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State2013 Statute Number 2013 Statute Language

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Delaware29 Del. C. § 8104
Division of Consumer Protection.
The Division of Consumer Protection is established having such powers, duties and functions as may be assigned to it by the Secretary consistent with this chapter.

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29 Del. C. § 2517
Division of Consumer Protection.
(a) There is established within the Department of Justice a Division of Consumer Protection.

(b) The Division of Consumer Protection shall protect the public against consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices through enforcement of statutes, consumer education, consumer advocacy, and coordinated governmental action.

(c) The Attorney General may appoint a Deputy Attorney General to be designated as the Director of Consumer Protection, who will be charged with the furtherance of the programs and functions thereof.

(d) The term “Director” as used in this chapter refers to the Director of the Division of Consumer Protection and includes any designee.

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29 Del. C. § 2519
Consumer Protection Advisory Councils.
Council on Manufactured Housing. --

(1) The Council on Manufactured Housing shall advise the Division on matters relating to mobile home owners and tenants, manufactured housing and mobile home parks. The Council may consider matters referred to it by the Division, and may, on its own motion, consider any issue or matter within its field of expertise. The Council shall report directly and exclusively to the Division. All funding for the Council shall be determined by the Division.

(2) The Council on Manufactured Housing shall be composed of 14 members, 12 of whom shall be appointed by the Governor: Six members representing the manufactured housing industry; and 6 members representing persons who live in mobile home parks, both those who own the mobile homes in which they reside and those who do not own the mobile homes in which they reside (at least 1 from each county). In the event a member ceases to be an owner or employee of a mobile home park, or a resident of a mobile home park, such person's membership shall cease upon the occurrence of such event. In addition to the 12 voting members appointed by the Governor, a representative of the Division appointed by the Director, and a representative of the Department of Justice, appointed by the Attorney General, shall serve as nonvoting ex officio members.

(3) Each member shall serve for a term for 2 years, and may successively serve for 1 additional term; provided, however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member shall successively serve for only 1 additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Council shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member.

(4) Members of the Council shall serve without compensation except that they may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incident to their duties as members of the Council. A Chairperson of the Council shall be chosen by members of the Council from among its members, shall serve in that capacity for a term of 1 year, and shall be eligible for reelection.

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29 Del. C. § 2520
Enforcement Authority.
(a) Among other powers, the Director shall have the authority to:

(1) Investigate matters that may reveal violations of Chapter 25 of Title 6 or other unlawful conduct;

(2) Issue cease and desist orders, either summarily or after a hearing;

(3) Seek administrative remedies for violations of the statutes the Division of Consumer Protection is charged to enforce;

(4) Initiate and prosecute civil or criminal actions related to the purposes of this chapter in any court of competent jurisdiction;

(5) Seek restitution, rescission, reformation of contract, recoupment, disgorgement of profits or any moneys improperly obtained, or otherwise prevent unjust enrichment against violators of this chapter and on behalf of consumers;

(6) Promulgate rules and regulations;

(7) Under the direction of the Attorney General, maintain and supervise the deposits and expenditures into and out of the Consumer Protection Fund;

(8) Hold fact-finding, rulemaking or adjudicative hearings and issue opinions, orders or reports based thereon; and

(9) Take any other lawful action to enforce the consumer protection statutes and to carry out their purposes.

(b) The scope of the authority of the Director to initiate administrative proceedings or take civil enforcement action does not extend to matters within the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission or of the Insurance Commissioner of this State.

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29 Del. C. § 2521
Rules and regulations.
(a) The Director shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations as deemed necessary or appropriate to implement or clarify the statutes that the Division of Consumer Protection is charged to enforce or otherwise to carry out the purposes of those statutes.

(b) The rules and regulations of the Division of Consumer Protection shall be entitled to substantial deference in connection with any judicial review or case determination.

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29 Del. C. § 2522
Notice to the Attorney General.
(a) The Attorney General and the Director shall have standing to seek, on behalf of the State, any remedy in this chapter whenever it appears that a person has violated or is about to violate any provision of Chapter 25 of Title 6, any provision of Chapter 35 of Title 6, Chapters 51 through 67 of Title 25, Chapter 70 of Title 25, §§ 841, 914, 915, and 915A of Title 11, or any other law or regulation that the Division of Consumer Protection is authorized to enforce. The Attorney General or the Director may initiate an investigation, administrative proceeding, or court proceeding to enjoin or sanction the unlawful conduct.

