deposited in a special fund managed pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5, and shall be available to the Attorney General for the costs of administering sections 2471-2479 of this title. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2003, No. 110 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 11, 2004; 2013, No. 72, § 32; 2015, No. 57, § 29, eff. June 11, 2015.)

  • § 2474. Notice not to be used as an endorsement

    A paid fundraiser shall not use or exploit the fact of filing a notice of solicitation to create the impression that the State has in any way endorsed or approved a solicitation or solicitation campaign. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2475. Solicitations

    (a) No paid fundraiser shall misrepresent, directly or indirectly, his or her relationship to a charitable organization.

    (b) No paid fundraiser or charitable organization shall misrepresent, directly or indirectly, to a contributor or potential contributor any fact relating to the solicitation, including the percentage of the contribution that will be paid over to the charitable organization or the purpose for which the contribution will be used.

    (c) No paid fundraiser shall represent, directly or indirectly, that any part of the contributions received will be given or donated to any charitable organization unless the organization has previously consented in writing to the use of its name.

    (d) The provisions of this section shall also apply to any person that a paid fundraiser employs or engages, directly or indirectly, to solicit contributions.

    (e) No paid fundraiser shall solicit a contribution from any person in this State without clearly and conspicuously disclosing to the person, both orally, if the paid fundraiser is soliciting in whole or in part by telephone, and in writing, if the paid fundraiser is soliciting in whole or in part by means of writing:

    (1) that the solicitor is being paid by the charitable organization on whose behalf the solicitation is being made; and

    (2) how the potential contributor may obtain information from the State on the respective percentages of contributions that will be paid to the charitable organization and to the paid fundraiser. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1997, No. 42, §§ 3, 4; 2003, No. 51, § 3.)

  • § 2476. Bank accounts

    (a) All checks and money orders contributed in response to a solicitation shall be made out to the name of the charitable organization.

    (b) A paid fundraiser shall immediately deposit, in a bank account in the name of the charitable organization with which the paid fundraiser has contracted, all contributions received by the paid fundraiser. The signature of the treasurer or other agent designated by the charitable organization shall be required to remove any funds from the account.

    (c) Within 60 days after a solicitation campaign has been completed, the paid fundraiser shall file with the charitable organization a closing statement for the campaign, including the name and address of each contributor and the amount of the contribution; the amount of gross receipts; and an itemized list of all expenses, commissions, and other costs incurred in the campaign. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2477. Financial report

    (a) No later than 90 days after a fundraising campaign has been completed, and no later than 90 days after the anniversary of the commencement of a fundraising campaign lasting more than one year, a paid fundraiser that has solicited contributions in this State shall file a financial report with the Attorney General on a form prescribed by the Attorney General. The information required by this section shall pertain to the entire fundraising campaign, or, in the case of a campaign lasting more than one year, to the 12 months ending on the most recent anniversary of the commencement of the campaign.

    (b) The financial report shall contain the following:

    (1) Total gross receipts.

    (2) A description of how the gross receipts were distributed, including an itemized list of all expenses, commissions, and other costs of the fundraising campaign, and the net amount paid to the charitable organization for its charitable purposes, after payment of all fundraising expenses, commissions, and other costs.

    (3) The percentage of gross receipts represented by the total of fundraising expenses, commissions, and other costs.

    (4) The percentage of gross receipts represented by the net amount paid to the charitable organization for its charitable purposes, after payment of all fundraising expenses, commissions, and other costs.

    (5) The signature of the charitable organization.

    (6) Such other information as the Attorney General may by rule require.

    (c) The Attorney General may adopt rules requiring that the financial report be filed electronically, with proper verification. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2003, No. 110 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 11, 2004.)

  • § 2478. Records required

    (a) A paid fundraiser shall maintain such records as the Attorney General may by rule require for three years from the end of the solicitation campaign to which they pertain.

    (b) Whenever the Attorney General has reason to believe that a paid fundraiser has violated this subchapter, the Attorney General may inspect all records required to be maintained by a paid fundraiser except that the identities of the contributors shall be available for inspection by the Attorney General upon request, only through a civil investigation conducted pursuant to subsection 2479(b) of this title. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2479. Violations

    (a) A violation of this subchapter, including the filing of any false information on a notice of solicitation or financial report, is deemed to be a violation of section 2453 of this title. This section shall not be construed to limit a paid fundraiser's liability under any other law.

    (b) The Attorney General has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and bring civil actions with respect to the acts and practices of paid fundraisers and charitable organizations as is provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter.

    (c) A contributor or a charitable organization has the same rights with respect to the acts and practices of a paid fundraiser as a consumer has under section 2461 of this title. (Added 1989, No. 232 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1997, No. 42, § 5.)


  • Subchapter 002A: MUSICAL PERFORMANCES
  • § 2479a. Truth in advertising and producing musical performances

    (a) As used in this section:

    (1) "Performing group" means a vocal or instrumental group that uses the name of another group that has previously released a commercial sound recording under that name.

    (2) "Recording group" means a vocal or instrumental group in which at least one of the members previously released a commercial sound recording under that group's name and in which the member or members have a legal right by virtue of use or operation under the group name without having abandoned the name or affiliation with the group.

    (3) "Sound recording" means a disc, tape, or other phono-recording material on which a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds has been embodied.

    (b) No person shall advertise or conduct a live musical performance or production in Vermont through false, deceptive, or misleading affiliation, connection, or association with a performing group or a recording group, except under one or more of the following requirements:

    (1) The performing group is the authorized registrant and owner of a federal service mark for the group name registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    (2) At least one member of the performing group was a member of the recording group and has a legal right by virtue of use or operation under the group name and has not abandoned the name or affiliation with the group.

    (3) The live musical performance or production is conspicuously identified in all advertising and promotion as a salute or tribute to the recording group, and the name of the performing group is different from the recording group.

    (4) The performance or production is expressly authorized by the recording group.

    (c) The Attorney General or State's Attorney has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and bring civil actions with respect to violations of subsection (b) of this section as provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter. Each performance or production or advertisement found to be a violation of subsection (b) of this section shall constitute a separate violation. (Added 2007, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


  • Subchapter 003: FAIR CREDIT REPORTING
  • § 2480a. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter and subchapter 10 of this chapter:

    (1) "Consumer" means a natural person other than a protected consumer.

    (2) "Consumer who is subject to a protected consumer security freeze" means a natural person:

    (A) for whom a credit reporting agency placed a security freeze under section 2480h of this title; and

    (B) who, on the day on which a request for the removal of the security freeze is submitted under section 2480h of this title, is not a protected consumer.

    (3) "Credit report" means any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a credit reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living, including an investigative credit report. The term does not include:

    (A) a report containing information solely as to transactions or experiences between the consumer and the person making the report; or

    (B) an authorization or approval of a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly by the issuer of a credit card or similar device.

    (4) "Credit reporting agency" or "agency" means a person who, for fees, dues, or on a cooperative basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating information concerning a consumer's credit or other information for the purpose of furnishing a credit report to another person.

    (5) "File" shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. § 1681a.

    (6) "Identity theft" means the unauthorized use of another person's personal identifying information to obtain credit, goods, services, money, or property.

    (7) "Incapacitated person" shall have the same meaning as in 14 V.S.A. § 3152.

    (8) "Investigative credit report" means a report in which information on a consumer's character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates of the consumer reported on or with others with whom the consumer is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning any such items of information. The term does not include reports of specific factual information on a consumer's credit record obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from a credit reporting agency when such information was obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from the consumer.

    (9)(A) "Personal information" means personally identifiable financial information:

    (i) provided by a consumer to another person;

    (ii) resulting from any transaction with the consumer or any service performed for the consumer; or

    (iii) otherwise obtained by another person.

    (B) "Personal information" does not include:

    (i) publicly available information, as that term is defined by the regulations prescribed under 15 U.S.C. § 6804; or

    (ii) any list, description, or other grouping of consumers and publicly available information pertaining to the consumers that is derived without using any nonpublic personal information.

    (C) Notwithstanding subdivision (B) of this subdivision (9), "personal information" includes any list, description, or other grouping of consumers and publicly available information pertaining to the consumers that is derived using any nonpublic personal information other than publicly available information.

    (10) "Proper authority" means:

    (A) in the case that it is required of a protected consumer's representative:

    (i) sufficient proof of identification of the protected consumer;

    (ii) sufficient proof of identification of the protected consumer's representative; and

    (iii) sufficient proof of authority to act on behalf of the protected consumer; and

    (B) in the case that it is required of a consumer who is subject to a protected consumer security freeze:

    (i) sufficient proof of identification of the consumer who is subject to a protected consumer security freeze; and

    (ii) proof that the consumer who is subject to a protected consumer security freeze is not a protected consumer.

    (11) "Proper identification" shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. § 1681h(a)(1), and includes:

    (A) the consumer's full name, including first, last, and middle names and any suffix;

    (B) any name the consumer previously used;

    (C) the consumer's current and recent full addresses, including street address, any apartment number, city, state, and zip code;

    (D) the consumer's Social Security number; and

    (E) the consumer's date of birth.

    (12) "Protected consumer" means a natural person who, at the time a request for a security freeze is made, is:

    (A) under 16 years of age;

    (B) an incapacitated person; or

    (C) a protected person.

    (13) "Protected consumer security freeze" means:

    (A) if a consumer reporting agency does not have a file that pertains to a protected consumer, a restriction that:

    (i) is placed on the protected consumer's record in accordance with this subchapter; and

    (ii) except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, prohibits the consumer reporting agency from releasing the protected consumer's record; or

    (B) if a consumer reporting agency has a file that pertains to the protected consumer, a restriction that:

    (i) is placed on the protected consumer's credit report in accordance with this subchapter; and

    (ii) except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, prohibits the consumer reporting agency from releasing the protected consumer's credit report or any information derived from the protected consumer's credit report.

