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State2013 Statute Number 2013 Statute Language

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District of ColumbiaD.C. Code § 28-3801
Scope -- Limitation on agreements and practices.
This subchapter applies to actions to enforce rights arising from a consumer credit sale or a direct installment loan.

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D.C. Code § 28-3802
Definitions.
As used in this chapter --

(1) "revolving credit account" means a revolving credit account as defined in section 28-3701 of this subtitle;

(2) "consumer credit sale" means a sale of goods or services in which --

(A) a credit is granted by a person who regularly engages as a seller in credit transactions of the same kind;

(B) the buyer is a natural person;

(C) the goods or services are purchased primarily for a personal, family, household, or agricultural purpose;

(D) either the debt is payable in installments or a finance charge is made; and

(E) the amount financed does not exceed $ 25,000.

The term includes any contract in the form of a bailment or lease if the bailee or lessee contracts to pay as compensation for use a sum substantially equivalent to or in excess of the aggregate value of the property and services involved and it is agreed that the bailee or lessee will become, or for no other or a nominal consideration has the option to become, the owner of the property upon full compliance with his obligations under the contract.

(3) "direct installment loan" means a direct installment loan as that term is used in section 28-3308 and does not include a loan secured on real estate or a direct motor vehicle installment loan covered by Chapter 36 of this subtitle.

(4) "cross collateral" means an arrangement wherein a seller in a "consumer credit sale" secures a debt arising from the sale by contracting for a security interest in other property if as a result of a prior sale the seller has an existing security interest in the other property. The seller may also contract for a security interest in the property sold in the subsequent sale as a security for the previous debt.

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D.C. Code § 28-3803
Balloon payments.

With respect to a consumer credit sale or direct installment loans except for revolving credit accounts:

(1) No creditor shall at any time enter into an agreement which contains or anticipates a schedule of payments under which any one payment is not equal or substantially equal to all other payments, excluding any final payment which is less than the average of previous payments or any down payment received by the creditor contemporaneously with or prior to the consummation of the transaction, or under which the intervals between any consecutive payments differ substantially.

(2) Notwithstanding any provision of this section, where a consumer's livelihood is dependent upon seasonal or intermittent income, the parties may agree in a separate writing that one or more payments or the intervals between one or more payments may be reduced or expanded in accordance with the needs of the consumer if such payments are expressly related to the consumer's income. The separate writing shall contain a conspicuous notice directly above the signature line stating: "I waive my right to have all payments to be made under this agreement in substantially equal amounts".

(3) In the event that the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection apply, the consumer shall have the right at any time, without further cost or obligation, to revise the schedule of payments to conform both as to amounts and intervals to the average of all installments and intervals.

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D.C. Code § 28-3804
Assignment of earnings and authorization to confess judgment prohibited.
(a) A creditor may not take an assignment of earnings of the consumer for payment or as security for payment of an obligation arising out of a consumer credit sale or direct installment loan.

(b) A creditor may not take or accept from the consumer a warrant or power of attorney or other authorization for the creditor, or other person acting on his behalf, to confess judgment arising out of a consumer credit sale or direct installment loan.

(c) An assignment of earnings or an authorization in violation of this section is subject to the provisions of section 28-3813(d)(1) of this subtitle.

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D.C. Code § 28-3805
Debts secured by cross-collateral.
(a) If debts arising from two or more consumer credit sales other than sales pursuant to a revolving charge account (section 28-3701), are secured by cross-collateral, or consolidated into one debt payable on a single schedule of payments, and the debt is secured by security interests taken with respect to one or more of the sales, payments received by the seller after the taking of the cross-collateral or the consolidation are deemed, for the purpose of determining the amount of the debt secured by the various security interests, to have been first applied to the payment of the debts arising from the sales first made. To the extent debts are paid according to this section, security interests in items of property terminate as the debts originally incurred with respect to each item are paid.

(b) Payment received by the seller upon a revolving charge are deemed, for the purpose of determining the amount of the debt secured by the various security interests, to have been applied first to the payment of credit service charges in the order of their entry to the account and then to the payment of debts in the order in which the entries to the account showing the debts were made.

(c) If the debts consolidated arose from two or more sales made on the same day, payments received by the seller are deemed, for the purpose of determining the amount of the debt secured by the various security interests, to have been applied first to the payment of the smallest debt.

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D.C. Code § 28-3806
Attorney's fees.
With respect to a consumer credit sale or direct installment loan the agreement may provide for the payment by the consumer of reasonable attorney's fees not in excess of 15% of the unpaid balance of the obligation.

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D.C. Code § 28-3807
Negotiable instruments prohibited.

(a) In a consumer credit sale, no seller shall take or otherwise arrange for the consumer to sign an instrument, except a check, payable "to order" or "to bearer" as evidence of the credit obligation of the consumer.

(b) Any holder of an instrument prohibited by subsection (a) of this section 28-3807, if he takes it with knowledge of a violation of this section, takes it subject to all claims and defenses of the consumer up to the amount owing on the transaction total at the time of the assignment.

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D.C. Code § 28-3808
Assignees subject to defenses.
(a) With respect to a consumer credit sale, an assignee of the rights of the seller or lessor is subject to all claims and defenses of the consumer or lessee arising out of the sale notwithstanding any terms or agreements to the contrary, but the assignee's liability under this section may not exceed the amount owing to the assignee at the time of the assignment.

(b) Rights of the consumer or lessee can only be asserted as a matter of defense to or set-off against a claim by the assignee.

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D.C. Code § 28-3809
Lender subject to defenses arising from sales.
(a) A lender who makes a direct installment loan for the purpose of enabling a consumer to purchase goods or services is subject to all claims and defenses of the consumer against the seller arising out of the purchase of the goods or service if such lender acts at the express request of the seller, and

(1) the seller participates in the preparation of the loan instruments, or

(2) the lender is a person or organization controlled by or under common control with the seller, or

(3) the seller receives or will receive a fee, compensation, or other consideration from the lender for arranging the loan.

(b) The lender's liability under this section may not exceed the amount of the loan. Rights of the debtor can only be asserted affirmatively in an action to cancel and void the sale from its inception, or as a matter of defense to or set-off against a claim by the lender.

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D.C. Code § 28-3810
Referral sales.
With respect to a consumer credit sale, the seller or lessor may not give or offer to give a rebate or discount or otherwise pay or offer to pay value to the buyer or lessee as an inducement for a sale or lease in consideration of his giving to the seller or lessor the names of prospective purchasers or lessees, or otherwise aiding the seller or lessor in making a sale or lease to another person, if the earning of the rebate, discount, or other value is contingent upon the occurrence of an event subsequent to the time the buyer or lessee agrees to buy or lease. If a buyer or lessee is induced by a violation of this section to enter into a consumer credit sale, the agreement is unenforceable by the seller or lessor and the buyer or lessee, at his option, may rescind the agreement or retain the goods delivered and the benefit of any services performed, without any obligation to pay for them.

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D.C. Code § 28-3811
Home solicitation sales.
(a) As used in this section, "home solicitation sale" means a cash sale or a consumer credit sale of goods, other than farm equipment, or services in which the seller or a person acting for him engages in a personal solicitation of the sale at or near a residence of the buyer and the buyer's agreement or offer to purchase is there given to a seller or a person acting for him. It does not include a sale made pursuant to a preexisting revolving credit account or prior negotiations between the parties at a business establishment at a fixed location where goods or services are offered or exhibited for sale.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, in addition to any right otherwise to revoke an offer, the buyer has the right to cancel a home solicitation sale until midnight of the third business day after the day on which the buyer signs an agreement or offer to purchase which complies with this section.

(c) Cancellation occurs when the buyer gives written notice of cancellation to the seller at the address stated in the agreement or offer to purchase.

(d) Notice of cancellation, if given by mail, is given when it is deposited in a mail box properly addressed and the postage prepaid.

(e) Notice of cancellation given by the buyer need not take a particular form and is sufficient if it indicates by any form of written expression the intention of the buyer not to be bound by the home solicitation sale.

(f) The buyer may not cancel a home solicitation sale if the buyer requests the seller to provide goods or services without delay because of an emergency, and

(1) the seller in good faith makes a substantial beginning of performance of the contract before the buyer gives notice of cancellation, and

(2) in the case of goods, the goods cannot be returned to the seller in substantially as good condition as when received by the buyer, and

(3) the buyer has signed separately the following notice which appears under the conspicuous caption: "WAIVER OF RIGHT TO CANCEL," and reads as follows: "Because of an emergency I waive any right I may have to cancel this home solicitation sale".

(g) (1) In a home solicitation sale, unless the buyer requests the seller to provide goods or services without delay in an emergency, the seller must present to the buyer and obtain his signature to a written agreement or offer to purchase which designates as the date of the transaction the date on which the buyer actually signs and contains a statement of the buyer's rights which complies with paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(2) The statement must--

(A) appear under this conspicuous caption: "BUYERS RIGHT TO CANCEL", and

(B) read as follows:
"If this agreement was solicited at or near your residence and you do not
want the goods or services, you may cancel this agreement by mailing a notice
to the seller. The notice must say that you do not want the goods or services
and must be mailed before midnight of the third business day after you signed
this agreement. The notice must be mailed to:


(insert name and address of seller)

If you cancel, the seller may not keep any of your cash down payment."

(3) Until the seller has complied with this section the buyer may cancel the home solicitation sale by notifying the seller in any manner and by any means of his intention to cancel.