(b) If, in any court proceeding brought under subsection (a) of this section above, any person is found to have committed a wilful violation, the court shall order the violator to pay to the State a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation.

(c) Where a wilful violation is found, any court entertaining the action may additionally order the violator to cease and desist the unlawful conduct prospectively, return any moneys obtained unlawfully, and when appropriate freeze designated assets of the violator, order restitution, rescission, recoupment, or to seek other relief appropriate to prevent violators from being unjustly enriched.

(d) In any action brought by the Director under the provisions of this chapter in which any person is found to have violated any provision of Chapter 25 of Title 6, any provision of Chapter 35 of Title 6, Chapters 51 through 67 of Title 25, Chapter 70 of Title 25, §§ 841, 914, 915, and 915A of Title 11, or any other law or regulation that the Division of Consumer Protection is authorized to enforce, the Court may award attorneys’ fees and investigative costs to the State.

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29 Del. C. § 2523
Administrative process and appeals.
(a) The Director of Consumer Protection may initiate administrative charges against any person who appears to have violated or about to violate any provision of Chapter 25 of Title 6, any provision of Chapter 35 of Title 6, Chapters 51 through 67 of Title 25, Chapter 70 of Title 25, or any other law or regulation that the Division of Consumer Protection is authorized to enforce. Such charges shall provide notice as to the nature of the violation and state the remedies that are sought.

(b) The Attorney General shall appoint a Deputy Attorney General to act as the administrative hearing officer to adjudicate charges brought by the Director of Consumer Protection against any person. Such hearing officer shall be a Deputy Attorney General who is not assigned to the Fraud and Consumer Protection Division.

(c) Upon finding a violation, the hearing officer may order any of the administrative remedies authorized in § 2524 of this title below. Upon finding a violation or a threat of a violation, the hearing officer may issue or affirm the issuance of a cease and desist order authorized by § 2524(a) of this title below.

(d) Any party, including the Director, who is aggrieved by the hearing officer’s final administrative order may appeal the order to Superior Court within 30 days after the date the final order is issued. The administrative record shall be filed with the Court in accordance with Superior Court Civil Rule 72. The final administrative order shall be affirmed by the Court if the findings in the order are supported by substantial evidence.

(e) Any moneys that are received by the State after an administrative hearing and order, other than for consumer victims, shall be credited to the General Fund. Any moneys received pursuant to a written agreement in settlement of administrative charges, at any stage of the proceeding, shall be credited to the Consumer Protection Fund.

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29 Del. C. § 2524
Administrative Remedies.
(a) After notice and an administrative hearing, any violation or apparent threat of violation of any provision of Chapter 25 of Title 6, or of any law or regulation the Division of Consumer Protection is charged to enforce, may be sanctioned by the issuance of a cease and desist order.

(b) After notice and an administrative hearing, any wilful violation of § 2513 or § 2532 of Title 6, or of a lawful cease and desist order of the Director or the hearing officer, may be sanctioned by an administrative penalty up to $5000 per violation, a cease and desist order, and an order of restitution, rescission, recoupment, or other relief appropriate to prevent violators from being unjustly enriched.

(c) After the expiration of the 30-day appeal period in which no appeal has been filed, if the violator fails to pay all penalties and restitution or other amounts administratively determined, the Director may file a complaint in any court of competent jurisdiction and obtain a judgment for the amounts that have not been paid. The amounts shall be treated by the court as an unpaid debt, and the merits of the administrative findings may not be contested.

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29 Del. C. § 2525
Cease and desist orders.
(a) By agreement. --At any time after it appears to the Director that a person has engaged in, is engaging in, or is about to engage in any practice declared to be unlawful by Chapter 25 of Title 6, Chapter 35 of Title 6, Chapters 51 through 67 of Title 25, Chapter 70 of Title 25, or any other laws and regulations which the Division of Consumer Protection is authorized to enforce, the Director may issue a cease and desist order pursuant to an agreement with such person. Each such agreement may provide for:

(1) The immediate discontinuance of each practice set forth in the agreement;

(2) Any such relief, remedies, penalties, fines or recoveries authorized by this chapter; and

(3) Any other action deemed by the Director to be necessary to remedy such practice or practices.