    (14) "Protected person" shall have the same meaning as in 14 V.S.A. § 3152.

    (15) "Record" means a compilation of information that:

    (A) identifies a protected consumer;

    (B) is created by a consumer reporting agency solely for the purpose of complying with this section; and

    (C) may not be created or used to consider the protected consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.

    (16) "Representative" means a person who provides to a consumer reporting agency sufficient proof of authority to act on behalf of a protected consumer.

    (17) "Security freeze" means a notice placed in a credit report, at the request of the consumer, pursuant to section 2480h of this title.

    (18) "Sufficient proof of authority" means documentation that shows that a person has authority to act on behalf of a protected consumer, including:

    (A) a birth certificate;

    (B) a court order;

    (C) a lawfully executed power of attorney; or

    (D) a written, notarized statement signed by the person that expressly describes the person's authority to act on behalf of the protected consumer.

    (19) "Sufficient proof of identification" means information or documentation that identifies a protected consumer or a representative, including:

    (A) a Social Security number or a copy of a Social Security card issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration;

    (B) a certified or official copy of a birth certificate; or

    (C) a copy of a government-issued driver's license or identification card. (Added 1991, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 2005; 2005, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2017, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 2019; 2019, No. 57, § 21.)

  • § 2480b. Disclosures to consumers

    (a) A credit reporting agency shall, upon request and proper identification of any consumer, clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer all information available to users at the time of the request pertaining to the consumer, including:

    (1) any credit score or predictor relating to the consumer, in a form and manner that complies with such comments or guidelines as may be issued by the Federal Trade Commission;

    (2) the names of users requesting information pertaining to the consumer during the prior 12-month period and the date of each request; and

    (3) a clear and concise explanation of the information.

    (b) As frequently as new telephone directories are published, the credit reporting agency shall cause to be listed its name and number in each telephone directory published to serve communities of this State. In accordance with rules adopted by the Attorney General, the credit reporting agency shall make provision for consumers to request by telephone the information required to be disclosed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section at no cost to the consumer.

    (c) Any time a credit reporting agency is required to make a written disclosure to consumers pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681g, it shall disclose, in at least 12 point type, and in bold type as indicated, the following notice:

     

    “NOTICE TO VERMONT CONSUMERS

     

    (1) Under Vermont law, you are allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting agency. If you would like to obtain your free credit report from [INSERT NAME OF COMPANY], you should contact us by [[writing to the following address: [INSERT ADDRESS FOR OBTAINING FREE CREDIT REPORT]] or [calling the following number: [INSERT TELEPHONE NUMBER FOR OBTAINING FREE CREDIT REPORT]], or both].

    (2) Under Vermont law, no one may access your credit report without your permission except under the following limited circumstances:

    (A) in response to a court order;

    (B) for direct mail offers of credit;

    (C) if you have given ongoing permission and you have an existing relationship with the person requesting a copy of your credit report;

    (D) where the request for a credit report is related to an education loan made, guaranteed, or serviced by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation;

    (E) where the request for a credit report is by the Office of Child Support when investigating a child support case;

    (F) where the request for a credit report is related to a credit transaction entered into prior to January 1, 1993; or

    (G) where the request for a credit report is by the Vermont Department of Taxes and is used for the purpose of collecting or investigating delinquent taxes.

    (3) If you believe a law regulating consumer credit reporting has been violated, you may file a complaint with the Vermont Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program, 104 Morrill Hall, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405.

     

    Vermont Consumers

     

    Have the Right to Obtain a Security Freeze

     

    You have a right to place a "security freeze" on your credit report pursuant to 9 V.S.A. § 2480h at no charge. The security freeze will prohibit a credit reporting agency from releasing any information in your credit report without your express authorization. A security freeze must be requested in writing by certified mail.

    The security freeze is designed to help prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gains access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding new loans, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular phone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transaction, or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.

    When you place a security freeze on your credit report, within ten business days you will be provided a personal identification number, password, or other equally or more secure method of authentication to use if you choose to remove the freeze on your credit report or authorize the release of your credit report for a specific party, parties, or period of time after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization, you must contact the credit reporting agency and provide all of the following:

    (1) The unique personal identification number, password, or other method of authentication provided by the credit reporting agency.

    (2) Proper identification to verify your identity.

    (3) The proper information regarding the third party or parties who are to receive the credit report or the period of time for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report.

    A credit reporting agency may not charge a fee to remove the freeze on your credit report or authorize the release of your credit report for a specific party, parties, or period of time after the freeze is in place.

    A credit reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report shall comply with the request no later than three business days after receiving the request.

    A security freeze will not apply to "preauthorized approvals of credit." If you want to stop receiving preauthorized approvals of credit, you should call [INSERT PHONE NUMBERS] [ALSO INSERT ALL OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION FOR PRESCREENED OFFER OPT-OUT.]

    A security freeze does not apply to a person or entity, or its affiliates, or collection agencies acting on behalf of the person or entity with which you have an existing account that requests information in your credit report for the purposes of reviewing or collecting the account, provided you have previously given your consent to this use of your credit reports. Reviewing the account includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.

    You have a right to bring a civil action against someone who violates your rights under the credit reporting laws. The action can be brought against a credit reporting agency or a user of your credit report."

    (d) The information required to be disclosed by this section shall be disclosed in writing. The information required to be disclosed pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be disclosed on one side of a separate document, with text no smaller than that prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission for the notice required under 15 U.S.C. § 1681g. The information required to be disclosed pursuant to subsection (c) of this section may accurately reflect changes in numerical items that change over time (such as the telephone number or address of Vermont State agencies), and remain in compliance.

    (e) The Attorney General may revise this required notice by rule as appropriate from time to time so long as no new substantive rights are created therein. (Added 1991, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1993, No. 3, § 1, eff. April 9, 1993; 1997, No. 93 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. July 1, 2005; 2005, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2017, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 22, 2018.)

  • § 2480c. Charges for certain disclosures by credit reporting agencies

    (a) A credit reporting agency shall not impose a charge for:

    (1) providing the information required to be disclosed under subsection 2480b(a) of this title, once every 12 months;

    (2) providing the notice required under subsection 2480d(g) of this title (notice of results of reinvestigation); or

    (3) notifying any person designated by the consumer pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681i of the deletion of information which is found to be inaccurate or which can no longer be verified.

    (b) For all other disclosures to consumers of information available to users pertaining to the consumer the credit reporting agency may impose a reasonable charge, not to exceed $7.50, on the consumer. (Added 1991, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480d. Procedure in case of disputed accuracy

    (a) If the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in the consumer's file is disputed by the consumer and the consumer notifies the credit reporting agency directly of such dispute, the agency shall reinvestigate free of charge and record the current status of the disputed information on or before 30 business days after the date the agency receives notice from the consumer.

    (b) On or before five business days after the date a credit reporting agency receives notice of a dispute from a consumer in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, the agency shall provide notice of the dispute to all persons who provided any item of information in dispute.

    (c) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a credit reporting agency may terminate a reinvestigation of information disputed by a consumer under such subsection if the agency reasonably determines that such dispute by the consumer is frivolous or irrelevant. Upon making such a determination, a credit reporting agency shall promptly notify the consumer of such determination and the reasons therefor, by mail, or if authorized by the consumer for that purpose, by telephone. The presence of contradictory information in the consumer's file does not in and of itself constitute reasonable grounds for determining the dispute is frivolous or irrelevant.

    (d) In conducting a reinvestigation under subsection (a) of this section, the credit reporting agency shall review and consider all relevant information submitted by the consumer with respect to such disputed information.

    (e) If, after a reinvestigation under subsection (a) of this section of any information disputed by a consumer, the information is found to be inaccurate or cannot be verified, the credit reporting agency shall promptly delete such information from the consumer's file. For purposes of this section, "information" shall not include other information in the same item that is not disputed by the consumer.

    (f) If any information is deleted after a reinvestigation under subsection (a) of this section, the information may not be reinserted in the consumer's file after deletion unless the person who furnishes the information reinvestigates and states in writing or by electronic record to the agency that the information is complete and accurate. Such furnisher shall not provide such statement unless the furnisher reasonably believes that the information is complete and accurate. Upon such reinvestigation and statement by the furnisher, the credit reporting agency shall promptly notify the consumer of any reinsertion.

    (g) A credit reporting agency shall provide written notice of the results of any reinvestigation under this subsection within five business days of the completion of the reinvestigation, by mail or, if authorized by the consumer for that purpose, by telephone. This notice shall include:

    (1) a statement that the reinvestigation is complete;

    (2) a statement of the determination of the agency on the completeness or accuracy of the disputed information;

    (3) a credit report that is based upon the consumer's file as that file is revised as a result of the reinvestigation;

    (4) a description of the manner in which the information disputed by the consumer has been altered, changed, deleted, or modified in the consumer's credit report;

    (5) a description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information, including the name, business address, and, if available, the telephone number of any person contacted in connection with such information; and

    (6) a notification that the consumer has the right, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681i, to add a statement to the consumer's file disputing the accuracy or completeness of the information. (Added 1991, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480e. Consumer consent

    (a) A person shall not obtain the credit report of a consumer unless:

    (1) the report is obtained in response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order; or

    (2) the person has secured the consent of the consumer, and the report is used for the purpose consented to by the consumer.

    (b) Credit reporting agencies shall adopt reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible compliance with subsection (a) of this section.

    (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect:

    (1) the ability of a person who has secured the consent of the consumer pursuant to subdivision (a)(2) of this section to include in his or her request to the consumer permission to also obtain credit reports, in connection with the same transaction or extension of credit, for the purpose of reviewing the account, increasing the credit line on the account, for the purpose of taking collection action on the account, or for other legitimate purposes associated with the account; and

    (2) the use of credit information for the purpose of prescreening, as defined and permitted from time to time by the Federal Trade Commission. (Added 1991, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480f. Violations

    (a) A violation of this subchapter or rules adopted under this subchapter is deemed to be a violation of section 2453 of this title. This section shall not be construed to limit a credit reporting agency's liability under any other law.