(h) (1) Except as provided in this section, within ten days after a home solicitation sale has been canceled or an offer to purchase revoked the seller must tender to the buyer any payments made by the buyer and any note or other evidence of indebtedness. A provision permitting the seller to keep all or any part of any payment, note, or evidence of indebtedness is in violation of this section and unenforceable.

(2) If the down payment includes goods traded in, the goods must 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 section, the buyer may elect to recover an amount equal to the trade-in allowance stated in the agreement.

(3) The seller is not entitled to retain a cancellation fee.

(4) Until the seller has complied with the obligations imposed by this section the buyer may retain possession of goods delivered to him by the seller and has a lien on the goods in his possession or control for any recovery to which he is entitled.

(i) (1) Except as provided by the provisions on retention of goods by the buyer (subsection (h)(4) of this section), within a reasonable time after a home solicitation sale has been canceled or an offer to purchase revoked, the buyer upon demand must tender to the seller any goods delivered by the seller pursuant to the sale but he is not obligated to tender at any place other than his residence. If the seller fails to demand possession of goods within a reasonable time after cancellation or revocation, the goods become the property of the buyer without obligation to pay for them. For the purpose of this section, forty days is presumed to be a reasonable time.

(2) The buyer has a duty to take reasonable care of the goods in his possession before cancellation or revocation and for a reasonable time thereafter, during which time the goods are otherwise at the seller's risk.

(3) If the seller has performed any services pursuant to a home solicitation sale prior to its cancellation, the seller is entitled to no compensation.

(j) Subsections (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) of this section shall not apply to a home solicitation sale between a buyer and a public insurance adjuster, as defined in [§ 31-1631.01(c)]. [Section 31-1631.07] shall apply to all such sales.

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D.C. Code § 28-3812
Limitation on creditors' remedies.
(a) This section applies to actions or other proceedings to enforce rights arising from consumer credit sales, consumer leases, and direct installment loans (other than a loan directly secured on real estate or a direct motor vehicle installment loan covered by Chapter 36 of Title 28, District of Columbia Official Code); and, in addition, to extortionate extensions of credit.

(b) (1) During the thirty-day period after a default consisting of a failure to pay money the creditor may not because of the default (A) accelerate the unpaid balance of the obligation, (B) bring action against the debtor, or (C) proceed against the collateral.

(2) Unless the creditor has first (A) notified the debtor that he has elected to accelerate the unpaid balance of the obligation because of default, (B) brought action against the debtor, or (C) proceeded against the collateral, the debtor may cure a default consisting of a failure to pay money by tendering the amount of all unpaid sums due at the time of tender, without acceleration, plus any unpaid delinquency or deferral charges. Cure restores the debtor to his rights under the agreement as though the defaults cured had not occurred.

(3) Posting of any notice required by law shall be deemed valid if mailed by certified mail to the debtor's last known address.

(c) (1) The debtor may redeem the collateral from the creditor at any time --(A) within fifteen days of the creditor's taking possession of the collateral, or

(B) thereafter until the creditor has either disposed of the collateral, entered into a contract for its disposition, or gained the right to retain the collateral in satisfaction of the debtor's obligation pursuant to the provisions on disposition of collateral in section 9-505 of subtitle I of Title 28, District of Columbia Official Code.(2) The debtor may redeem the collateral by tendering fulfillment of all obligations secured by the collateral including reasonable expenses incurred in realizing on the security interest.

(d) Subject to the provisions in this part, the parties may agree that the creditor has the right to take possession of the collateral on default. In taking possession, a secured party may proceed without judicial process if this can be done without breach of the peace and with consent of the debtor. Those who take the collateral through repossession shall be deemed the agent of the creditor, and the creditor shall be civilly liable for any of the actions of its agents.

(e) (1) This subsection applies to consumer credit sales of goods or services and to direct installment loans served by interests in goods.

(2) A creditor may not maintain a proceeding for a deficiency unless he has disposed of the goods in good faith and in a commercially reasonable manner.

(3) If the creditor repossesses or voluntarily accepts surrender of goods which were the subject of the sale and in which he has a security interest, the consumer is not personally liable to the creditor for the unpaid balance of debt arising from the sale of a commercial unit of goods of which the cash price was $ 2,000 or less. In that case the creditor is not obligated to resell the collateral unless the consumer has paid 60% or more of the cash price and has not signed after default a statement renouncing his rights in the collateral.

(4) If the creditor takes possession or voluntarily accepts surrender of goods which were not the subject of the sale but in which he has a security interest to secure a debt arising from a sale of goods or services or a combined sale of goods and services and the cash price of the sale was $ 2,000 or less, the debtor is not personally liable to the creditor for the unpaid balance of the debt arising from the sale and the creditor's duty to dispose of the collateral is governed by the provisions on disposition of collateral in section 9-505 of Subtitle I of Title 28, District of Columbia Official Code.

(5) If the creditor takes possession or voluntarily accepts surrender of goods in which he has a security interest to secure a debt arising from a direct installment loan and the net proceeds of the loan paid to or for the benefit of the debtor are $ 2,000 or less, the consumer is not personally liable to the lender for the unpaid balance of the debt arising from the loan and the lender's duty to dispose of the collateral is governed by the provisions on disposition of collateral in section 9-505 of Subtitle I of Title 28, District of Columbia Official Code.

(6) The consumer shall be liable in damages to the creditor if the debtor has wrongfully damaged the collateral or if, after default and demand, the debtor has wrongfully failed to make collateral available to the creditor.

(7) If the creditor elects to bring an action against the buyer for a debt arising from a consumer credit sale of goods or services, when under this section he would not be entitled to a deficiency judgment if he repossessed the collateral, and obtains judgment --

(A) he may not repossess the collateral, and.

(B) the collateral is not subject to levy or sale on execution or similar proceedings pursuant to the judgment.

(f) (1) If it is the understanding of the creditor and the debtor at the time an extension of credit is made that delay in making repayment or failure to make repayment could result in the use of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to the person, reputation, or property of any person, the repayment of the extension of credit is unenforceable through civil judicial processes against the debtor.

(2) If it is shown that an extension of credit was made at an annual rate exceeding 45% and that the creditor then had a reputation for the use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to the person, reputation, or property of any person to collect extensions of credit or to punish the nonrepayment thereof, there is prima facie evidence that the extension of credit was unenforceable under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(g) (1) With respect to a consumer credit sale, or direct installment loan, if the court as a matter of law finds --

(A) the agreement to have been unconscionable at the time it was made, or to have been induced by unconscionable conduct, the court may refuse to enforce the agreement, or

(B) any clause of the agreement to have been unconscionable at the time it was made, the court may refuse to enforce the agreement, or may enforce the remainder of the agreement without the unconscionable clause, or may so limit the application of any unconscionable clause as to avoid any unconscionable result.(2) If it is claimed or appears to the court that the agreement or any clause thereof may be unconscionable the parties shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to present evidence as to its setting, purpose, and effect to aid the court in making the determination.

(3) For the purpose of this section, a charge or practice expressly permitted by this section is not in and of itself unconscionable in the absence of other practices and circumstances.

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D.C. Code § 28-3813
Consumers' remedies.
(a) The remedies provided by this section shall be liberally administered to the end that the consumer as the aggrieved party shall be put in at least as good a position as if the creditor had fully complied with this chapter. Except as is otherwise specifically provided where there are wilful and repeated violations of this chapter consequential and special damages may be had in lieu of the specific penalties allowed, and in addition punitive damages may be had as indicated.

(b) Any right or obligation declared by this chapter is enforceable by action unless the provision declaring it specifies a different and limited effect.

(c) "Transaction total" means --

(1) in the case of transactions pursuant to open end credit plans or consumer credit transactions, the total of the following calculated as if the amount or amounts financed were paid over the maximum period of the plan or, if there is no such period, over twelve months beginning with the next billing cycle or cycles following the transaction or transactions:

(A) the amount financed, plus any down payment or required deposit balance, and

(B) the total finance charge, including any prepaid finance charge;

(2) in the case of other than open end transactions or consumer credit transactions, the total of the following:

(A) the amount financed, plus any down payment or required deposit balance, and

(B) the amount of all precomputed or precomputable finance charge, including any prepaid finance charge.

(d) (1) In the discretion of the court, a consumer may recover from the person violating this chapter, in addition to the damages the law otherwise allows, 10% of the transaction total, if applicable, or $ 100, whichever is greater, for violations to which this section applies.

(2) This section also applies to all violations for which no other remedy is specifically provided.

(e) If a consumer prevails in a suit brought under this chapter, the court may assess reasonable attorney's fees in addition to any other amounts recoverable under this chapter.

(f) Any charge, practice, term, clause, provision, security interest, or other action or conduct which can be shown to be in wilful violation of the provisions of this chapter shall confer no rights or obligations enforceable by action.

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D.C. Code § 28-3814
Debt collection.
(a) This section only applies to conduct and practices in connection with collection of obligations arising from consumer credit sales, consumer leases, and direct installment loans (other than a loan directly secured on real estate or a direct motor vehicle installment loan covered by Chapter 36 of Title 28).

(b) As used in this section, the term --

(1) "claim" means any obligation or alleged obligation, arising from a consumer credit sale, consumer lease, or direct installment loan;

(1A) "creditor" means a claimant or other person holding a claim;

(2) "debt collection" means any action, conduct or practice in connection with the solicitation of claims for collection or in connection with the collection of claims, that are owed or due, or are alleged to be owed or due, a seller or lender by a consumer; and

(3) "debt collector" means any person engaging directly or indirectly in debt collection, and includes any person who sells or offers to sell forms represented to be a collection system, device, or scheme intended or calculated to be used to collect claims.