(b) By administrative order. --Upon the finding of a violation of any provision of Chapter 25 of Title 6, or of any law or regulation the Division of Consumer Protection is charged to enforce, after notice and a hearing, the designated hearing officer may issue a cease and desist order against the violator. Such cease and desist order may provide for any relief as indicated in subsection (a) of this section above.

(c) By summary administrative order.--

(1) Where the Director in the Director’s discretion perceives an immediate threat to the public interest as a result of a violation of any provision of Chapter 25 of Title 6, or of any law or regulation the Division of Consumer Protection is charged to enforce, the Director may issue a summary cease and desist order ordering an immediate discontinuance of the unlawful practice identified in the order. A complaint detailing the specific allegations against the alleged violator shall accompany any summary cease and desist order served upon the alleged violator. Before issuing the summary order, the Director or the Director’s designee shall attempt to obtain voluntary compliance from the alleged violator by letter or telephone call.

(2) The complaint and summary cease and desist order shall be served upon the alleged violator by first class and certified mail to the alleged violator’s last known address. Service shall be deemed effective upon mailing. Within 10 days after the mailing of the complaint and order, the alleged violator may request, in writing, a hearing on the charges. An order that was not the subject of a hearing may not be appealed to the Superior Court.

(3) The Division of Consumer Protection shall provide a hearing on the charges in the complaint within 10 days after the issuance of the complaint and the cease and desist order. A written opinion and order, containing findings of fact and conclusions of law, shall issue within 10 days after the close of the hearing.

(4) If the alleged violator makes a written request for a hearing but none is provided within 10 days after the issuance of the order, the order shall expire at the end of the tenth day after it was issued unless the alleged violator waives that alleged violator’s right to a prompt hearing. If the alleged violator makes a written request for a hearing and one is provided within 10 days, but no decision is issued within 10 days after the close of the hearing, the order shall expire at the end of the tenth day after the close of the hearing. An order that has expired in accordance with the restrictions of this subparagraph may not be reissued as a summary order.

(5) The order issued after the hearing may provide for any administrative remedy contained in § 2524 of this title. Any person aggrieved by the order issued after the hearing shall have 30 days to appeal the order to the Superior Court, as provided in § 2523(d) of this title.

(6) Any person who wilfully violates a cease and desist order may be sanctioned as provided in § 2524(b) or § 2526 of this title.

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29 Del. C. § 2526
Violation of order or injunction; penalty.
(a) The Attorney General or the Director may petition any court of competent jurisdiction to obtain recovery of a civil penalty as provided pursuant to this section. Such petition may be made whenever it appears to the Attorney General or the Director that a person subject to any order or injunction, issued pursuant to any provision of this chapter or any other law or regulation which the Division of Consumer Protection is charged to enforce, has wilfully violated such order or injunction, or breached a material term of an agreement forming the basis for a cease and desist order.

(b) A person who wilfully violates any such order or any such agreement shall forfeit and pay to the State an enhanced civil penalty of not more than $25,000 per violation.

(c) Any court in which the petition is brought may order the offender, if a violation is found, to cease and desist the unlawful practice. Any subsequent violation of the court’s order may be sanctioned for contempt in addition to an enhanced civil penalty.

(d) Nothing in this section shall prevent the Attorney General or the Director from initiating any additional or alternative enforcement action under their lawful powers.

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6 Del. C. § 5001B
Definitions.
For purposes of this chapter, the following words, terms and phrases shall have the meanings herein ascribed to them, except when the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) “Assistive technology device” means any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is designed and used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities; whether acquired commercially or “off-the-shelf,” modified, customized, or currently or previously used as a demonstrator. An assistive technology device system that, as a whole, is within the definition of this term is itself an assistive technology device, and in this case this term also applies to each component product of the assistive technology device system that is itself ordinarily an assistive technology device. This term includes, but is not limited to:

a. Motorized and manually operated wheelchairs, personal mobility equipment, and other devices or aids of any kind that enhance the mobility or positioning of an individual with a disability, such as motorization, motorized positioning features, and the switches and controls for any motorized features;

b. Hearing aids, telephone communication devices for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, assistive listening devices, and other hearing and communication assistive technology;

c. Computer equipment and reading devices with voice output, optical scanners, talking software, Braille printers, and other aids and devices that provide access to text;

d. Computer equipment and communication devices with voice output, artificial larynges, voice amplification devices, and other alternative and augmentative communication devices;

e. Voice recognition computer equipment, software and hardware accommodations, switches, and other alternative access to computers;

f. Environmental control units designed for or used by individuals with disabilities; and

g. Mechanical aids that increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities or health and safety of an individual with disabilities.