    (b) A consumer aggrieved by a violation of this subchapter or rules adopted under this subchapter may bring an action in Superior Court for the consumer's damages, injunctive relief, punitive damages in the case of a willful violation, and reasonable costs and attorney's fees. In the case of a violation by a credit reporting agency, or in the case of a willful violation by any person, the Court, in addition, may issue an award for the consumer's actual damages or $100.00, whichever is greater. In considering the amount of punitive damages, the Court may consider, among other relevant factors:

    (1) the extent to which a credit reporting agency failed to consider relevant information provided by the consumer during any reinvestigation of information in the consumer's file; and

    (2) the extent to which a credit reporting agency maintained and complied with procedures designed to ensure compliance with the requirements of this subchapter.

    (c) The Attorney General has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and bring civil actions with respect to any alleged violations of this subchapter as is provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter. (Added 1991, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480g. Exemptions

    (a) The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to education loans made, guaranteed or serviced by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation pursuant to 16 V.S.A. chapter 87.

    (b) The provisions of section 2480e of this title shall not apply to the Office of Child Support services when investigating a child support case pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and 33 V.S.A. § 4102.

    (c) The provisions of section 2480e of this title shall not apply to credit transactions entered into prior to January 1, 1993.

    (d) The provisions of section 2480e of this title shall not apply to the Department of Taxes, its agents or assigns:

    (1) where the Department has reason to believe that the taxpayer is liable for delinquent taxes, and the Department is seeking the taxpayer's credit report in furtherance of the investigation or collection of such delinquent taxes; or

    (2) where the Department is seeking the taxpayer's credit report in furtherance of the collection of a debt owed by the taxpayer to the State of Vermont. (Added 1991, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 50, § 1, eff. June 26, 1997.)

  • § 2480h. Security freeze by credit reporting agency; time in effect

    (a)(1)  A Vermont consumer may place a security freeze on his or her credit report. A credit reporting agency shall not charge a fee to Vermont consumers for placing or removing, removing for a specific party or parties, or removing for a specific period of time after the freeze is in place, a security freeze on a credit report.

    (2) A consumer may place a security freeze on his or her credit report by making a request in writing by certified mail to a credit reporting agency.

    (3) A security freeze shall prohibit, subject to the exceptions in subsection (l) of this section, the credit reporting agency from releasing the consumer's credit report or any information from it without the express authorization of the consumer.

    (4) This subsection does not prevent a credit reporting agency from advising a third party that a security freeze is in effect with respect to the consumer's credit report.

    (b) A credit reporting agency shall place a security freeze on a consumer's credit report not later than five business days after receiving a written request from the consumer.

    (c) The credit reporting agency shall send a written confirmation of the security freeze to the consumer within 10 business days and shall provide the consumer with a unique personal identification number or password, other than the customer's Social Security number, or another method of authentication that is equally or more secure than a PIN or password, to be used by the consumer when providing authorization for the release of his or her credit for a specific party, parties, or period of time.

    (d) If the consumer wishes to allow his or her credit report to be accessed for a specific party, parties, or period of time while a freeze is in place, he or she shall contact the credit reporting agency, request that the freeze be temporarily lifted, and provide the following:

    (1) proper identification;

    (2) the unique personal identification number, password, or other method of authentication provided by the credit reporting agency pursuant to subsection (c) of this section; and

    (3) the proper information regarding the third party, parties, or time period for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report.

    (e) A credit reporting agency may develop procedures involving the use of telephone, fax, the Internet, or other electronic media to receive and process a request from a consumer to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subsection (d) of this section in an expedited manner.

    (f) A credit reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall comply with the request not later than three business days after receiving the request.

    (g) A credit reporting agency shall remove or lift temporarily a freeze placed on a consumer's credit report only in the following cases:

    (1) Upon consumer request, pursuant to subsection (d) or (j) of this section.

    (2) If the consumer's credit report was frozen due to a material misrepresentation of fact by the consumer. If a credit reporting agency intends to remove a freeze upon a consumer's credit report pursuant to this subdivision, the credit reporting agency shall notify the consumer in writing prior to removing the freeze on the consumer's credit report.

    (h) If a third party requests access to a credit report on which a security freeze is in effect and this request is in connection with an application for credit or any other use and the consumer does not allow his or her credit report to be accessed for that specific party or period of time, the third party may treat the application as incomplete.

    (i) If a consumer requests a security freeze pursuant to this section, the credit reporting agency shall disclose to the consumer the process of placing and lifting temporarily a security freeze and the process for allowing access to information from the consumer's credit report for a specific party, parties, or period of time while the security freeze is in place.

    (j) A security freeze shall remain in place until the consumer requests that the security freeze be removed. A credit reporting agency shall remove a security freeze within three business days of receiving a request for removal from the consumer who provides both of the following:

    (1) proper identification; and

    (2) the unique personal identification number, password, or other method of authentication provided by the credit reporting agency pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

    (k) A credit reporting agency shall require proper identification of the person making a request to place or remove a security freeze.

    (l) The provisions of this section, including the security freeze, do not apply to the use of a consumer report by the following:

    (1) A person, or the person's subsidiary, affiliate, agent, or assignee with which the consumer has or, prior to assignment, had an account, contract, or debtor-creditor relationship for the purposes of reviewing the account or collecting the financial obligation owing for the account, contract, or debt, or extending credit to a consumer with a prior or existing account, contract, or debtor-creditor relationship, subject to the requirements of section 2480e of this title. For purposes of this subdivision, "reviewing the account" includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.

    (2) A subsidiary, affiliate, agent, assignee, or prospective assignee of a person to whom access has been granted under subsection (d) of this section for purposes of facilitating the extension of credit or other permissible use.

    (3) Any person acting pursuant to a court order, warrant, or subpoena.

    (4) The Office of Child Support when investigating a child support case pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. et seq.) and 33 V.S.A. § 4102.

    (5) The Economic Services Division of the Department for Children and Families or the Department of Vermont Health Access or its agents or assignee acting to investigate welfare or Medicaid fraud.

    (6) The Department of Taxes, municipal taxing authorities, or the Department of Motor Vehicles, or any of their agents or assignees, acting to investigate or collect delinquent taxes or assessments, including interest and penalties, unpaid court orders, or acting to fulfill any of their other statutory or charter responsibilities.

    (7) A person's use of credit information for the purposes of prescreening as provided by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

    (8) Any person for the sole purpose of providing a credit file monitoring subscription service to which the consumer has subscribed.

    (9) A credit reporting agency for the sole purpose of providing a consumer with a copy of his or her credit report upon the consumer's request.

    (10) Any property and casualty insurance company for use in setting or adjusting a rate or underwriting for property and casualty insurance purposes. (Added 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2005; amended 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2005, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 4; 2009, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § I.15; 2017, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. May 22, 2018.)

  • § 2480i. Credit reporting agency duties if security freeze in place

    If a security freeze is in place, a credit reporting agency shall not change any of the following official information in a credit report without sending a written confirmation of the change to the consumer within 30 days of the change being posted to the consumer's file: name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address. Written confirmation is not required for technical modifications of a consumer's official information, including name and street abbreviations, complete spellings, or transposition of numbers or letters. In the case of an address change, the written confirmation shall be sent to both the new address and the former address. (Added 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2005.)

  • § 2480j. Persons not required to place security freeze

    The following persons are not required to place in a credit report a security freeze, pursuant to section 2480h of this title; provided, however, that any person that is not required to place a security freeze on a credit report under the provisions of subdivision (3) of this section shall be subject to any security freeze placed on a credit report by another credit reporting agency from which it obtains information:

    (1) A check services or fraud prevention services company, which reports on incidents of fraud or issues authorizations for the purpose of approving or processing negotiable instruments, electronic fund transfers, or similar methods of payment.

    (2) A deposit account information service company, which issues reports regarding account closures due to fraud, substantial overdrafts, ATM abuse, or similar negative information regarding a consumer to inquiring banks or other financial institutions for use only in reviewing a consumer request for a deposit account at the inquiring bank or financial institution.

    (3) A credit reporting agency that:

    (A) acts only to resell credit information by assembling and merging information contained in a database of one or more credit reporting agencies; and

    (B) does not maintain a permanent database of credit information from which new credit reports are produced. (Added 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2005.)

  • § 2480k. Complaints to law enforcement agencies

    A person who has learned or reasonably suspects that his or her personal identifying information has been unlawfully used by another, as described in 13 V.S.A. § 2030(a), may make a complaint about the unlawful use of personal identifying information to the State Police or to the person's local law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency shall take the complaint and provide the complainant with a copy of the complaint, the name of the law enforcement officer taking the complaint, and an incident number or case number assigned to the complaint by the law enforcement agency. If the suspected crime was committed in a different jurisdiction, the law enforcement agency shall take the complaint and provide the complainant with a copy of the complaint, the name of the law enforcement officer taking the complaint, and an incident number or case number assigned to the complaint by the law enforcement agency and refer the complaint to a law enforcement agency in that different jurisdiction. (Added 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2005.)

  • § 2480m. Limitations on use of social security numbers

    Prior to posting or requiring the posting of a document in a place of general public circulation, an agency, board, department, commission, committee, branch, instrumentality, or authority of the State, or an agency, board, committee, department, branch, instrumentality, commission, or authority of any political subdivision of the State shall take all reasonable steps to redact any Social Security numbers from the document. Files and records made available to the public in accordance with and pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 1165 are not considered posted in a place of general public circulation for the purposes of this section. (Added 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2005.)