(c) No creditor or debt collector shall collect or attempt to collect any money alleged to be due and owing by means of any threat, coercion, or attempt to coerce in any of the following ways:

(1) the use, or express or implicit threat of use, of violence or other criminal means, to cause harm to the person, reputation, or property of any person;

(2) the accusation or threat to falsely accuse any person of fraud or any crime, or any conduct which, if true, would tend to disgrace such other person or in any way subject him to ridicule, or any conduct which, if true, would tend to disgrace such other person or in any way subject him to ridicule or contempt of society;

(3) false accusations made to another person, including any credit reporting agency, that a consumer has not paid a just debt, or threat to so make such false accusations;

(4) the threat to sell or assign to another the obligation of the consumer with an attending representation or implication that the result of such sale or assignment would be that the consumer would lose any defense to the claim or would be subjected to harsh, vindictive, or abusive collection attempts; and

(5) the threat that nonpayment of an alleged claim will result in the arrest of any person.

(d) No creditor or debt collector shall unreasonably oppress, harass, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of or attempt to collect any claim alleged to be due and owing by that person or another in any of the following ways:

(1) the use of profane or obscene language or language that is intended to unreasonably abuse the hearer or reader;

(2) the placement of telephone calls without disclosure of the caller's identity or with the intent to harass or threaten any person at the called number; and

(3) causing expense to any person in the form of long-distance telephone tolls, telegram fees, or other charges incurred by a medium of communication, by concealment of the true purpose of the notice, letter, message, or communication.

(e) No creditor or debt collector shall unreasonably publicize information relating to any alleged indebtedness or debtor in any of the following ways:

(1) the communication of any false information relating to a consumer's indebtedness to any employer or his agent except where such indebtedness had been guaranteed by the employer or the employer has requested the loan giving rise to the indebtedness and except where such communication is in connection with an attachment or execution after judgments as authorized by law;

(2) the disclosure, publication, or communication of false information relating to a consumer's indebtedness to any relative or family member of the consumer unless such person is known to the creditor or debt collector to be a member of the same household as the consumer, except through proper legal action or process or at the express and unsolicited request of the relative or family member;

(3) the disclosure, publication, or communications of any information relating to a consumer's indebtedness by publishing or posting any list of consumers, except for the publication and distribution of "stop lists" to point-of-sale locations where credit is extended, or by advertising for sale any claim to enforce payment thereof or in any other manner other than through proper legal action, process, or proceeding; and

(4) the use of any form of communication to the consumer, which ordinarily may be seen by any other persons, that displays or conveys any information about the alleged claim other than the name, address, and phone number of the creditor or debt collector.

(f) No creditor or debt collector shall use any fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representation or means to collect or attempt to collect claims or to obtain information concerning consumers in any of the following ways:

(1) the use of any company name, while engaged in debt collection, other than the creditor or debt collector's true company name;

(2) the failure to clearly disclose in all written communications made to collect or attempt to collect a claim or to obtain or attempt to obtain information about a consumer, that the creditor or debt collector is attempting to collect a claim and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose;

(3) any false representation that the creditor or debt collector has in his possession information or something of value for the consumer, that is made to solicit or discover information about the consumer;

(4) the failure to clearly disclose the name and full business address of the person to whom the claim has been assigned for collection, or to whom the claim is owed, at the time of making any demand for money;

(5) any false representation or implication of the character, extent, or amount of a claim against a consumer, or of its status in any legal proceeding;

(6) any false representation or false implication that any creditor or debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, affiliated with or an instrumentality, agent, or official of the District of Columbia or any agency of the Federal or District government;

(7) the use or distribution or sale of any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by a court, an official, or any other legally constituted or authorized authority, or which creates a false impression about its source, authorization, or approval;

(8) any representation that an existing obligation of the consumer may be increased by the addition of attorney's fees, investigation fees, service fees, or any other fees or charges when in fact such fees or charges may not legally be added to the existing obligation; and

(9) any false representation or false impression about the status or true nature of or the services rendered by the creditor or debt collector or his business.

(g) No creditor or debt collector shall use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any claim in any of the following ways:

(1) the seeking or obtaining of any written statement or acknowledgment in any form that specifies that a consumer's obligation is one incurred for necessaries of life where the original obligation was not in fact incurred for such necessaries;

(2) the seeking or obtaining of any written statement or acknowledgment in any form containing an affirmation of any obligation by a consumer who has been declared bankrupt without clearly disclosing the nature and consequences of such affirmation and the fact that the consumer is not legally obligated to make such affirmation;

(3) the collection or the attempt to collect from the consumer all or any part of the creditor or debt collector's fee or charge for services rendered;

(4) the collection of or the attempt to collect any interest or other charge, fee, or expense incidental to the principal obligation unless such interest or incidental fee, charge, or expense is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the obligation and legally chargeable to the consumer or unless such interest or incidental fee, charge, or expense is expressly authorized by law; and

(5) any communication with a consumer whenever it appears that the consumer has notified the creditor that he is represented by an attorney and the attorney's name and address are known.

(h) No creditor or debt collector shall use, or distribute, sell, or prepare for use, any written communication that violates or fails to conform to United States postal laws and regulations.

(i) No creditor or debt collector shall take or accept for assignment any of the following:

(1) an assignment of any claim for attorney's fees which have not been lawfully provided for in the writing evidencing the obligation; or

(2) an assignment for collection of any claim upon which suit has been filed or judgment obtained, without the creditor or debt collector first making a reasonable effort to contact the attorney representing the consumer.

(j) (1) Proof, by substantial evidence, that a creditor or debt collector has wilfully violated any provision of the foregoing subsections of this section shall subject such creditor or debt collector to liability to any person affected by such violation for all damages proximately caused by the violation.

(2) Punitive damages may be awarded to any person affected by a wilful violation of the foregoing subsections of this section, when and in such amount as is deemed appropriate by the court and trier of fact.

(k) No creditor, debt collector, or collection agency, or their representatives or agents shall contact consumers by telephone before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. EST or EDT, whichever time zone is in effect.

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D.C. Code § 28-3815
Administrative enforcement.

(a) As used in this section --

(1) "Commissioner" ["Mayor"] means the Commissioner of the District of Columbia [Mayor of the District of Columbia] or his designated agent;

(b) Compliance with the requirements imposed under this chapter shall be enforced by the Commissioner [Mayor]. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to affect the authority and jurisdiction of the respective agencies designated in section 108 of the Truth-in-Lending Act (82 Stat. 146 et seq.; 15 U.S.C.S. 1601 et seq.).

(c) Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as alternative sanctions for any infraction of the provisions of this act [this chapter], or any rules or regulations issued under the authority of this act [this chapter], pursuant to titles I-III of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Civil Infractions Act of 1985 [Chapter 18 of Title 2]. Adjudication of any infraction of this act [this chapter] shall be pursuant to titles I-III of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Civil Infractions Act of 1985 [Chapter 18 of Title 2].

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D.C. Code § 28-3816
Inconsistent laws: What law governs.

If any provision of law or regulation promulgated thereunder is inconsistent with this chapter, this chapter shall govern, unless this subchapter or the inconsistent provision of the other laws specifically provides otherwise.

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D.C. Code § 28-3817
Health spa sales.

(a) As used in this section, the term --

(1) "health spa" means a proposed or existing location or organization with indoor or outdoor facilities for physical sport, exercise, training, or therapy or rehabilitation. It does not include any location, the primary activity of which is training or instruction in a specific skill, such as dance, or swimming. It does not include any location which is operated primarily by a not-for-profit organization.

(2) "health spa sale" means a cash sale or a consumer credit sale in which a health spa or affiliated organization agrees, after the effective date of this section, to provide or make available, for a period of more than 30 days, goods or services (whether or not a membership is included) for physical sport, exercise, training, therapy or rehabilitation.

(3) "buyer" means any natural person who purchases a health spa sale contract for his, or another natural person's, personal use.

(4) "seller" means the seller of a health spa sale to a buyer.

(b) Every contract containing a health spa sale shall:(1) be in writing;

(2) if renewable in whole or part, require the buyer's separate signature and payment for renewal;

(3) provide for a buyer's right (which may not be waived) to cancel, as explained in subsection (c);

(4) in close proximity to the space reserved for the buyer's signature, and in boldface type of at least ten points, include the following statement:

"NOTICE TO THE BUYER:

You have the right to cancel this contract during the first fifteen days after the contract is made, or after the first fifteen days, if, due to death, illness, injury, or a change in residence, you are unable to use the full membership privileges in this contract. If you cancel, you will have to pay only for the goods or services you are entitled to up through the month in which you cancel, plus a registration fee of 5% of the price of this contract (not counting any finance charge), not to exceed $ 25. You must notify the health spa, by certified or registered mail at the address given in this contract, of your intention to cancel, or your cancellation will not be effective. If your cancellation is due to illness or injury, a certificate from a doctor of your choice must accompany your notice of cancellation to the health spa. Contact the District of Columbia Office of Consumer Affairs if you have a question as to how to calculate your obligation or your refund after you cancel.";

(5) be presented, fully completed, to the buyer, and be signed and dated by the buyer, and then a copy, as so approved, be furnished to the buyer; and

(6) specify the seller's and the buyer's addresses.

(c) (1) The buyer, at his option, has the right to cancel a health spa sale during the first fifteen days after the sale is made, or after such fifteen days, if, due to death, illness, injury, or a change in residence, the buyer is unable to use all the goods and services provided in the sale.