(2) “Assistive technology device dealer” means a person or entity in the business of selling new assistive technology devices.

(3) “Assistive technology device lessor” means a person or entity who leases new assistive technology devices to consumers, or who holds the lessor's rights, under a written lease.

(4) “Assistive technology device system” means the final product resulting from a manufacturer customizing, adapting, reconfiguring, refitting, refurbishing or composing into a system 1 or more component products, whether or not new, that may be assistive technology devices or standard products of the same or other manufacturer.

(5) “Collateral costs” means expenses incurred by a consumer in connection with the repair of a nonconformity, including the cost of sales tax and of obtaining an alternative assistive technology device.

(6) “Consumer” includes any of the following:

a. The purchaser of an assistive technology device, including any insurer or governmental agency or instrumentality, if the assistive technology device was purchased from an assistive technology device dealer or manufacturer for purposes other than resale;

b. A person to whom the assistive technology device is transferred for purposes other than resale, if the transfer occurs before the expiration of an express warranty applicable to the assistive technology device;

c. A person who may enforce the warranty; or

d. A person who leases an assistive technology device from an assistive technology device lessor under a written lease.

(7) “Demonstrator” means an assistive technology device used primarily for the purpose of demonstration to the public.

(8) “Early termination cost” means an expense or obligation that an assistive technology 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 technology device to the manufacturer. The term includes a penalty for prepayment under a finance arrangement.

(9) “Early termination savings” means an expense or obligation that an assistive technology device lessor avoids 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 technology device to a manufacturer. The term includes an interest charge that the assistive technology device lessor would have paid to finance the assistive technology device or, if the assistive technology device lessor does not finance the assistive technology device, the difference between the total period of the lease term remaining after the early termination and the present value of that amount at the date of the early termination.

(10) “An individual with disabilities” means a person who has 1 or more physical or mental impairments that restrict or limit that person's ability to perform activities of daily living or limit that person's capacity to live independently.

(11) “Manufacturer” means a person who manufactures or assembles assistive technology devices and agents of that person, including any importer, distributor, factory branch, distributor branch, or a warrantor of the manufacturer's assistive technology device. The term does not include an assistive technology device dealer or lessor, unless the manufacturer acts directly as an assistive technology dealer or lessor.

(12) “Nonconformity” means a specific or generic condition, defect, or malfunction that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of an assistive technology device.

(13) “Reasonable attempt to repair” means any of the following occurring within the term of an express warranty applicable to a new assistive technology device:

a. The consumer tenders the assistive technology device to the manufacturer, assistive technology device lessor, or any of the manufacturer's authorized assistive technology device dealers for repair at least 2 times; or

b. The assistive technology device is out of service for an aggregate of at least 30 cumulative days because of a warranty nonconformity.

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6 Del. C. § 5002B
Express warranties.
(a) A manufacturer who sells or leases a new assistive technology device to a consumer, either directly or through an assistive technology device dealer or lessor, shall furnish the consumer with an express warranty that the assistive technology device will be free from any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the assistive technology device. The duration of the express warranty must not be less than 1 year after first possession of the assistive technology device by the consumer. The duration of the express warranty shall be reasonably extended by any period of time during which repair services or replacement parts are not available to the consumer because of a war, invasion, or strike, fire, flood, or other natural disaster.

(b) If a new assistive technology device does not conform to an applicable express warranty and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, the assistive technology device lessor, or any of the manufacturer's authorized assistive technology device dealers and makes the assistive technology device available for repair before 1 year after first possession of the device by the consumer, the nonconformity must be repaired or replaced at no cost to the consumer.