  • § 2480n. Credit report files of deceased persons

    (a) An executor, administrator, or other person authorized to act on behalf of an estate of a deceased person may request that a credit reporting agency indicate on the deceased person's credit reporting file that the person is deceased. The credit reporting agency shall indicate on the deceased person's credit reporting file that the person is deceased within five business days of receipt of the following documentation from the executor, administrator, or other person authorized to act on behalf of the estate of the deceased person:

    (1) a certificate of death, or a certificate of appointment, letters testamentary, or other order from the Probate Division of the Superior Court authorizing the executor, administrator, or other person to act on behalf of the estate of the deceased person; and

    (2) a request to indicate on the deceased person's credit reporting file that the person is deceased.

    (b) The credit reporting agency may remove the indication placed on the person's file pursuant to subsection (a) of this section if the credit reporting agency finds that the indication was placed on the person's file through material misrepresentation of fact. If the credit reporting agency intends to remove the indication pursuant to this subsection, the credit reporting agency shall notify the executor, administrator, or other person authorized to act on behalf of the estate in writing prior to removing the indication. (Added 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2005; amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011.)


  • Subchapter 004: PREVENTION OF CREDIT CARD COMPANY UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES
  • § 2480o. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Electronic payment system" means an entity that directly or through licensed members, processors, or agents provides the proprietary services, infrastructure, and software that route information and data to facilitate transaction authorization, clearance, and settlement, and that merchants are required to access in order to accept a specific brand of general-purpose credit cards, charge cards, debit cards, or stored-value cards as payment for goods and services.

    (2) "Merchant" means a person or entity that, in Vermont:

    (A)(i) does business; or

    (ii) offers goods or services for sale; and

    (B) has a physical presence. (Added 2009, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2011.)

  • § 2480p. Electronic payment systems

    With respect to transactions involving Vermont merchants, no electronic payment system may directly or through any agent, processor, or member of the system:

    (1) impose any requirement, condition, penalty, or fine in a contract with a merchant to inhibit the ability of any merchant to provide a discount or other benefit for payment through the use of a card of another electronic payment system, cash, check, debit card, stored-value card, charge card, or credit card rather than another form of payment;

    (2) impose any requirement, condition, penalty, or fine in a contract with a merchant to prevent the ability of any merchant to set a minimum dollar value of no more than $10.00 for its acceptance of a form of payment, provided that if a minimum dollar value is set by a merchant, it shall be prominently displayed and printed in not less than 16-point boldface type at the point of sale;

    (3) impose any requirement, condition, penalty, or fine in a contract with a merchant to inhibit the ability of any merchant to decide to accept an electronic payment system at one or more of its locations but not at others. (Added 2009, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2011.)

  • § 2480q. Penalties

    (a) The following penalties shall apply to violations of this subchapter:

    (1) Any electronic payment system found to have violated section 2480p of this subchapter shall reimburse all affected merchants for all fines related to the prohibitions described in section 2480p of this subchapter which were collected from affected merchants directly or through any agent, processor, or member of the system during the period of time in which the electronic payment system was in violation and shall be liable for a civil penalty of $10,000.00 per fine levied in violation of section 2480p of this subchapter.

    (2) Any merchant whose rights under this subchapter have been violated may maintain a civil action for damages or equitable relief as provided for in this section, including attorney's fees, if any.

    (3) A violation of section 2480p of this subchapter shall be deemed a violation of section 2453 of this title. The Attorney General has the same authority to conduct civil investigations, enter into assurances of discontinuance, and bring civil actions as provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter.

    (b) These penalties shall not apply to entities acting exclusively as agents, processors, or members that are not electronic payment systems. (Added 2009, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2011; amended 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 8, 2012; 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 1a, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2480r. Severability

    If any provision of this subchapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this subchapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and, to this end, the provisions of this subchapter are severable. (Added 2009, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2011.)


  • Subchapter 006: CAUSE-RELATED MARKETING
  • § 2481a. Definitions

    In this chapter:

    (1) "Charitable sales promotion" means an advertising or sales campaign conducted in this State by a commercial coventurer in which it is represented to the public that an amount per unit of goods or services purchased or used by the public or an amount based on aggregate purchases or use by the public will benefit a charitable organization or charitable purpose. "Charitable sales promotion" does not include:

    (A) a promotion in which 100 percent of the amount paid for the goods or services will benefit a charitable organization or charitable purpose;

    (B) a promotion in which a commercial coventurer does not generate a net profit; or

    (C) a promotion that does not involve the sale or lease of goods or services.

    (2) "Commercial coventurer" means a person who for profit is regularly and primarily engaged in trade or commerce in this State other than in connection with the raising of funds for charitable purposes and who represents to the public that an amount per unit of goods or services purchased or used by the public or an amount based on aggregate purchases or use by the public will benefit a charitable organization or charitable purpose.

    (3) "Representation" means an advertisement, commercial, or other communication to the public in any medium. (Added 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2481b. Required disclosures

    Every commercial coventurer shall disclose the following information in a clear and conspicuous manner in close proximity to any representation, in connection with a charitable sales promotion, that an amount per unit of goods or services purchased or used by the public, or an amount based on aggregate purchases or use by the public, will benefit a charitable organization or charitable purpose:

    (1) the name of the charitable organization or purpose which is to benefit from the charitable sales promotion;

    (2) the amount per unit of goods or services purchased or used that will benefit the charitable organization or purpose or, if not known, the estimated amount, in either case expressed as a dollar amount or a percentage of the amount paid for the purchase or use, except that if the amount is based on aggregate purchases or use, that amount and how it will be calculated shall be disclosed; and

    (3) any maximum amount that will benefit the charitable organization or purpose. (Added 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2481c. Record-keeping

    A commercial coventurer shall maintain records that are sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of this chapter and the disclosed terms of a charitable sales promotion. (Added 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 18, 2012.)

  • § 2481d. Violations

    (a) A violation of this subchapter is deemed to be a violation of section 2453 of this title. This section shall not be construed to limit a commercial coventurer's liability under any other law.

    (b) The Attorney General has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and bring civil actions with respect to the acts and practices of a commercial coventurer as is provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter. (Added 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 18, 2012.)


  • Subchapter 007: UNLICENSED LOAN TRANSACTIONS
  • § 2481w. Unlicensed load transactions

    (a) In this subchapter:

    (1) "Financial account" means a checking, savings, share, stored value, prepaid, payroll card, or other depository account.

    (2) "Lender" means a person engaged in the business of making loans of money, credit, goods, or things in action and charging, contracting for, or receiving on any such loan interest, a finance charge, a discount, or consideration.

    (3) "Process" or "processing" includes printing a check, draft, or other form of negotiable instrument drawn on or debited against a consumer's financial account, formatting or transferring data for use in connection with the debiting of a consumer's financial account by means of such an instrument or an electronic funds transfer, or arranging for such services to be provided to a lender.

    (4) "Processor" means a person who engages in processing, as defined in subdivision (3) of this subsection. In this section, "processor" does not include an interbank clearinghouse.

    (5) "Interbank clearinghouse" means a person that operates an exchange of automated clearinghouse items, checks, or check images solely between insured depository institutions.

    (b) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a lender directly or through an agent to solicit or make a loan to a consumer by any means unless the lender is in compliance with all provisions of 8 V.S.A. chapter 73 or is otherwise exempt from the requirements of 8 V.S.A. chapter 73.

    (c) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a processor, other than a federally insured depository institution, to process a check, draft, other form of negotiable instrument, or an electronic funds transfer from a consumer's financial account in connection with a loan solicited or made by any means to a consumer unless the lender is in compliance with all provisions of 8 V.S.A. chapter 73 or is otherwise exempt from the requirements of 8 V.S.A. chapter 73.

    (d) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for any person, including the lender's financial institution as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 10202(5), but not including the consumer's financial institution as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 10202(5) or an interbank clearinghouse as defined in subsection (a) of this section, to provide substantial assistance to a lender or processor when the person or the person's authorized agent receives notice from a regulatory, law enforcement, or similar governmental authority, or knows from its normal monitoring and compliance systems, or consciously avoids knowing that the lender or processor is in violation of subsection (b) or (c) of this section, or is engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce. (Added 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. May 18, 2012; amended 2013, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.)

  • § 2481x. Entry fees; games not based on chance

    Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit a person from requiring or paying any kind of entry fee, service charge, purchase, or similar consideration in order to enter, or continue to remain eligible for, a game of skill or other promotion that is not based on chance. (Added 2013, No. 9, § 1.)


  • Subchapter 008: INTERNET DATING SERVICES
  • § 2482a. Definitions

    In this chapter:

    (1)  "Account change" means a change to a member's password, username, e-mail address, or other contact information an Internet dating service uses to enable communications between members.

    (2) "Banned member" means the member whose account or profile is the subject of a fraud ban.

    (3) "Fraud ban" means barring a member's account or profile from an Internet dating service because, in the judgment of the service, the member poses a significant risk of attempting to obtain money from other members through fraudulent means.

    (4)  "Internet dating service" means a person, or a division of a person, that is primarily in the business of providing dating services principally on or through the Internet.

    (5)  "Member" means a person who submits to an Internet dating service information required to access the service and who obtains access to the service.

    (6)  "Vermont member" means a member who provides a Vermont residential or billing address or zip code when registering with the Internet dating service. (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § G.2, eff. May 24, 2016.)

  • § 2482b. Requirements for Internet dating services

    (a) An Internet dating service shall disclose to all of its Vermont members known to have previously received and responded to an on-site message from a banned member:

    (1) the user name, identification number, or other profile identifier of the banned member;

    (2) the fact that the banned member was banned because, in the judgment of the Internet dating service, the banned member may have been using a false identity or may pose a significant risk of attempting to obtain money from other members through fraudulent means;

    (3) that a member should never send money or personal financial information to another member; and

    (4) a hyperlink to online information that clearly and conspicuously addresses the subject of how to avoid being defrauded by another member of an Internet dating service.