(2) Notice of cancellation given by the buyer need not take a particular form and is sufficient if it indicates by any form of written expression the intention of the buyer to be no longer bound by the health spa sale, and (whenever such notice is given more than 15 days after the contract is made) that, due to death, illness, injury, or a change in residence or in the location of the health spa, the buyer is unable to use all the goods or services promised in the sale. If the cancellation is due to illness or injury, a certificate from a doctor of the consumer's choice must accompany the notice of cancellation to the health spa.

(3) Cancellation occurs when the buyer mails written notice of cancellation to the seller at the seller's address as specified in the contract, by registered or certified mail.

(4) The cancellation balance shall be calculated as follows:

(A) Divide the number of months (counting a fraction as one month) which have elapsed from the date the contract (or renewal option then in effect) became effective to the date of cancellation, by the total number of months for which such services were contracted.

(B) Multiply the contract price (or the price for the renewal period then in effect) by the quotient obtained in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(C) Add to the amount obtained in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph a registration fee of 5% of the original price of the contract (not counting any finance charge), but in no case more than $ 25.00.

(D) If the payment by the consumer of the contract price is financed, subtract from the amount obtained in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph the amount of interest, calculated by the method of 78ths, not yet accrued through the month of the contract during which cancellation occurs.

(E) Subtract the difference obtained in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph, or if not applicable, the amount obtained in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph, from the amount already paid by the buyer under the contract and finance agreement.
If this balance is a positive figure, it is the amount of the seller's refund to the buyer, and shall be due and payable within 15 days after the cancellation. If this balance is a negative figure, it is the amount of the buyer's obligation to the seller, and within 15 days after the cancellation, the seller shall notify the buyer of his obligation. Notice of such obligation, if given by mail, is given when it is deposited in a mail box postage prepaid and properly addressed to the buyer's address as stated in the notice of cancellation, or, if the buyer's address is not stated there, as stated in the contract.

(5) The buyer's right to cancel, as explained in this subsection, applies separately to all health spa sale contracts between the seller and the buyer.

(6) When there are two or more buyers (signatories, not necessarily beneficiaries, of the contract) of a health spa sale, the right to cancel, as explained in this subsection, is available only when all the buyers join in the notice of cancellation.

(7) After receiving notice of cancellation from the buyer, the seller shall mark his copy of the cancelled health spa sale contract "cancelled".

(d) (1) The seller shall maintain copies of all cancelled health spa sale contracts for a period of 2 years from their dates of cancellation, and such records shall be open to inspection by proper representatives of the District of Columbia Government.

(2) If a contract containing a health spa sale does not meet all the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, such health spa sale shall be void, and the buyer shall at any time be entitled to a complete refund of all payments made under that contract.

(3) Any person, company or organization which purchases a buyer's obligations under a health spa sale, makes such purchase subject to the buyer's right to cancel as explained in subsection (c) of this section, as if such person, company, or organization were the seller.

(4) The principal consumer protection agency or the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia Government may seek in the proper court or administrative agency an order requiring a health spa to include in all health spa sale contracts the notice required in subsection (b)(4) of this section.

(e) (1) Each health spa which contracts health spa sales for goods or services to be provided or made available at a health spa which is planned, under construction, or in operation shall be required by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs ("Department") to maintain a bond, issued by a surety company licensed to do business in the District of Columbia, in an amount not less than $ 50,000, or shall file with the Department an irrevocable letter of credit or cash in that amount. A buyer of a health spa sale who suffers or sustains any loss or damage by reason of breach of contract or bankruptcy by the seller or by reason of a violation by the seller of the provisions of this act [this section] may bring an action based on the bond and recover against the surety, the liability of the surety under any bond may not exceed the aggregate amount of the bond, regardless of the number or amount of claims filed. If the claims filed should exceed the amount of the bond, the surety shall pay the amount of the bond to the Department for distribution to claimants entitled to restitution and shall be relieved of all liability under the bond.

(2) A health spa which states in writing, at the time it registers with the Department pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, that it will make health spa sales to no more than 100 persons, shall for as long as it abides by the agreement be required to purchase a surety bond in the amount of $ 25,000 or to file with the Department an irrevocable letter of credit or cash in that amount.

(3) Each health spa, prior to making or contracting for any health spa sale, shall complete the registration required by subsection (f) of this section and shall file with the Department evidence that the bond or letter of credit is in force or shall file cash in lieu of the bond or letter of credit. Each health spa obtaining a bond or letter of credit shall file annually with the Department evidence that the bond or letter of credit remains in force, and shall maintain accurate records of the bond and premium payments on it, or of the letter of credit. These records shall be open to inspection by the Department at any time during normal business hours.

(f) (1) Each person or health spa which makes health spa sales in the District of Columbia shall register with the Department on forms provided by the Department. The person or health spa shall furnish the full name and address of each business location where health spa sales are contracted, a financial statement, and any other information the department deems appropriate.

(2) Each seller of health spa sales in the District of Columbia shall designate a resident of the District of Columbia to serve as resident agent for receipt of service of process.

(g) Any person or health spa which makes or contracts to make any health spa sale in violation of subsection (e)(3) of this section shall be subject to a fine of not less than $ 1,000 and not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01].

(h) The Department may bring an action to enjoin the sale of health spa memberships by any health spa which fails to comply with subsection (e)(3) of this section.

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D.C. Code § 28-3818
Layaway plans.
(a) Definitions. -- As used in this section the term:

(1) "consumer goods" means chattels owned, used, or bought by an individual for personal, family, or household purposes. The term consumer goods does not include goods acquired for commercial or business use or resale;

(2) "layaway plan" means a plan or agreement whereby a seller of consumer goods offers for sale or sells such goods to a buyer on terms which contemplate completion of three (3) or more agreed payments all of which must be made prior to the release or delivery of such goods;

(3) "service charge" means a one time charge, not to exceed one dollar ($ 1.00) on any layaway plan, to cover the administrative costs associated with such layaway plan; provided, that the one dollar ($ 1.00) service charge shall cover all layaway plan transactions between the retailer and a single consumer occurring in the same business day.

(b) Disclosures. -- The seller shall, prior to the time of executing a layaway plan agreement, provide the buyer with a copy of a written, clear, and conspicuous disclosure. Failure of the seller to comply with this provision shall be deemed an executed trade practice in violation of the law of the District of Columbia for which the penalties in section 6(i)(3) of the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, effective July 22, 1976 (D.C. Law 1-76) [§ 28-3905(i)(3)] shall apply. The disclosure required by this subsection shall include:

(1) a statement as to the schedule or period of payments to be made by the buyer towards the purchase of consumer goods under a layaway plan;

(2) a statement that the consumer goods identified in the layaway plan will be retained in stock or set aside from stock but retained by the seller and made available for release or delivery to the buyer upon final payment or within fourteen (14) days after final payment;

(3) a statement as to the refund and exchange policies and charges restrictive of the seller pursuant to subsections (c), (d), (f), (g), and (h) of this section to the extent applicable;

(4) a statement as to the seller's right to deduct late charges as set forth in subsection (g) of this section; and

(5) a statement that the buyer shall receive from the seller a written statement, upon request, and shall obtain a receipt for any and all payments made towards the purchase of consumer goods under a layaway plan as set forth in subsections (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this section.

(c) Buyer's right to cancel. -- The buyer, at his option, has the right to cancel an executed layaway plan within two (2) weeks after entering into the layaway plan and to obtain a full refund of any amount of money paid toward the purchase of consumer goods under the layaway plan. Such refund is payable upon cancellation or within two (2) weeks after cancellation.

(d) Cancellation fee. -- If a buyer notifies a seller of his intention to cancel a purchase of consumer goods under a layaway plan after the expiration of the two (2) week cancellation period set forth in subsection (c) of this section, the seller shall promptly refund the full amount of money paid by the buyer towards the purchase of the consumer goods under the layaway plan. The seller may, however, retain an amount not to exceed eight percent (8%) of the purchase price of the consumer goods purchased under the layaway plan or sixteen dollars ($ 16.00), whichever is less.

(e) Seller's default. -- If, for any reason, the seller is unable to provide the consumer goods identified in the layaway plan or their exact duplicate to the buyer upon final payment or within fourteen (14) days thereafter, the seller shall refund the entire amount paid by the buyer towards the purchase of such goods under the layaway plan plus eight percent (8%) of the purchase price of the consumer goods purchased under the layaway plan or sixteen dollars ($ 16.00), whichever is less.

(f) Charges restricted. -- The seller shall not require a buyer who has executed a layaway plan to pay a charge or fee of any kind on such goods except for those fees pursuant to subsections (d), (g), and (j) of this section to the extent applicable.

(g) Late fee. -- If, for any reason, the buyer is unable to make payment in accordance with the terms of a layaway plan, the seller shall send prompt notice informing the buyer of the delinquency in payment. If the seller does not receive payment on the consumer goods identified in the layaway plan within fourteen (14) days after such notice is sent to the buyer, the seller may deduct an amount not to exceed one dollar ($ 1.00) from the full amount of money paid by the buyer towards the purchase of such goods under the layaway plan and refund the remaining amount to the buyer.

(h) Acceleration of payment prohibited. -- The seller shall not accelerate any payments under a layaway plan. The seller shall be entitled to the amount of payments due to date under the layaway plan including those charges pursuant to subsections (d) and (g) of this section to the extent applicable.

(i) Receipt and statement of payments.

(1) The seller shall promptly provide the buyer with a receipt for any and all payments made towards the purchase of consumer goods under a layaway plan. If payment is made by mail or by any means other than in person, a receipt shall be provided no later than seven (7) days after a payment is made. Such receipt shall include:(A) a description of the consumer goods identified in the layaway plan; and

(B) the amount and date of such payment.