(c) If a manufacturer fails to furnish an express warranty as required by this section, the assistive technology device shall be covered by an express warranty as if the manufacturer had furnished an express warranty to the consumer as required by this section.

(d) A manufacturer may provide any express warranty in addition to the express warranty required by this section; provided, however, that no term of any additional express warranty is inconsistent with, or in any way limits the applicability of, the warranty required by this section.

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6 Del. C. § 5003B
Notice to consumer.
At the time of purchase the manufacturer must provide directly to the consumer a statement, written in 10-point all capital type on a separate piece of paper or in such other form as the consumer can understand, in substantially the following form: "IMPORTANT: IF THIS DEVICE IS DEFECTIVE, YOU MAY BE ENTITLED UNDER STATE LAW TO REPLACEMENT OF IT OR A REFUND OF ITS PURCHASE PRICE. HOWEVER, TO BE ENTITLED TO REFUND OR REPLACEMENT, YOU MUST FIRST NOTIFY THE MANUFACTURER, ITS AGENT OR ITS AUTHORIZED DEALER OF THE PROBLEM AND GIVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO REPAIR THE DEVICE IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 6, CHAPTER 50B."

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6 Del. C. § 5004B
Replacement or refund.
(a) If, after a reasonable attempt to repair, a nonconformity is not repaired, the manufacturer shall, at the direction of the consumer, do 1 of the following:

(1) Accept return of the assistive technology device and within 30 days refund to the consumer and to a holder of a perfected security interest in the consumer's assistive technology 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; or

(2) Accept return of the assistive technology device, refund to the assistive technology device lessor and to a holder of a perfected security interest in the assistive technology 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 collateral costs; or

(3) Accept return of the assistive technology device upon delivery to the consumer of a comparable new assistive technology device.

(b) To receive a comparable new assistive technology device, a consumer shall offer to transfer possession of the nonconforming assistive technology device to the manufacturer. No later than 30 days after that offer, the manufacturer shall provide the consumer with the comparable new assistive technology device. When the manufacturer provides the new assistive technology device, the consumer shall return the assistive technology device having the nonconformity to the manufacturer, at the manufacturer's expense, along with any endorsements necessary to transfer real possession to the manufacturer.

(c) For the purposes of this section, 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 technology device dealer's early termination costs and the value of the assistive technology device at the lease expiration date if the lease sets forth that value, less the assistive technology device lessor's early termination savings.

(d) No person may enforce the lease against the consumer after the consumer receives a refund.

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6 Del. C. § 5005B
Nonconformity disclosure requirement.
No assistive technology device returned by a consumer or assistive technology device lessor in this State or another state may be sold or leased in this State unless full disclosure of the reason for return is made to a prospective buyer or lessee.

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6 Del. C. § 5006B
Availability of other remedies; waivers void; additional relief.
(a) This chapter does not limit rights or remedies which are otherwise available under any uniform commercial code, consumer protection statute, or any other applicable law or regulation.

(b) A waiver of rights by a consumer under this chapter is void.

(c) In addition to pursuing other remedies, a consumer may bring an action to recover damages for any damages caused by a violation of this chapter. The court shall award a consumer who prevails in the action twice the amount of any pecuniary loss, together with costs, disbursements, reasonable attorneys fees, and any equitable relief that the court may determine is appropriate.

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6 Del. C. § 5007B
Replacement during repair; reimbursement of rental costs incurred by consumer; penalties.
(a) Whenever an assistive technology device covered by a manufacturer's express warranty is tendered by a consumer to the manufacturer, assistive technology lessor, or authorized assistive technology dealer from whom it was purchased or exchanged for the repair of a defect, malfunction, or nonconformity to which the warranty is applicable and at least 1 of the following conditions exists, the manufacturer shall provide directly to the consumer for the duration of the repair period, a replacement assistive technology device or reimbursement for the cost incurred by the consumer for renting a replacement assistive technology device. The applicable conditions are as follows:

(1) The repair period exceeds 10 working days, including the day on which the device is tendered to the dealer for repair; or

(2) The defect, malfunction, or nonconformity is the same for which the assistive technology device has been tendered to the dealer for repair on at least 2 previous occasions.

(b) This section applies for the duration of the manufacturer's express warranty and any extension thereof.