    (b) The notification required by subsection (a) of this section shall be:

    (1) clear and conspicuous;

    (2) by e-mail, text message, or other appropriate means of communication; and

    (3) sent within 24 hours after the fraud ban, or at a later time if the service has determined, based on an analysis of effective messaging, that a different time is more effective, but in no event later than three days after the fraud ban.

    (c) An Internet dating service shall disclose in an e-mail, text message, or other appropriate means of communication, in a clear and conspicuous manner, within 24 hours after discovering an account change to a Vermont member's account:

    (1) the fact that information on the member's account has been changed;

    (2) a brief description of the change; and

    (3) if applicable, how the member may obtain further information on the change.

    (d)(1) A banned member from Vermont who is identified to one or more Vermont members pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall have the right to challenge the ban by written complaint to the Office of the Vermont Attorney General.

    (2) The Office of the Attorney General shall review a challenge brought by a banned member pursuant to this subsection and, if it finds that there was no reasonable basis for banning the member, shall require the Internet dating service to take reasonable corrective action to cure the erroneous ban. (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § G.2, eff. Jan. 1, 2017.)

  • § 2482c. Limited immunity

    (a) An Internet dating service shall not be liable to any person, other than the State of Vermont, or any agency, department, or subdivision of the State, for disclosing to any member that it has banned a member, the user name or identifying information of the banned member, or the reasons for the Internet dating service's decision to ban such member in accordance with section 2482b of this title.

    (b) An Internet dating service shall not be liable to any person, other than the State of Vermont, or any agency, department, or subdivision of the State, for the decisions regarding whether to ban a member, or how or when to notify a member pursuant to section 2482b of this title.

    (c) This subchapter does not diminish or adversely affect the protections for Internet dating services that are afforded in 47 U.S.C. § 230 (Federal Communications Decency Act). (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § G.2, eff. May 24, 2016.)

  • § 2482d. Violations

    (a) A person who violates this subchapter commits an unfair and deceptive act in trade and commerce in violation of section 2453 of this title.

    (b) The Attorney General has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and enter into assurances of discontinuance as is provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter. (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § G.2, eff. May 24, 2016.)


  • Subchapter 009: CREDIT CARD TERMINAL FINANCE LEASES
  • § 2482h. Solicitation; material misrepresentation

    (a) As used in this subchapter, "credit card terminal" means physical equipment used at the point of sale to accept payment by a payment card, including a credit card, debit card, EBT card, prepaid card, or gift card.

    (b) A person who solicits a finance lease for the use of a credit card terminal shall accurately disclose, orally and in writing:

    (1) the nature and scope of his or her relationship to the person or persons who own, lease, service, and finance the credit card terminal and to the person or persons, if known, who provide services related to the credit card terminal, including whether he or she is an employee, independent contractor, or agent of one or more of those persons; and

    (2) the terms of a finance lease and whether oral statements or commitments he or she makes to the prospective lessee while soliciting a finance lease are included in the terms of the finance lease and enforceable against a party to a finance lease. (Added 2018, No. 4 (Sp. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2482i. Credit card terminal; finance lease provisions

    The following provisions apply to a finance lease for the use of a credit card terminal:

    (1) Plain language. The party primarily responsible for drafting the finance lease shall use plain language designed to be understood by ordinary consumers, presented in a reasonable format, typeface, and font.

    (2) Finance lease; costs; disclosure. The finance lease shall specify:

    (A) the terms of the finance lease;

    (B) the total price of the finance lease;

    (C) the total monthly payment due, including any recurring monthly fees or charges;

    (D) any other penalties, charges, or fees and the conditions under which they may be incurred;

    (E) whether the consumer has the option to purchase the credit card terminal and if so, the purchase price and terms; and

    (F) if the lessor does not offer the option to purchase the credit card terminal, a disclaimer that the lessee may be able to purchase the same or a similar credit card terminal from another source.

    (3) Relationship to bundled processing services and fees.

    (A) If the lessor of a credit card terminal or an affiliated business offers to deliver services for the terminal, including credit card processing services, the delivery of services shall be the subject of a service agreement between the service provider and the consumer that is separate from the finance lease.

    (B) The service agreement shall specify:

    (i) the terms governing the delivery of services;

    (ii) the total price for the services;

    (iii) the total monthly payment due, including any recurring monthly fees or charges, for the services;

    (iv) any other penalties, charges, or fees and the conditions under which they may be incurred.

    (C) If the lessor or its affiliated business offers a discount for bundling the credit card terminal finance lease with the delivery of services, the lessor shall separately state in the finance lease and the service agreement the information required in subdivisions (2) and (3)(B) of this section for each bundled and unbundled package offered.

    (4) Contact information. The finance lease shall clearly and conspicuously identify the lessor of the credit card terminal and the name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address or website, and relationship to the lessor of:

    (A) the person to whom the lessee is required to make payments for the credit card terminal;

    (B) the person whom the lessee should contact with questions or problems concerning the credit card terminal;

    (C) the person to whom the lessee should deliver the credit card terminal for return or repair; and

    (D) the sales representative or other person acting with actual or apparent authority on behalf of the lessor to solicit the finance lease.

    (5) Prohibited provisions.

    (A) If the judicial forum chosen by the parties to the lease is a forum that would not otherwise have jurisdiction over the lessee, the choice is not enforceable.

    (B) A lessor shall not collect any charge or fee for business personal property tax on the credit card terminal unless the tax is actually imposed.

    (6) Duty to retain and provide finance lease; right to cancel.

    (A) A lessor shall provide a copy of the executed finance lease to the lessee and shall retain a written or electronic copy of the finance lease for not less than four years after the lease terminates.

    (B) A lessee shall have the right to cancel a finance lease not later than 45 days after the lessor provides a copy of the executed finance lease to the lessee.

    (C) If the lessee exercises his or her right to cancel:

    (i) the lessor may retain any payments made by the lessee after the lessor delivered a copy of the executed finance lease;

    (ii) the lessor may impose a reasonable cancellation fee, not to exceed the total monthly payment amount specified in subdivision (2)(C) of this section. (Added 2018, No. 4 (Sp. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2482j. Violations

    A person who violates this subchapter commits an unfair and deceptive act in trade and commerce in violation of section 2453 of this title. (Added 2018, No. 4 (Sp. Sess.), § 1.)


  • Subchapter 010: CREDIT PROTECTION FOR MINORS
  • § 2483. Applicability

    This subchapter does not apply to the use of a protected consumer's credit report or record by:

    (1) a person administering a credit file monitoring subscription service to which:

    (A) the protected consumer has subscribed; or

    (B) the protected consumer's representative has subscribed on the protected consumer's behalf;

    (2) a person who, upon request from the protected consumer or the protected consumer's representative, provides the protected consumer or the protected consumer's representative with a copy of the protected consumer's credit report;

    (3) a check services or fraud prevention services company that issues:

    (A) reports on incidents of fraud; or

    (B) authorization for the purpose of approving or processing negotiable instruments, electronic funds transfers, or similar payment methods;

    (4) a deposit account information service company that issues reports regarding account closures due to fraud, substantial overdrafts, automated teller machine abuse, or similar information regarding an individual to inquiring banks or other financial institutions for use only in reviewing an individual's request for a deposit account at the inquiring bank or financial institution;

    (5) an insurance company for the purpose of conducting the insurance company's ordinary business;

    (6) a consumer reporting agency that:

    (A) only resells credit information by assembling and merging information contained in a database of another consumer reporting agency or multiple consumer reporting agencies; and

    (B) does not maintain a permanent database of credit information from which new credit reports are produced; or

    (7) a consumer reporting agency's database or file that consists of information that:

    (A) concerns and is used for:

    (i) criminal record information;

    (ii) fraud prevention or detection;

    (iii) personal loss history information; or

    (iv) employment, tenant, or individual background screening; and

    (B) is not used for credit granting purposes. (Added 2017, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2019.)

  • § 2483a. Security freeze for protected consumer; time in effect

    (a) A consumer reporting agency shall place a security freeze for a protected consumer if the protected consumer's representative submits a request, including proper authority, to the address and in the manner specified by the consumer reporting agency.

    (b) If a consumer reporting agency does not have a file that pertains to a protected consumer when the consumer reporting agency receives a request described in subsection (a) of this section, the consumer reporting agency shall create a record for the protected consumer.

    (c) The credit reporting agency shall:

    (1) place a security freeze not later than 30 days after the date the agency receives a request pursuant to subsection (a) of this section; and

    (2) not later than 10 business days after placing the freeze:

    (A) send a written confirmation of the security freeze to the protected consumer or the protected consumer's representative; and

    (B) provide a unique personal identification number or password, other than a Social Security number, or another method of authentication that is equally or more secure than a PIN or password, to be used to authorize the release of the protected consumer's credit for a specific party, parties, or period of time.

    (d)(1) A credit reporting agency shall lift temporarily a protected consumer security freeze to allow access by a specific party or parties or for a specific period of time, upon a request from the protected consumer's representative.

    (2) The protected consumer's representative shall submit the request to the address and in the manner specified by the consumer reporting agency.

    (3) The request shall include:

    (A) proper authority; and

    (B) the unique personal identification number, password, or other method of authentication provided by the credit reporting agency pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

    (e) A credit reporting agency may develop procedures involving the use of telephone, fax, the Internet, or other electronic media to receive and process a request to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subsection (d) of this section in an expedited manner.

    (f) A credit reporting agency that receives a request to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall comply with the request not later than three business days after receiving the request.

    (g) A credit reporting agency shall remove or lift temporarily a freeze placed on a protected consumer's credit report only in the following cases:

    (1) Upon request, pursuant to subsection (d) or (j) of this section.

    (2) If the protected consumer's credit report was frozen due to a material misrepresentation of fact by the protected consumer or by his or her representative. If a credit reporting agency intends to remove a freeze upon a protected consumer's credit report pursuant to this subdivision, the credit reporting agency shall notify the protected consumer and his or her representative in writing prior to removing the freeze on the consumer's credit report.