(2) The seller, upon request of the buyer, shall provide the buyer, within a reasonable time thereafter, a written statement of any and all payments made towards the purchase of consumer goods under the layaway plan. Such statement shall include:(A) a description of the consumer goods identified in the layaway plan;

(B) the amount and date of any and all payments made to date;

(C) the total of all payments made to date; and

(D) the balance of all payments remaining.

(j) Service charge. -- The seller is allowed to charge the buyer a service charge, which is not to exceed one dollar ($ 1.00), for goods purchased under a layaway plan, to cover the administrative costs associated with such layaway plan; provided, that the one dollar ($ 1.00) service charge shall cover all layaway plan transactions between the retailer and a single consumer occurring in the same business day.

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D.C. Code § 28-3819
Rental housing locators.
(a) Definitions. -- As used in this section the term or terms:

(1) "Fee" means any fee, commission, charge, deposit, down payment or other valuable consideration, including any fee or charge for a credit check or consultation.

(2) "Rental housing locator" or "locator" means any person who for a fee identifies or purports to identify or who provides or purports to provide any other information about any rental unit available for rent, other than a rental unit owned or managed by such person.

(3) "Rental housing locator contract" means a contract between a rental housing locator and another person that obligates the locator for a fee to identify any number of rental units as available for rent or to provide any other information about them.

(4) "Rental unit" means any room, suite, apartment, or single family house rented or offered for rent as a residence, including any appurtenant services, facilities, improvements or land.

(b) Repealed.

(c) Accuracy of information.

(1) Every rental housing locator shall revise and correct all information to be provided pursuant to a rental housing locator contract or otherwise made available to any customer, potential customer, or the general public, every 24 hours for rental units it advertises and every 48 hours for rental units it does not advertise, or else remove such units from its lists and discontinue the advertising of such units.

(2) A rental housing locator shall identify as available for rent or provide other information about a rental unit only if the locator has been given permission to do so by the owner/manager of the unit, or the rental unit has been advertised, posted, or otherwise publicly offered or held out as available for rent, by the owner/manager of the rental unit.

(3) Rental housing locator agencies shall be required to make available, upon request, records of all unadvertised and advertised listings provided to customers and potential customers to the Office of Consumer Protection and the Metropolitan Police Department.

(d) Contracts.

(1) Contracts between the rental housing locator agency and the customer shall be written, and a copy of the contract shall be supplied to the customer.

(2) The contract shall clearly state the duration of the locator service contract.

(3) Every rental housing locator shall refund, upon request, any fee to any customer within thirty (30) days of said request if any of the rental housing information provided to that customer by the locator fails to comply with the requirements of accuracy as defined by subsection (c) of this section or if the locator fails, upon demand, to provide the correct street address or telephone number of any rental housing unit it advertises or otherwise describes to a customer; or if the locator fails to provide a customer with rental housing listings as called for in the contract.

(4) The contract shall include in a prominent place and in bold face type the following clauses:(A) The first clause shall read as follows:
SAVE THIS DOCUMENT AND ANY RENTAL HOUSING LISTINGS PROVIDED TO YOU. WE ARE AN INFORMATION SERVICE ONLY. WE MAKE NO ATTEMPT TO SECURE YOU HOUSING. THE SERVICE OFFERS ONLY COMPILED INFORMATION CONCERNING AVAILABLE RENTAL HOUSING UNITS. NO GUARANTEE IS MADE THAT YOU WILL FIND RENTAL PROPERTY BY USING THIS SERVICE. YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO A REFUND IF ANY OF THE RENTAL HOUSING INFORMATION PROVIDED TO YOU IS NOT CURRENT, ACCURATE OR OTHERWISE NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW; and

(B) The second clause shall state that all inquiries should be made to the District of Columbia Office of Consumer Protection followed by the current address, telephone number, and hours of that office.

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D.C. Code § 28-3851
Definitions.
For purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) "Breach of the security of the system" means unauthorized acquisition of computerized or other electronic data, or any equipment or device storing such data, that compromises the security, confidentiality, or integrity of personal information maintained by the person or business. The term "breach of the security system" shall not include a good faith acquisition of personal information by an employee or agent of the person or business for the purposes of the person or business if the personal information is not used improperly or subject to further unauthorized disclosure. Acquisition of data that has been rendered secure, so as to be unusable by an unauthorized third party, shall not be deemed to be a breach of the security of the system.

(2) "Notify" or "notification" means providing information through any of the following methods:

(A) Written notice;

(B) Electronic notice, if the customer has consented to receipt of electronic notice consistent with the provisions regarding electronic records and signatures set forth in the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, approved June 30, 2000 (114 Stat. 641; 15 U.S.C. § 7001); or

(C) (i) Substitute notice, if the person or business demonstrates that the cost of providing notice to persons subject to this subchapter would exceed $ 50,000, that the number of persons to receive notice under this subchapter exceeds 100,000, or that the person or business does not have sufficient contact information.

(ii) Substitute notice shall consist of all of the following:

(I) E-mail notice when the person or business has an e-mail address for the subject persons;

(II) Conspicuous posting of the notice on the website page of the person or business if the person or business maintains one; and

(III) Notice to major local and, if applicable, national media.

(3) (A) "Personal information" means:

(i) An individual's first name or first initial and last name, or phone number, or address, and any one or more of the following data elements:

(I) Social security number;

(II) Driver's license number or District of Columbia Identification Card number; or

(III) Credit card number or debit card number; or

(ii) Any other number or code or combination of numbers or codes, such as account number, security code, access code, or password, that allows access to or use of an individual's financial or credit account.(B) For purposes of this paragraph, the term "personal information" shall not include publicly available information that is lawfully made available to the general public from federal, state, or local government records.

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D.C. Code § 28-3852
Notification of security breach.
(a) Any person or entity who conducts business in the District of Columbia, and who, in the course of such business, owns or licenses computerized or other electronic data that includes personal information, and who discovers a breach of the security of the system, shall promptly notify any District of Columbia resident whose personal information was included in the breach. The notification shall be made in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay, consistent with the legitimate needs of law enforcement, as provided in subsection (d) of this section, and with any measures necessary to determine the scope of the breach and restore the reasonable integrity of the data system.

(b) Any person or entity who maintains, handles, or otherwise possesses computerized or other electronic data that includes personal information that the person or entity does not own shall notify the owner or licensee of the information of any breach of the security of the system in the most expedient time possible following discovery.

(c) If any person or entity is required by subsection (a) or (b) of this section to notify more than 1,000 persons of a breach of security pursuant to this subsection, the person shall also notify, without unreasonable delay, all consumer reporting agencies that compile and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis, as defined by section 603(p) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, approved October 26, 1970 (84 Stat. 1128; 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(p)), of the timing, distribution and content of the notices. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the person to provide to the consumer reporting agency the names or other personal identifying information of breach notice recipients. This subsection shall not apply to a person or entity who is required to notify consumer reporting agencies of a breach pursuant to Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, approved November 12, 1999 (113 Stat. 1436; 15 U.S.C. § 6801 et seq[.]).

(d) The notification required by this section may be delayed if a law enforcement agency determines that the notification will impede a criminal investigation but shall be made as soon as possible after the law enforcement agency determines that the notification will not compromise the investigation.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a person or business that maintains its own notification procedures as part of an information security policy for the treatment of personal information and is otherwise consistent with the timing requirements of this subchapter shall be deemed to be in compliance with the notification requirements of this section if the person or business provides notice, in accordance with its policies, reasonably calculated to give actual notice to persons to whom notice is otherwise required to be given under this subchapter. Notice under this section may be given by electronic mail if the person or entity's primary method of communication with the resident is by electronic means.

(f) A waiver of any provision of this subchapter shall be void and unenforceable.

(g) A person or entity who maintains procedures for a breach notification system under Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, approved November 12, 1999 (113 Stat. 1436; 15 U.S.C. § 6801 et seq.) ("Act"), and provides notice in accordance with the Act, and any rules, regulations, guidance and guidelines thereto, to each affected resident in the event of a breach, shall be deemed to be in compliance with this section.

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D.C. Code § 28-3853
Enforcement.
(a) Any District of Columbia resident injured by a violation of this subchapter may institute a civil action to recover actual damages, the costs of the action, and reasonable attorney's fees. Actual damages shall not include dignitary damages, including pain and suffering.

(b) The Attorney General may petition the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for temporary or permanent injunctive relief and for an award of restitution for property lost or damages suffered by District of Columbia residents as a consequence of the violation of this subchapter. In an action under this subsection, the Attorney General may recover a civil penalty not to exceed $ 100 for each violation, the costs of the action, and reasonable attorney's fees. Each failure to provide a District of Columbia resident with notification in accordance with this section shall constitute a separate violation.

(c) The rights and remedies available under this section are cumulative to each other and to any other rights and remedies available under law.

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D.C. Code § 28-3861
Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) "Consumer" means an individual who resides in the District of Columbia.

(2) "Credit report" means information maintained by a credit reporting agency bearing on a consumer's creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living, which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for:

(A) Serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes;

(B) Employment purposes; or

(C) Any other purpose authorized under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, approved October 26, 1970 (84 Stat. 1127; 15 U.S.C. § 1681b).

(3) "Credit reporting agency" means any person who, for consideration, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of maintaining consumers' credit information for the purpose of furnishing the information to third parties.

(4) "Proper identification" means information generally considered sufficient to identify a person. Additional information concerning the consumer's employment and personal or family history shall not be included within the term "proper identification" unless the consumer is unable to reasonably identify himself or herself with other information generally considered sufficient.

