The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 4101. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Supplier" means any person engaged in the sale, consignment, or distribution of petroleum products to retail outlets.
(2) "Dealer" means any person who is not a petroleum supplier engaged in the retail sale of gasoline to the motoring public in the State under agreements entered into with a petroleum supplier.
(3) "Agreement" is any written agreement between a petroleum supplier and a gasoline dealer under which the gasoline dealer is granted the right to use a trademark, trade name, service mark, or other identifying symbol or name owned by the supplier.
(4) "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, unincorporated association, two or more of the foregoing having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial entity. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4102. Agreements regulated
This chapter shall apply to agreements pertaining to the sale of gasoline and related products when:
(1) more than 35 percent of the dealer's gross sales are covered by such agreement; and
(2) when such gross sales covered by such agreement are more than $25,000.00 yearly. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4103. Supplier's disclosure to dealer
A supplier shall disclose in writing to any prospective dealer the following information, before any agreement is concluded:
(1) the gallonage volume history, if any, of the location under negotiation for and during the three-year period immediately past or for the entire period that the location has been supplied by the supplier, whichever is shorter;
(2) the name and last known address of the previous dealer or dealers for the last three years, or for the entire period during which the location has been supplied by the supplier, whichever is shorter, and the reason or reasons for the termination, if unilateral by the supplier, of each dealer agreement;
(3) any legal document committing the location for sale, demolition, or other disposition in effect prior to the termination date of the agreement;
(4) the training programs, if any, and the specific goods and services the supplier will provide without cost to the dealer;
(5) full disclosure of any and all documents or obligations that the dealer will be required to execute at the inception of the relationship; and
(6) full disclosure of all restrictions on the sale, transfer, renewal, and termination of the agreement that are not covered by the documents submitted under subdivision (5) of this section. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4104. Supplier's right to terminate agreement
(a) A supplier who does not intend to extend or renew a lease or agreement with a dealer upon the expiration of the term of said lease or agreement, or a renewal thereof, shall give written notice of his or her intention to the dealer at least 90 days prior to the expiration date. A supplier may cancel, terminate, or refuse to renew a lease or agreement without this notice at any time upon default on the part of the dealer.
(b) Grounds for termination or cancellation of an agreement or lease that are not contained in the agreement between the supplier and the dealer may be decided by negotiation between the supplier and the dealer or any attorney or other agent representing or designated by the dealer.
(c) The occurrence of any of the following shall constitute a waiver by the dealer of any rights under this section:
(1) criminal misconduct or violation of law relating to the business or premises of the dealer;
(3) any unauthorized closing of the business for seven consecutive days;
(4) bankruptcy or insolvency of the dealer;
(5) nonpayment of rent, or loss by the supplier of its legal rights to grant possession of leased premises to the dealer; or
(6) public condemnation or other public taking. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4105. Repurchase by supplier upon termination
In the event of any termination, cancellation, or refusal to renew, whether by mutual agreement or otherwise, a supplier shall make or cause to be made an offer in good faith to repurchase from the dealer at then current wholesale prices any and all merchantable products purchased by said dealer from the supplier; provided, however, that in such event the supplier shall have the right to apply the proceeds against any existing indebtedness owed to him or her by the dealer and further provided that such repurchase obligation is conditioned upon there being no other claims or liens against such products by or on behalf of other creditors of the dealer. Any deposit held by the supplier is to be returned to said dealer within a reasonable period from the date of termination, cancellation, or refusal to renew the agreement or lease, in the event of no prior claims or liens. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4106. Dealer trade associations
No supplier shall coerce or threaten any dealer for the purpose of preventing him or her from joining any trade association made up of dealers. An individual dealer shall have a right to select a representative to negotiate and deal with suppliers on matters having to do with his or her supplier-dealer relationship. Suppliers shall be obliged to negotiate in good faith with the representative so selected by the dealer. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4107. Dealer's action for damages; attorney's fees
(a) A dealer may bring an action for damages sustained as a result of:
(1) failure to make such disclosures as are required in section 4103 of this title;
(2) wrongful termination of or refusal to renew his or her agreement as set forth in section 4104 of this title;
(3) failure to make an offer in good faith to repurchase as required in section 4105 of this title; or
(4) any violation of section 4106 of this title.
(b) The remedy provided for in this section is in addition to all other remedies available under contract or as provided by law or equity, including injunctive relief where appropriate. If the court finds that the violation of this chapter has been willful, the court may allow reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing party. The parties shall be entitled to a prompt trial. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4108. Void agreement provisions
Any of the following provisions in an agreement or lease, if one is included, whether oral or written, between a supplier and dealer, shall be void as against public policy, except as provided herein:
(1) Provisions requiring a dealer to take part in any advertising or promotional campaigns that will require the dealer to accept any posters, stamps, tickets, gifts, bonuses, premiums, or any other promotional items unless agreed to in writing by the dealer.
(2) Provisions requiring a dealer to purchase any products of the supplier other than gasoline, diesel fuel, lubricants, or greases. The dealer may, however, agree to accept such products on consignment, but not exclusive as to like products.
(3) Provisions requiring a dealer to assent to any release, assignment, novation, waiver, or estoppel that would relieve any person from liability imposed by this chapter. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4109. Limitation of actions
No action may be brought under this chapter for a cause of action that arose more than one year prior to the date such action is brought. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4110. Gasoline and diesel fuel prices
All persons who shall offer for sale or sell any gasoline or diesel fuel at retail shall post the price of all grades of such gasoline or diesel fuel on the pump from which such fuels are dispensed. (Added 1975, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 4110a. Gasoline service to persons with a disability
(a) Every full-service gasoline station offering self-service pumping at a lesser cost and every self-service gasoline station, when requested by a motor vehicle operator with a disability who has been issued a registration plate or parking card for persons with disabilities under the provisions of 23 V.S.A. § 304a or under the laws of any other state, shall require an attendant employed by the station to dispense gasoline at the self-service cost to the operator with a disability. Gasoline stations shall prominently display the international symbol of disability access to notify patrons of the availability of this service.
(b) Self-service gas stations or convenience stores that are operated by a single employee shall be exempt from the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.
(c) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall provide notice of the provisions of this section to each person who is issued a registration plate or parking card for persons with disabilities and to each person who operates a gasoline station or other facility that offers gasoline or other motor vehicle fuel for sale to the public.
(d) Failure to comply with the provisions of this section, related to providing gas pumping services is a violation of section 4502 of this title. (Added 1991, No. 48, § 1; amended 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 30.)