    (h) If a third party requests access to a credit report on which a protected consumer security freeze is in effect and this request is in connection with an application for credit or any other use and neither the consumer subject to the protected consumer security freeze nor the protected consumer's representative allows the credit report to be accessed for that specific party or period of time, the third party may treat the application as incomplete.

    (i) A credit reporting agency that receives a request to place a protected consumer security freeze pursuant to this section shall disclose to the protected consumer and his or her representative the process of placing and lifting temporarily a security freeze and the process for allowing access to information from the protected consumer's credit report for a specific party, parties, or period of time while the protected consumer security freeze is in place.

    (j)(1) A protected consumer security freeze shall remain in place until the credit reporting agency receives a request to remove the freeze from:

    (A) the protected consumer's representative; or

    (B) the consumer who is subject to the protected consumer security freeze.

    (2) A credit reporting agency shall remove a protected consumer security freeze within three business days after receiving a proper request for removal.

    (3) The party requesting the removal of a protected consumer security freeze pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection shall submit the request to the address and in the manner specified by the consumer reporting agency.

    (4) The request shall include:

    (A) proper authority; and

    (B) the unique personal identification number, password, or other method of authentication provided by the credit reporting agency pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

    (k) A credit reporting agency shall require proper identification of the person making a request to place or remove a protected consumer security freeze.

    (l) The provisions of this section, including the protected consumer security freeze, do not apply to the use of a consumer report by the following:

    (1) A person, or the person's subsidiary, affiliate, agent, or assignee with which the protected consumer has or, prior to assignment, had an account, contract, or debtor-creditor relationship for the purposes of reviewing the account or collecting the financial obligation owing for the account, contract, or debt, or extending credit to a consumer with a prior or existing account, contract, or debtor-creditor relationship, subject to the requirements of section 2480e of this title. As used in this subdivision, "reviewing the account" includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.

    (2) A subsidiary, affiliate, agent, assignee, or prospective assignee of a person to whom access has been granted under subsection (d) of this section for purposes of facilitating the extension of credit or other permissible use.

    (3) Any person acting pursuant to a court order, warrant, or subpoena.

    (4) The Office of Child Support when investigating a child support case pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 651-669b) and 33 V.S.A. § 4102.

    (5) The Economic Services Division of the Department for Children and Families or the Department of Vermont Health Access or its agents or assignees acting to investigate welfare or Medicaid fraud.

    (6) The Department of Taxes, municipal taxing authorities, or the Department of Motor Vehicles or any of their agents or assignees acting to investigate or collect delinquent taxes or assessments, including interest and penalties or unpaid court orders, or to fulfill any of their other statutory or charter responsibilities.

    (7) A person's use of credit information for the purposes of prescreening as provided by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

    (8) Any person for the sole purpose of providing a credit file monitoring subscription service to which the consumer has subscribed.

    (9) A credit reporting agency for the sole purpose of providing a consumer with a copy of his or her credit report upon the consumer's request.

    (10) Any property and casualty insurance company for use in setting or adjusting a rate or underwriting for property and casualty insurance purposes. (Added 2017, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2019.)

  • § 2483b. Fees

    A consumer reporting agency shall not charge a fee for any service performed under this subchapter. (Added 2017, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2019.)


  • Subchapter 001D: THIRD-PARTY DISCOUNT MEMBERSHIP PROGRAMS
  • § 2470aa. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Billing information" means any data that enables a seller of a third-party discount membership program to access a consumer's credit or debit card, bank, or other account, but does not include the consumer's name, e-mail address, telephone number, or mailing address. For credit card and debit card accounts, billing information includes the full account number, card type, and expiration date, and, if necessary, the security code. For accounts at a financial institution, "billing information" includes the full account number and routing number, and, if necessary, the name of the financial institution holding the account.

    (2) A "third-party discount membership program" is a program that entitles consumers to receive discounts, rebates, rewards, or similar incentives on the purchase of goods or services or both, in whole or in part, from any third party. (Added 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 8, 2012; amended 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.1.)

  • § 2470bb. Applicability

    (a) A third-party discount membership program is a good or service within the meaning of subsection 2451a(b) of this chapter.

    (b) This subchapter applies only to persons who are regularly and primarily engaged in trade or commerce in this State in connection with offering or selling third-party discount membership programs.

    (c) This subchapter shall not apply to an electronic payment system, as defined in section 2480o of this title, or to a financial institution, as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 11101(32). (Added 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 8, 2012; amended 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.1.)

  • § 2470cc. Required disclosures; consent

    (a) No person shall charge or attempt to charge a consumer for a third-party discount membership program, or to renew a third-party discount membership program beyond the term expressly agreed to by the consumer or the term permitted under section 2470ff of this title, whichever is shorter, unless:

    (1) before obtaining the consumer's billing information, the person has clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer all material terms of the transaction, including:

    (A) a description of the types of goods and services on which a discount is available;

    (B) the name of the third-party discount membership program, the name and address of the seller of the program, and a telephone number, e-mail address, or other contact information the consumer may use to contact the seller with questions concerning the operation of the program;

    (C) the amount, or a good faith estimate, of the typical discount on each category of goods and services;

    (D) the cost of the program, including the amount of any periodic charges, how often such charges are imposed, and the method of payment;

    (E) the right to cancel and to terminate the program, which shall be no more restrictive than as required by section 2470ee of this subchapter, and a toll-free telephone number and e-mail address that can be used to cancel the membership;

    (F) the maximum length of membership, as described in section 2470ff of this subchapter;

    (G) in the event that the program is offered on the Internet through a link or referral from another business's website, the fact that the seller is not affiliated with that business; and

    (H) the fact that periodic notices of the program billings will be e-mailed or mailed to the consumer, as the case may be, consistent with section 2470dd of this title; and

    (2) the person has received express informed consent for the charge from the consumer whose credit or debit card, bank, or other account will be charged, by:

    (A) obtaining from the consumer:

    (i) the consumer's billing information; and

    (ii) the consumer's name and address and a means to contact the consumer; and

    (B) requiring the consumer to perform an additional affirmative action, such as clicking on an online confirmation button, checking an online box that indicates the consumer's consent to be charged the amount disclosed, or expressly giving consent over the telephone.

    (b) A person who sells third-party discount membership programs shall retain evidence of a consumer's express informed consent for at least three years after the consent is given.

    (c) A person who sells a third-party discount membership program shall provide to a consumer on the receipt for the underlying good or service:

    (1) confirmation that the consumer has signed up for a discount membership program;

    (2) the price the consumer will be charged for the program;

    (3) the date on which the consumer will first be charged for the program;

    (4) the frequency of charges for the program; and

    (5) information concerning the consumer's right to cancel the program and a toll-free telephone number, address, and e-mail address a consumer may use to cancel the program. (Added 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 8, 2012; amended 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.1.)

  • § 2470dd. Periodic notices

    (a) A person who periodically charges a consumer for a third-party discount membership program shall send the consumer a notice of the charge no less frequently than every three months from the date of initial enrollment that clearly and conspicuously discloses:

    (1) a description of the program;

    (2) the name of the third-party discount membership program and the name and address of the seller of the program;

    (3) the cost of the program, including the amount of any periodic charges, how often such charges are imposed, and the method of payment;

    (4) the right to cancel and to terminate the program, which shall be no more restrictive than as required by section 2470ee of this subchapter, and a toll-free number and e-mail address that can be used to cancel the membership; and

    (5) the maximum length of membership, as described in section 2470ff of this subchapter.

    (b) The notice specified in subsection (a) of this section:

    (1) shall be sent:

    (A) to the consumer's last known e-mail address, if the consumer enrolled in the third-party discount membership program online or by e-mail, with the subject line, "IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DISCOUNT PROGRAM BILLING," or substantially similar words, provided that the sender takes reasonable steps to verify that the e-mail has been opened; or

    (B) otherwise by first-class mail to the consumer's last known mailing address, with the heading on the enclosure and outside envelope, "IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DISCOUNT PROGRAM BILLING," or substantially similar words; and

    (2) shall not include any solicitation or advertising. (Added 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 8, 2012; amended 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.1.)

  • § 2470ee. Cancellation and termination

    (a) In addition to any other right to revoke an offer, a consumer may cancel the purchase of a third-party discount membership program until midnight on the 30th day after the date the consumer has given express informed consent to be charged for the program. If the consumer cancels within the 30-day period, the seller of the third-party discount membership program shall, within 10 days of receiving the notice of cancellation, provide a full refund to the consumer.

    (b)(1) Notice of cancellation shall be deemed given when deposited in a mailbox properly addressed and postage prepaid or when e-mailed to the e-mail address of the seller of the third-party discount membership program.

    (2) A consumer may cancel a third-party discount membership program verbally by contacting the seller at a toll-free telephone number that the seller provides for that purpose.

    (c) In addition to the right to cancel described in this subchapter, a consumer may terminate a third-party discount membership program at any time by providing notice to the seller by one of the methods described in this section. In that case, the consumer shall not be obligated to make any further payments under the program and shall not be entitled to any discounts under the program for any period of time after the last month for which payment has been made.

    (d) If the seller of a third-party discount membership program cancels the program for any reason other than nonpayment by the consumer, the seller shall make pro rata reimbursement to the consumer of all periodic charges paid by the consumer for periods of time after cancellation. Prior to such cancellation, the seller shall first provide reasonable notice and an explanation of the cancellation in writing to the consumer. (Added 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 8, 2012; amended 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.1.)

  • § 2470ff. Maximum length of plan

    No person shall sell, or offer for sale, a third-party discount membership program lasting longer than 18 months. (Added 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 8, 2012; amended 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.1.)

  • § 2470gg. Billing information

    No person who offers or sells third-party discount membership programs shall obtain billing information relating to a consumer except directly from the consumer. (Added 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 8, 2012; amended 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.1.)