(5) "Security freeze" or "freeze" means a restriction, at the request of the consumer and subject to certain exceptions, that prohibits the credit reporting agency from releasing all or any part of a credit report or any information derived from it without the express authorization of the consumer.

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D.C. Code § 28-3862
Security freeze.
(a) A credit reporting agency shall place a security freeze on a consumer's credit report if a consumer, providing proper identification, makes a request to the credit reporting agency by certified mail. In addition, on or before January 31, 2009, a credit reporting agency shall make available an Internet-based method of requesting a security freeze and shall accept requests by one of the following methods: telephone or regular mail.

(b) A credit reporting agency shall place the security freeze on the consumer's credit report no later than 3 business days after receiving the request.

(c) The credit reporting agency shall send a written confirmation of the security freeze to the consumer within 5 business days of placing the freeze and at the same time shall provide the consumer with a unique personal identification number or password to be used by the consumer when providing authorization for the release of his or her credit report to a specific party or for a specific period of time.

(d) A consumer may thereafter request that a credit reporting agency allow his or her credit report to be accessed by a specific party or for a specific period of time by providing the following:

(1) Proper identification;

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

(3) The identity of the third party to receive the credit report or the time period for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report, if applicable.

(e) (1) A credit reporting agency that receives a request pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall comply with the request no later than 3 business days after receiving the request.

(2) On or before September 1, 2008, the consumer reporting agency shall develop the capability, and offer the option to the consumer, of honoring a request under subsection (d) of this section, through Internet-based and telephonic methods, within 15 minutes after the consumer's request is received by the consumer reporting agency. A consumer reporting agency shall not be required to lift a security freeze within 15 minutes if:

(A) The consumer fails to meet the requirements of subsection (d) of this section; or

(B) The consumer reporting agency is unable to lift the security freeze because of:

(i) An act of God, including fire, earthquakes, hurricanes or storms;

(ii) Unauthorized or illegal acts by a third party, including terrorism, sabotage, riot, vandalism, labor strikes, or disputes disrupting operations;

(iii) Operational interruption, including electrical failure, unanticipated delay in equipment or replacement part delivery, or computer hardware or software failures inhibiting response time;

(iv) Governmental action, including emergency orders or regulations, judicial or law enforcement action, or similar directives;

(v) Regularly scheduled maintenance during other than normal business hours of, or updates to, the consumer reporting agency's systems; or

(vi) Commercially reasonable maintenance of, or repair to, the consumer reporting agency's systems that is unexpected or unscheduled.

(f) A credit reporting agency may develop procedures involving the use of telephone, fax, or, upon the consent of the consumer in the manner required by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, approved June 30, 2000 (114 Stat. 464; 15 U.S.C.S. § 7001 et seq.), for legally required notices, by the Internet, e-mail, or other electronic media, to receive and process a request from a consumer to temporarily lift a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(g) A credit reporting agency may permanently remove a freeze placed on a credit report, without a request from the consumer, if the credit reporting agency placed the freeze as a result of a material misrepresentation of fact by the consumer.

(h) A credit reporting agency shall send written notification to the consumer 5 business days prior to permanently removing a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subsection (g) of this section.

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

(j) If a security freeze is in place, a credit report shall not be released to a third party without prior express authorization from the consumer. A credit reporting agency may advise a third party that a security freeze is in effect with respect to the credit report.

(k) A security freeze shall remain in place until the consumer requests its permanent removal in writing. On or before January 31, 2009, a credit reporting agency shall remove a security freeze within 3 business days of receiving a request for permanent removal from the consumer.

(l) A credit reporting agency shall not suggest or otherwise state or imply to a third party that the consumer's security freeze reflects a negative credit score, history, report, or rating.

(m) Nothing in this section shall prevent the lawful use of a credit report by any of the following:

(1) (A) A person or entity (including a subsidiary, affiliate, or agent of that person or entity; an assignee of a financial obligation owing by the consumer to that person or entity; or a prospective assignee of a financial obligation owing by the consumer to that person or entity), with which the consumer has or had prior to assignment an account or contract, including a demand deposit account, or to whom the consumer issued a negotiable instrument, for the purposes of reviewing the account in conjunction with the proposed purchase of a financial obligation or collecting the financial obligation owing for the account, contract, or negotiable instrument.

(B) For purposes of this paragraph, the term "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) A person or entity acting pursuant to a court order, warrant, subpoena, or other compulsory process;

(4) A state or local agency that administers a program for establishing and enforcing child support obligations;

(5) A third party for the purposes of prescreening under section 604(e) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, approved October 26, 1970 (84 Stat. 1129; 15 U.S.C.S. § 1681b(e));

(6) A person or entity for the purpose of providing a consumer with a copy of his or her credit report upon the consumer's request;

(7) An insurance company, licensed in the District, for the purpose of setting or adjusting a rate or premium, adjusting a claim, or underwriting for property and casualty insurance purposes;

(8) A person or entity administering a credit file monitoring subscription service to which the consumer has subscribed; or

(9) A state, local, or federal government agency and its agents acting pursuant to a lawful investigation or to fulfill any of its other official duties.

(n) The following persons are not required to place a security freeze on a credit report:

(1) A person or entity that acts only as a reseller of credit information by assembling and merging information contained in the database of another person or entity, or multiple persons or entities, and does not maintain a permanent database of credit information from which new credit reports are produced; provided, that a person or entity acting as a reseller shall honor any security freeze placed on a credit report by a credit reporting agency;

(2) A check services or fraud prevention services company which issues reports on incidents of fraud or authorizations for the purpose of approving or processing negotiable instruments, electronic funds transfers, or similar methods of payments; and

(3) 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.

(o) A consumer reporting agency may charge a consumer for a security freeze service only as follows:

(1) For the initial application for the consumer's first personal identification number or password, the consumer may be charged $ 10.

(2) If the consumer fails to retain the original personal identification number or password provided by the agency, the consumer may not be charged for a one-time reissue of the same or a new personal identification number or password, but may be charged an amount not to exceed $ 10 for subsequent instances of loss and reissuance of a new personal identification number or password.

(3) Notwithstanding the foregoing, a consumer who has been a victim of identity theft shall not be charged any fee, but may be charged an amount not to exceed $ 10 for second or subsequent instances of loss and reissuance of a new personal identification number or password, for placement of a security freeze on his or her report.

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D.C. Code § 28-3863
Notice of rights.
Each time a credit reporting agency provides a consumer with a copy of the consumer's credit report under section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, approved October 26, 1970 (84 Stat. 1131; 15 U.S.C. § 1681g), the credit reporting agency shall include the following notice with the credit report:

District of Columbia Consumers Have the Right to Obtain a Security Freeze

District of Columbia law gives you the right to place a "security freeze" on your credit report. A security freeze restricts when a credit reporting agency may release information in your credit report without your express authorization or approval.

A security freeze is designed to help prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. To obtain a security freeze, you should contact each credit reporting agency. When you place a security freeze on your credit report, the credit reporting agency will send you a personal identification number or password to use if you later choose to lift the freeze from your credit report, or to authorize the release of your credit report to a specific party or parties, or for a specific 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 or password provided by the credit reporting agency.

2. Verification of your identity.

3. Information regarding who may receive the credit report or the period of time for which the report shall be made available.

Upon receiving your proper request to lift temporarily a freeze from your credit report, the credit reporting agency shall comply within 3 business days. Beginning September 1, 2008, the credit reporting agency is required to provide methods, including web-based and telephonic methods, for you to request that the freeze be temporarily lifted within 15 minutes.

A security freeze does not apply when you have an existing account relationship and a copy of your report is requested by your existing creditor or its agents or affiliates for certain types of account review, collection, fraud control or similar activities.

If you are actively seeking credit, the procedures involved in lifting a security freeze may slow your own applications for credit. You should plan ahead and consider lifting a freeze -- either completely if you are shopping around, or for a specific creditor before actually applying for new credit. Beginning September 1, 2008, you will be able to have a credit reporting agency temporarily lift a freeze on your credit report within 15 minutes of your request.

You have a right to take legal action against someone who violates your rights under the credit reporting laws. The action can be brought against a credit reporting agency or anyone who fraudulently caused the release of your credit information."

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D.C. Code § 28-3864
Enforcement.

(a) A credit reporting agency that discovers a security breach of credit information in violation of a security freeze shall provide written notice to the affected consumer of the security breach of credit information in accordance with Subchapter II [of this chapter].

(b) If a credit reporting agency willfully violates the security freeze by releasing credit information that has been placed under a security freeze, the affected consumer may bring a civil action against the credit reporting agency for the following:(1) Injunctive relief to prevent or restrain further violation of the security freeze;

(2) Actual damages;

(3) Punitive damages; and

(4) Reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action.

(c) If a credit reporting agency negligently violates the security freeze by releasing credit information that has been placed under a security freeze, the affected consumer may bring a civil action against the credit reporting agency for the following:(1) Injunctive relief to prevent or restrain further violation of the security freeze;

(2) Actual damages; and

(3) Reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action.

(d) (1) The Attorney General may petition the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for temporary or permanent injunctive relief against, and for an award of restitution for property lost or damages suffered by a consumer as a consequence of, a violation of this subchapter by a credit reporting agency, or fraudulent or deceptive conduct that causes the improper release or use of credit information that is subject to a security freeze. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, only the Attorney General shall enforce the requirements under § 28-3862(e)(2).

(2) In an action under this section, the Attorney General may recover:(A) A civil penalty not to exceed $ 1,000 for each violation; and

(B) Reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action.

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D.C. Code § 28-3901
Definitions and purposes.
(a) As used in this chapter, the term --

(1) "person" means an individual, firm, corporation, partnership, cooperative, association, or any other organization, legal entity, or group of individuals however organized;

(2) "consumer" means:

(A) When used as a noun, a person who, other than for purposes of resale, does or would purchase, lease (as lessee), or receive consumer goods or services, including as a co-obligor or surety, or does or would otherwise provide the economic demand for a trade practice;

(B) When used as an adjective, describes anything, without exception, that:

(i) A person does or would purchase, lease (as lessee), or receive and normally use for personal, household, or family purposes; or

(ii) A person described in § 28-3905(k)(1)(B) or (C) purchases or receives in order to test or evaluate qualities pertaining to use for personal, household, or family purposes.

(3) "merchant" means a person, whether organized or operating for profit or for a nonprofit purpose, who in the ordinary course of business does or would sell, lease (to), or transfer, either directly or indirectly, consumer goods or services, or a person who in the ordinary course of business does or would supply the goods or services which are or would be the subject matter of a trade practice;

(4) "complainant" means one or more consumers who took part in a trade practice, or one or more persons acting on behalf of (not the legal representative or other counsel of) such consumers, or the successors or assigns of such consumers or persons, once such consumers or persons complain to the Department about the trade practice;

(5) "respondent" means one or more merchants alleged by a complainant to have taken part in or carried out a trade practice, or the successors or assigns of such merchants, and includes other persons who may be deemed legally responsible for the trade practice;

(6) "trade practice" means any act which does or would create, alter, repair, furnish, make available, provide information about, or, directly or indirectly, solicit or offer for or effectuate, a sale, lease or transfer, of consumer goods or services;

(7) "goods and services" means any and all parts of the economic output of society, at any stage or related or necessary point in the economic process, and includes consumer credit, franchises, business opportunities, real estate transactions, and consumer services of all types;

(8) "Department" means the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs;

(9) "Director" means the Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs;

(10) "Chief of the Office of Compliance" means the senior administrative officer of the Department's Office of Compliance who is delegated the responsibility of carrying out certain duties specified under section 28-3905;

(11) "Office of Adjudication" means the Department's Office of Adjudication which is responsible for carrying out certain duties specified under section 28-3905;

(12) "Office of Consumer Protection" means the Department's Office of Consumer Protection which is responsible for carrying out the statutory requirements set forth in § 28-3906; and

(13) "Committee" means the Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection which is responsible for carrying out the statutory requirements set forth in section 28-3907.

(14) "nonprofit organization" means a person who:

(A) Is not an individual; and

(B) Is neither organized nor operating, in whole or in significant part, for profit.

(15) "public interest organization" means a nonprofit organization that is organized and operating, in whole or in part, for the purpose of promoting interests or rights of consumers.

(b) The purposes of this chapter are to:

(1) assure that a just mechanism exists to remedy all improper trade practices and deter the continuing use of such practices;

(2) promote, through effective enforcement, fair business practices throughout the community; and

(3) educate consumers to demand high standards and seek proper redress of grievances.

(c) This chapter shall be construed and applied liberally to promote its purpose. This chapter establishes an enforceable right to truthful information from merchants about consumer goods and services that are or would be purchased, leased, or received in the District of Columbia.

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D.C. Code § 28-3904
Unlawful trade practices.
It shall be a violation of this chapter, whether or not any consumer is in fact misled, deceived or damaged thereby, for any person to:

(a) represent that goods or services have a source, sponsorship, approval, certification, accessories, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have;

(b) represent that the person has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, certification, or connection that the person does not have;

(c) represent that goods are original or new if in fact they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, or second hand, or have been used;

(d) represent that goods or services are of particular standard, quality, grade, style, or model, if in fact they are of another;

(e) misrepresent as to a material fact which has a tendency to mislead;

(e-1) [r]epresent that a transaction confers or involves rights, remedies, or obligations which it does not have or involve, or which are prohibited by law;

(f) fail to state a material fact if such failure tends to mislead;

(f-1) [u]se innuendo or ambiguity as to a material fact, which has a tendency to mislead;

(g) disparage the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading representations of material facts;

(h) advertise or offer goods or services without the intent to sell them or without the intent to sell them as advertised or offered;

(i) advertise or offer goods or services without supplying reasonably expected public demand, unless the advertisement or offer discloses a limitation of quantity or other qualifying condition which has no tendency to mislead;

(j) make false or misleading representations of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions, or the price in comparison to price of competitors or one's own price at a past or future time;

(k) falsely state that services, replacements, or repairs are needed;

(l) falsely state the reasons for offering or supplying goods or services at sale or discount prices;

(m) harass, or threaten a consumer with any act other than legal process, either by telephone, cards, or letters;

(n) cease work on, or return after ceasing work on, an electrical or mechanical apparatus, appliance, chattel or other goods, or merchandise, in other than the condition contracted for, or to impose a separate charge to reassemble or restore such an object to such a condition without notification of such charge prior to beginning work on or receiving such object;

(o) replace parts or components in an electrical or mechanical apparatus, appliance, chattel or other goods, or merchandise when such parts or components are not defective, unless requested by the consumer;

(p) falsely state or represent that repairs, alterations, modifications, or servicing have been made and receiving remuneration therefor when they have not been made;

(q) fail to supply to a consumer a copy of a sales or service contract, lease, promissory note, trust agreement, or other evidence of indebtedness which the consumer may execute;

(r) make or enforce unconscionable terms or provisions of sales or leases; in applying this subsection, consideration shall be given to the following, and other factors:(1) knowledge by the person at the time credit sales are consummated that there was no reasonable probability of payment in full of the obligation by the consumer;

(2) knowledge by the person at the time of the sale or lease of the inability of the consumer to receive substantial benefits from the property or services sold or leased;

(3) gross disparity between the price of the property or services sold or leased and the value of the property or services measured by the price at which similar property or services are readily obtainable in transactions by like buyers or lessees;

(4) that the person contracted for or received separate charges for insurance with respect to credit sales with the effect of making the sales, considered as a whole, unconscionable; and

(5) that the person has knowingly taken advantage of the inability of the consumer reasonably to protect his interests by reasons of age, physical or mental infirmities, ignorance, illiteracy, or inability to understand the language of the agreement, or similar factors;

(s) pass off goods or services as those of another;

(t) use deceptive representations or designations of geographic origin in connection with goods or services;

(u) represent that the subject of a transaction has been supplied in accordance with a previous representation when it has not;

(v) misrepresent the authority of a salesman, representative or agent to negotiate the final terms of a transaction;

(w) offer for sale or distribute any consumer product which is not in conformity with an applicable consumer product safety standard or has been ruled a banned hazardous product under the federal Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. § 2051-83), without holding a certificate issued in accordance with section 14(a) of that Act to the effect that such consumer product conforms to all applicable consumer product safety rules (unless the certificate holder knows that such consumer product does not conform), or without relying in good faith on the representation of the manufacturer or a distributor of such product that the product is not subject to a consumer product safety rule issued under that Act;

(x) sell consumer goods in a condition or manner not consistent with that warranted by operation of sections 28:2-312 through 318 of the District of Columbia Official Code, or by operation or requirement of federal law;

(y) violate any provision of the District of Columbia Consumer LayAway Plan Act (section 28-3818);

(z) violate any provision of the Rental Housing Locator Consumer Protection Act of 1979 (section 28-3819) or, if a rental housing locator, to refuse or fail to honor any obligation under a rental housing locator contract;

(z-1) violate any provision of Chapter 46 of this title;

(aa) violate any provision of sections 32-404, 32-405, 32-406, and 32-407;

(bb) refuse to provide the repairs, refunds, or replacement motor vehicles or fails to provide the disclosures of defects or damages required by the Automobile Consumer Protection Act of 1984;

(cc) violate any provision of the Real Property Credit Line Deed of Trust Act of 1987;

(dd) violate any provision of title 16 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations;

(ee) violate any provision of the Public Insurance Adjuster Act of 2002 [Chapter 16A of Title 31];

(ff) violate any provision of Chapter 33 of this title;

(gg) violate any provision of the Home Equity Protection Act of 2007 [Chapter 24A of Title 42]; or

(hh) fail to make a disclosure as required by § 26-1113(a-1).

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D.C. Code § 28-3905
Complaint procedures.
(a) A case is begun by filing with the Department a complaint plainly describing a trade practice and stating the complainant's (and, if different, the consumer's) name and address, the name and address (if known) of the respondent, and such other information as the Director may require. The complaint must be in or reduced by the Director to writing. The filing of a complaint with the Department shall toll the periods for limitation of time for bringing an action as set out in section 12-301 until the complaint has been resolved through an administrative order, consent decree, or dismissal in accordance with this section or until an opportunity to arbitrate has been provided in Chapter 5 of Title 50.

(b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Director shall investigate each such complaint and determine:(A) What trade practice actually occurred; and

(B) Whether the trade practice which occurred violates any statute, regulation, rule of common law, or other law of the District of Columbia.(2) The Director may, in his or her discretion, decline to prosecute certain cases as necessary to manage the Department's caseload and control program costs.

(b-1) In carrying out an investigation and determination pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the Director shall consult the respondent and such other available sources of information, and make such other efforts, as are appropriate and necessary to carry out such duties.

(c) If at any time the Director finds that the trade practice complained of may, in whole or in part, be a violation of law other than a law of the District of Columbia or a law within the jurisdiction of the Department, the Director may in writing so inform the complainant, respondent and officials of the District, the United States, or other jurisdiction, who would properly enforce such law.