  • § 2470hh. Violations

    (a) A person who violates this subchapter commits an unfair and deceptive act in trade and commerce in violation of section 2453 of this title.

    (b) The Attorney General has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, enter into assurances of discontinuance, and bring civil actions as is provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter.

    (c) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for any person to provide substantial assistance to the seller of a third-party discount membership program that has engaged or is engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce, when the person or the person's authorized agent:

    (1) receives notice from a regulatory, law enforcement, or similar governmental authority that the seller of the third-party discount membership program is in violation of this subchapter;

    (2) knows from information received or in its possession that the seller of the third-party discount membership program is in violation of this subchapter; or

    (3) consciously avoids knowing that the seller of the third-party discount membership program is in violation of this subchapter.

    (d) Subject to section 2452 of this title, a person who provides only incidental assistance, which does not further the sale of a third-party discount membership program, to the seller of the program, or who does not receive a benefit from providing assistance to the seller of a discount membership, shall not be liable under this section unless the person receives notice, knows, or consciously avoids knowing, pursuant to subdivision (c)(1), (2), or (3) of this section, that a third-party discount membership program is in violation of this chapter. (Added 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 8, 2012; amended 2015, No. 55, § 7; 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.1.)


  • Subchapter 001E: ADD-ON DISCOUNT MEMBERSHIP PROGRAMS
  • § 2470ii. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) An "add-on discount membership program" is a program that entitles consumers to receive discounts, rebates, rewards, or similar incentives on the purchase of goods or services or both, sold to a consumer during the purchase of a different good or service using the same billing information.

    (2) "Billing information" means any data that enables a seller of an add-on discount membership program to access a consumer's credit or debit card, bank, or other account, but does not include the consumer's name, e-mail address, telephone number, or mailing address. For credit card and debit card accounts, billing information includes the full account number, card type, and expiration date, and, if necessary, the security code. For accounts at a financial institution, "billing information" includes the full account number and routing number, and, if necessary, the name of the financial institution holding the account. (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.2.)

  • § 2470jj. Applicability

    (a) An add-on discount membership program is a good or service within the meaning of subsection 2451a(b) of this title.

    (b) This subchapter applies only to persons who are regularly engaged in offering or selling add-on discount membership programs.

    (c) This subchapter shall not apply to an electronic payment system, as defined in section 2480o of this title, or to a financial institution, as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 11101(32). (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.2.)

  • § 2470kk. Required disclosures; consent

    (a) No person shall charge or attempt to charge a consumer for an add-on discount membership program, or to renew an add-on discount membership program beyond the term expressly agreed to by the consumer, unless:

    (1) before obtaining the consumer's billing information, the person has clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer all material terms of the transaction, including:

    (A) a description of the types of goods and services on which a discount is available;

    (B) the name of the add-on discount membership program, the name and address of the seller of the program, and a telephone number, e-mail address, or other contact information the consumer may use to contact the seller with questions concerning the operation of the program;

    (C) the cost of the program, including the amount of any periodic charges, how often such charges are imposed, and the method of payment; and

    (D) the right to cancel and to terminate the program, which shall be no more restrictive than as required by section 2470ll of this title, and a toll-free telephone number and e-mail address that can be used to cancel the membership;

    (2) before obtaining the consumer's billing information, the person has received express informed consent for the add-on membership program from the consumer whose credit or debit card, bank, or other account will be charged, by requiring the consumer to perform an additional affirmative action, such as clicking on an online confirmation button, checking an online box that indicates the consumer's consent to be charged the amount disclosed, or expressly giving consent over the telephone; and

    (3) after providing the disclosures and obtaining the consent required by subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, obtaining from the consumer:

    (A) the consumer's billing information; and

    (B) the consumer's name and address, and a means to contact the consumer.

    (b) A person who sells an add-on discount membership program shall retain evidence of a consumer's express informed consent for at least three years after the consent is given.

    (c) A person who sells an add-on discount membership program shall provide to a consumer on the receipt for the underlying good or service:

    (1) confirmation that the consumer has signed up for a discount membership program;

    (2) the price the consumer will be charged for the program;

    (3) the date on which the consumer will first be charged for the program;

    (4) the frequency of charges for the program; and

    (5) information concerning the consumer's right to cancel the program and a toll-free telephone number, address, and e-mail address a consumer may use to cancel the program. (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.2.)

  • § 2470ll. Cancellation and termination

    (a) In addition to any other right to revoke an offer, a consumer may cancel the purchase of an add-on discount membership program until midnight on the 30th day after the date the consumer has given express informed consent to be charged for the program. If the consumer cancels within the 30-day period, the seller of the add-on discount membership program shall, within 10 days of receiving the notice of cancellation, provide a full refund to the consumer less the value of any discount the consumer has received by using the add-on discount membership program.

    (b)(1) Notice of cancellation shall be deemed given when deposited in a mailbox properly addressed and postage prepaid or when e-mailed to the e-mail address of the seller of the add-on discount membership program.

    (2) A consumer may cancel an add-on discount membership program verbally by contacting the seller at a toll-free telephone number that the seller provides for that purpose.

    (c) In addition to the right to cancel described in this subchapter, a consumer may terminate an add-on discount membership program at any time by providing notice to the seller by one of the methods described in this section. In that case, the consumer shall not be obligated to make any further payments under the program and shall not be entitled to any discounts under the program for any period of time after the last month for which payment has been made.

    (d) If the seller of an add-on discount membership program cancels the program for any reason other than nonpayment by the consumer, the seller shall make pro rata reimbursement to the consumer of all periodic charges paid by the consumer for periods of time after cancellation. Prior to such cancellation, the seller shall first provide reasonable notice and an explanation of the cancellation in writing to the consumer. (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.2.)

  • § 2470mm. Billing information

    A person who offers or sells a discount membership program may not obtain billing information relating to a consumer except directly from the consumer. (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.2.)

  • § 2470nn. Violations

    (a) A person who violates this subchapter commits an unfair and deceptive act in trade and commerce in violation of section 2453 of this title.

    (b) The Attorney General has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, enter into assurances of discontinuance, and bring civil actions as is provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter.

    (c) It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for any person to provide substantial assistance to the seller of an add-on discount membership program that has engaged or is engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce, when the person or the person's authorized agent:

    (1) receives notice from a regulatory, law enforcement, or similar governmental authority that the seller of the add-on discount membership program is in violation of this subchapter;

    (2) knows from information received or in its possession that the seller of the add-on discount membership program is in violation of this subchapter; or

    (3) consciously avoids knowing that the seller of the add-on discount membership program is in violation of this subchapter.

    (d) Subject to section 2452 of this title, a person who provides only incidental assistance, which does not further the sale of an add-on discount membership program, to the seller of the program, or who does not receive a benefit from providing assistance to the seller of an add-on discount membership, shall not be liable under this section unless the person receives notice, knows, or consciously avoids knowing, pursuant to subdivision (c)(1), (2), or (3) of this section, that an add-on discount membership program is in violation of this chapter. (Added 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § E.2.)

  • § 2480 l. Verification of change of consumer's address for preapproved offers of credit

    A credit card issuer that mails an offer or solicitation to receive a credit card and, in response, receives a completed application for a credit card that lists an address that is substantively different from the address on the offer or solicitation shall make a commercially reasonable attempt to verify the change of address, which may include checking addresses on other open accounts. (Added 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2005.)


  • Subchapter 005: TRANSFERS OF STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS
  • § 2480aa. Legislative intent; public policy

    Structured settlement agreements, which provide for payments to a person over a period of time, are often used in the settlement of actions such as personal injury or medical claims and serve a number of valid purposes, including protection of persons from economic victimization and ensuring a person's ability to provide for his or her future needs and obligations. It is the policy of this State that such agreements, which have often been approved by a court, should not be set aside lightly or without good reason. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480bb. Definitions

    In this subchapter:

    (1) "Annuity issuer" means an insurer that has issued a contract to fund periodic payments under a structured settlement.

    (2) "Dependents" includes a payee's spouse and minor children and all other persons for whom the payee is legally obligated to provide support, including alimony.

    (3) "Discounted present value" means the present value of future payments determined by discounting such payments to the present using the most recently published Applicable Federal Rate for determining the present value of an annuity, as issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

    (4) "Gross advance amount" means the sum payable to the payee or for the payee's account as consideration for a transfer of structured settlement payment rights before any reductions for transfer expenses or other deductions to be made from such consideration.

    (5) "Independent professional advice" means advice of an attorney, certified public accountant, actuary, or other licensed professional adviser meeting all of the following requirements:

    (A) The advisor is engaged by the payee to render advice concerning the legal, tax, or financial implications of a structured settlement or a transfer of structured settlement payment rights;

    (B) The adviser's compensation for rendering independent professional advice is not affected by occurrence or lack of occurrence of a settlement transfer; and

    (C) A particular adviser is not referred to the payee by the transferee or its agent, except that the transferee may refer the payee to a lawyer referral service or agency operated by a State or local bar association.

    (6) "Interested parties" means, with respect to any structured settlement, the payee, any beneficiary irrevocably designated under the annuity contract to receive payments following the payee's death, the annuity issuer, the structured settlement obligor, and any other party that has continuing rights or obligations relating to the structured settlement payment rights which are the subject of the proposed transfer.

    (7) "Net advance amount" means the gross advance amount less the aggregate amount of the actual and estimated transfer expenses required to be disclosed under subdivision 2480cc(5) of this title.

    (8) "Payee" means an individual who is receiving tax-free payments under a structured settlement and proposes to make a transfer of payment rights thereunder.

    (9) "Periodic payments" includes both recurring payments and scheduled future lump sum payments.

    (10) "Qualified assignment agreement" means an agreement providing for a qualified assignment within the meaning of 26 U.S.C. § 130, as amended from time to time.

    (11) "Settled claim" means the original tort claim resolved by a structured settlement.

    (12) "Structured settlement" means an arrangement for periodic payment of damages for personal injuries or sickness established by settlement or judgment in resolution of a tort claim but does not refer to periodic payments in settlement of a workers' compensation claim.

    (13) "Structured settlement agreement" means the agreement, judgment, stipulation, or release embodying the terms of a structured settlement.

    (14) "Structured settlement obligor" means, with respect to any structured settlement, the party that has the continuing obligation to make periodic payments to the payee under a structured settlement agreement or a qualified assignment agreement.

    (15) "Structured settlement payment rights" means rights to receive periodic payments under a structured settlement, whether from the structured settlement obligor or the annuity issuer, where:

    (A) the payee is domiciled in this State; or

    (B) the structured settlement agreement was approved by a court in this State.

    (16) "Terms of the structured settlement" include, with respect to any structured settlement, the terms of the structured settlement agreement, the annuity contract, any qualified assignment agreement, and any order or other approval of any court or other government authority that authorized or approved such structured settlement.

    (17) "Transfer" means any sale, assignment, pledge, hypothecation, or other alienation or encumbrance of structured settlement payment rights made by a payee for consideration.

    (18) "Transfer agreement" means the agreement providing for a transfer of structured settlement payment rights.

    (19) "Transfer expenses" means all expenses of a transfer that are required under the transfer agreement to be paid by the payee or deducted from the gross advance amount, including court filing fees, attorney's fees, escrow fees, lien recordation fees, judgment and lien search fees, finders' fees, commissions, and other payments to a broker or other intermediary.

    (20) "Transferee" means a party acquiring or proposing to acquire structured settlement payment rights through a transfer. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480cc. Required disclosures to payee

    Not less than 10 days prior to the date on which a payee signs a transfer agreement, the transferee shall provide to the payee a separate disclosure statement in bold type in a size no smaller than 14 points setting forth:

    (1) the amounts and due dates of the structured settlement payments to be transferred;

    (2) the aggregate amount of such payments;

    (3) the discounted present value of the payments to be transferred, which shall be identified as the "calculation of current value of the transferred structured settlement payments under federal standards for valuing annuities," and the amount of the applicable federal rate used in calculating such discounted present value;

    (4) the gross advance amount and the annual discount rate, compounded monthly, used to determine such figure;

    (5) an itemized listing of all applicable transfer expenses, other than attorney's fees and related disbursements payable by the payee in connection with the transferee's application for approval of the transfer, and the transferee's best estimate of the amount of any such fees and disbursements;

    (6) the net advance amount;

    (7) the amount of any penalties or liquidated damages payable by the payee in the event of any breach of the transfer agreement by the payee, as well as a description of any other financial penalties the payee might incur with the transferee as a result of such a breach; and

    (8) a statement that the payee has the right to cancel the transfer agreement, without penalty or further obligation, at any time before the date on which a court enters a final order approving the transfer agreement. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480dd. Approval of transfers of structured settlement payment rights

    (a) No direct or indirect transfer of structured settlement payment rights shall be effective and no structured settlement obligor or annuity issuer shall be required to make any payment directly or indirectly to any transferee of structured settlement payment rights unless the transfer has been approved in advance in a final court order based on express findings by the court that:

    (1) the transfer is in the best interest of the payee taking into account the welfare and support of the payee's dependents, considering all relevant factors, including:

    (A) the payee's ability to understand the financial terms and consequences of the transfer;

    (B) the payee's capacity to meet his or her financial obligations, including the potential need for future medical treatment;

    (C) the need, purpose, or reason for the transfer; and

    (D) whether the transfer is fair and reasonable, considering the discount rate used to calculate the gross advance amount, the fees and expenses imposed on the payee, and whether the payee obtained more than one quote for the same or a substantially similar transfer.

    (2)(A) the payee has been advised in writing by the transferee to seek independent professional advice regarding the financial advisability of the transfer and the other financial options available to the payee, if any, and:

    (B)(i) that the payee has in fact received such advice; or

    (ii) that such advice is unnecessary for good cause shown.

    (3) the transfer does not contravene any applicable statute or the order of any court or other government authority.

    (b) Any agreement to transfer future payments arising under a workers' compensation claim is prohibited.

    (c) At the hearing on the transfer the court may, in its sole discretion, continue the hearing and require the payee to seek independent professional advice if the court determines that obtaining such advice should be required based on the circumstances of the payee or the terms of the transaction. If the court determines that independent professional advice should be required, the court may order that the costs incurred by a payee for independent professional advice be paid by the transferee, the payee, or another party, provided that the amount to be paid by the transferee shall not exceed $1,500.00. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480ee. Effects of transfer of structured settlement payment rights

    Following a transfer of structured settlement payment rights under this subchapter:

    (1) The structured settlement obligor and the annuity issuer shall, as to all parties except the transferee, be discharged and released from any and all liability for the transferred payments;

    (2) The transferee shall be liable to the structured settlement obligor and the annuity issuer:

    (A) if the transfer contravenes the terms of the structured settlement for any taxes incurred by such parties as a consequence of the transfer; and

    (B) for any other liabilities or costs, including reasonable costs and attorney's fees, arising from compliance by such parties with the order of the court or arising as a consequence of the transferee's failure to comply with this subchapter;

    (3) Neither the annuity issuer nor the structured settlement obligor may be required to divide any periodic payment between the payee and any transferee or assignee or between two or more transferees or assignees; and

    (4) Any further transfer of structured settlement payment rights by the payee may be made only after compliance with all of the requirements of this subchapter. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2480ff. Procedure for approval of transfers

    (a) An application under this subchapter for approval of a transfer of structured settlement payment rights shall be made by the transferee and may be brought in the Superior Court, Civil Division, of the county in which the payee resides or in which the structured settlement obligor or the annuity issuer maintains its principal place of business or in any court that approved the structured settlement agreement.

    (b) Not less than 20 days prior to the scheduled hearing on any application for approval of a transfer of structured settlement payment rights under section 2480dd of this title, the transferee shall file with the court and serve on all interested parties a notice of the proposed transfer and the application for its authorization, including with such notice:

    (1) a copy of any court order approving the settlement;

    (2) a written description of the underlying basis for the settlement;

    (3) a copy of the transferee's application;

    (4) a copy of the transfer agreement;

    (5) a copy of the disclosure statement required under section 2480cc of this title;

    (6) a listing of each of the payee's dependents, together with each dependent's age;

    (7) a statement setting forth whether, to the best of the transferee's knowledge after making a reasonable inquiry to the payee, the structured settlement obligor, and the annuity issuer, there have been any previous transfers or applications for transfer of any structured settlement payment rights of the payee and giving details of all such transfers or applications for transfer;

    (8) to the best of the transferee's knowledge after making reasonable inquiry to the payee, the structured settlement obligor, and the annuity issuer, a description of the remaining payments owed to the payee under the structured settlement if the court approves the proposed transfer, including the amount and dates or date ranges of the payments owed, provided that:

    (A) the description may be filed under seal; and

    (B) if the transferee's knowledge concerning the remaining payments changes after the transferee submits a notice of the proposed transfer, the transferee may provide updated information to the court at the hearing;

    (9) if available to the transferee after making a good faith request of the payee, the structured settlement obligor and the annuity issuer, the following documents, which shall be filed under seal:

    (A) a copy of the annuity contract;

    (B) a copy of any qualified assignment agreement; and

    (C) a copy of the underlying structured settlement agreement;

    (10) either a certification from an independent professional advisor establishing that the advisor has given advice to the payee on the financial advisability of the transfer and the other financial options available to the payee or a written request that the court determine that such advice is unnecessary pursuant to subdivision 2480dd(a)(2) of this title; and

    (11) notification of the time and place of the hearing and notification of the manner in which and the time by which written responses to the application must be filed, which shall be not less than 15 days after service of the transferee's notice, in order to be considered by the court.

    (c) The transferee shall file a copy of the application with the Attorney General's Office and a copy of the application and the payee's Social Security number with the Office of Child Support and the Department of Taxes. The Offices and Department receiving copies pursuant to this section shall permit the copies to be filed electronically.

    (d) The payee shall attend the hearing unless attendance is excused for good cause. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2013, No. 29, § 67, eff. May 13, 2013; 2015, No. 23, § 143; 2015, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § B.1.)

  • § 2480gg. General provisions; construction

    (a) The provisions of this subchapter may not be waived by any payee.

    (b) Any transfer agreement entered into on or after the effective date of this subchapter by a payee who resides in this State shall provide that disputes under such transfer agreement, including any claim that the payee has breached the agreement, shall be determined in and under the laws of this State. No such transfer agreement shall authorize the transferee or any other party to confess judgment or consent to entry of judgment against the payee.

    (c) No transfer of structured settlement payment rights shall extend to any payments that are life-contingent unless, prior to the date on which the payee signs the transfer agreement, the transferee has established and has agreed to maintain procedures reasonably satisfactory to the annuity issuer and the structured settlement obligor for:

    (1) periodically confirming the payee's survival; and

    (2) giving the annuity issuer and the structured settlement obligor prompt written notice in the event of the payee's death.

    (d) No payee who proposes to make a transfer of structured settlement payment rights shall incur any penalty, forfeit any application fee or other payment, or otherwise incur any liability to the proposed transferee or any assignee based on any failure of such transfer to satisfy the conditions of this subchapter.

    (e) Nothing contained in this subchapter shall be construed to authorize any transfer of structured settlement payment rights in contravention of any law or to imply that any transfer under a transfer agreement entered into prior to the effective date of this subchapter is valid or invalid.

    (f) Compliance with the requirements set forth in section 2480cc of this title and fulfillment of the conditions set forth in section 2480dd of this title shall be solely the responsibility of the transferee in any transfer of structured settlement payment rights, and neither the structured settlement obligor nor the annuity issuer shall bear any responsibility for or any liability arising from noncompliance with such requirements or failure to fulfill such conditions. (Added 2011, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)