(d) The director shall determine that there are, or are not, reasonable grounds to believe that a trade practice, in violation of a law of the District of Columbia within the jurisdiction of the Department, has occurred in any part or all of the case. The Director may find that there are not such reasonable grounds for any of the following reasons:(1) any violation of law which may have occurred is of a law not of the District of Columbia or not within the jurisdiction of the Department, or occurred more than three years prior to the filing of the complaint;

(2) in case paragraph (1) of this subsection does not apply, no trade practice occurred in violation of any law of the District;

(3) the respondent cannot be identified or located, or would not be subject to the personal jurisdiction of a District of Columbia court;

(4) the complainant, to the Director's knowledge, no longer seeks redress in the case;

(5) the complainant and respondent, to the Director's knowledge, have themselves reached an agreement which settles the case; or

(6) the complainant can no longer be located.

(d-1) The Director may dismiss any part or all of a case to which one or more of the reasons stated in subsection (d) of this section apply. The Director shall inform all parties in writing of the determination, and, if any part or all of the case is dismissed, shall specify which of the reasons in this subsection applies to which part of the case, and such other detail as is necessary to explain the dismissal.

(e) The Director may attempt to settle, in accordance with subsection (h) of this section, each case for which reasonable grounds are found in accordance with subsection (d-1) of this section. After the Director's determination as to whether the complaint is within the Department's jurisdiction, in accordance with subsection (d-1) of this section, the Director shall:(1) effect a consent decree;

(2) dismiss the case in accordance with subsection (h)(2) of this section;

(3) through the Chief of the Office of Compliance present to the Office of Adjudication, with copies to all parties, a brief and plain statement of each trade practice that occurred in violation of District law, the law the trade practice violates, and the relief sought from the Office of Adjudication for violation; or

(4) notify all parties of another action taken, with the reasons therefor stated in detail and supported by fact. Reasons may include:(A) any reason listed in subsections (d)(1) through (d)(6) of this section; and

(B) that the presentation of a charge to the Office of Adjudication would not serve the purposes of this chapter.

(5) Repealed.

(f) When the case is transmitted to the Office of Adjudication, the Chief of the Office of Compliance shall sign, and serve the respondent, the Department's summons to answer or appear before the Office of Adjudication. Not less than 15 nor more than 90 days after such transmittal, the case shall be heard. The case shall proceed under section 10 of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act (section 2-509). The Office of Adjudication may, without delaying its hearing or decision, attempt to settle the case pursuant to subsection (h) of this section, and has discretion to permit any stipulation or consent decree the parties agree to. The Director shall be a party on behalf of the complainant. Applications to intervene shall be decided as may be proper or required by law or rule. Reasonable discovery shall be freely allowed. Any finding or decision may be modified or set aside, in whole or part, before a notice of appeal is filed in the case, or the time to so file has run out.

(g) If, after hearing the evidence, the Office of Adjudication decides a trade practice occurred in which the respondent violated a law of the District of Columbia within the jurisdiction of the Department, such Office of Adjudication shall issue an order which:(1) shall require the respondent to cease and desist from such conduct;

(2) shall, if such Office of Adjudication also decides that the consumer has been injured by the trade practice, order redress through contract damages, restitution for money, time, property or other value received from the consumer by the respondent, or through rescission, reformation, repair, replacement, or other just method;

(3) shall state the number of trade practices the respondent performed in violation of law;

(4) shall, absent good cause found by the Office of Adjudication, require the respondent to pay the Department its costs for investigation, negotiation, and hearing;

(5) may include such other findings, stipulations, conditions, directives, and remedies including punitive damages, treble damages, or reasonable attorney's fees, as are reasonable and necessary to identify, correct, or prevent the conduct which violated District law; and

(6) may be based, in whole or part, upon a violation of a law establishing or regulating a type of business, occupational or professional license or permit, and may refer the case for further proceedings to an appropriate board or commission, but may not suspend or revoke a license or permit if there is a board or commission which oversees the specific type of license or permit.

(h) (1) At any time after reasonable grounds are found in accordance with subsection (d) of this section, the respondent, the Department (represented by (i) the Director prior to transmittal to the Office of Adjudication and after an order issued pursuant to subsection (f) of this section has been appealed, and (ii) the Office of Adjudication after transmittal to the Office of Adjudication and prior to such appeal), and the complainant, may agree to settle all or part of the case by a written consent decree which may:

(A) include any provision described in subsection (g)(2) through (6) of this section;

(B) not contain an assertion that the respondent has violated a law;

(C) contain an assurance that the respondent will refrain from a trade practice;

(D) bar the Department from further action in the case, or a part thereof; or

(E) contain such other provisions or considerations as the parties agree to

(2) The representative of the Department shall administer the settlement proceedings, and may utilize the good offices of the Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection. All settlement proceedings shall be informal and include all interested parties and such representatives as the parties may choose to represent them. Such proceedings shall be private, and nothing said or done, except a consent decree, shall be made public by the Department, any party, or the Advisory Committee, unless the parties agree thereto in writing. The representative of the Department may call settlement conferences. For persistent and unreasonable failure by the complainant to attend such conferences or to take part in other settlement proceedings, the Director, prior to transmittal to the Office of Adjudication, may dismiss the case.

(3) A consent decree described in paragraph (1) of this subsection may be modified by agreement of the Department, complainant and respondent.

(i) (1) An aggrieved party may appeal to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals after:(A) the Office of Adjudication decides a case pursuant to subsection (f) of this section;

(B) all parts of a case have been dismissed by operation of subsection (d) or (e) of this section; or

(C) the Director dismisses an entire case in accordance with subsection (h)(2) of this section.(1A) Such appeals shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures and standards of section 11 of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act (section 2-510), and take into account the procedural duties placed upon the Department in this section and all actions taken by the Department in the case.

(2) An aggrieved party may appeal any ruling of the Office of Adjudication under subsection (j) of this section to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(3) (A) Any person found to have executed a trade practice in violation of a law of the District of Columbia within the jurisdiction of the Department:

(i) shall be liable to the Department for a civil penalty of not exceeding $ 1000.00 for each violation enumerated in an order pursuant to subsection (g)(3) of this section; and

(ii) may be assessed and made liable to the Department for a civil penalty of not exceeding $ 1000.00 for each violation or failure to adhere to a provision, of an order described in subsection (f), (g), or (j) of this section or a consent decree described in subsection (h) of this section.(B) The Department, the complainant, or the respondent may sue in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for a remedy, enforcement, or assessment or collection of a civil penalty, when any violation, or failure to adhere to a provision of a consent decree described in subsection (h) of this section, or an order described in subsection (f), (g), or (j) of this section, has occurred. The Department shall sue in that Court for assessment of a civil penalty when an order described in subsection (g) of this section has been issued and become final. A failure by the Department or any person to file suit or prosecute under this subparagraph in regard to any provision or violation of a provision of any consent decree or order, shall not constitute a waiver of such provision or any right under such provision. The Court shall levy the appropriate civil penalties, and may order, if supported by evidence, temporary, preliminary, or permanent injunctions, damages, treble damages, reasonable attorney's fees, consumer redress, or other remedy. The Court may set aside the final order if the Court determines that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs lacked jurisdiction over the respondent or that the complaint was frivolous. If, after considering an application to set aside an order of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the Court determines that the application was frivolous or that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs lacked jurisdiction, the Court shall award reasonable attorney's fees.

(C) Application to the Court to enforce an order shall be made at no cost to the District of Columbia or the complainant.

(4) The Corporation Counsel shall represent the Department in all proceedings described in this subsection.

(j) If, at any time before notice of appeal from a decision made according to subsection (f) of this section is filed or the time to so file has run out, the Director believes that legal action is necessary to preserve the subject matter of the case, to prevent further injury to any party, or to enable the Department ultimately to order a full and fair remedy in the case, the Chief of the Office of Compliance shall present the matter to the Office of Adjudication, which may issue a cease and desist order to take effect immediately, or grant such other relief as will assure a just adjudication of the case, in accordance with such beliefs of the Director which are substantiated by evidence. The Office of Adjudication's ruling may be appealed to court within 7 days of notice thereof on the Director, respondent, and complainant.

(k) (1) (A) A consumer may bring an action seeking relief from the use of a trade practice in violation of a law of the District.(B) An individual may, on behalf of that individual, or on behalf of both the individual and the general public, bring an action seeking relief from the use of a trade practice in violation of a law of the District when that trade practice involves consumer goods or services that the individual purchased or received in order to test or evaluate qualities pertaining to use for personal, household, or family purposes.

(C) A nonprofit organization may, on behalf of itself or any of its members, or on any such behalf and on behalf of the general public, bring an action seeking relief from the use of a trade practice in violation of a law of the District, including a violation involving consumer goods or services that the organization purchased or received in order to test or evaluate qualities pertaining to use for personal, household, or family purposes.

(D) (i) Subject to sub-subparagraph (ii) of this subparagraph, a public interest organization may, on behalf of the interests of a consumer or a class of consumers, bring an action seeking relief from the use by any person of a trade practice in violation of a law of the District if the consumer or class could bring an action under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph for relief from such use by such person of such trade practice.

(ii) An action brought under sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph shall be dismissed if the court determines that the public interest organization does not have sufficient nexus to the interests involved of the consumer or class to adequately represent those interests.(2) Any claim under this chapter shall be brought in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and may recover or obtain the following remedies:

(A) Treble damages, or $ 1,500 per violation, whichever is greater, payable to the consumer;

(B) Reasonable attorney's fees;

(C) Punitive damages;

(D) An injunction against the use of the unlawful trade practice;

(E) In representative actions, additional relief as may be necessary to restore to the consumer money or property, real or personal, which may have been acquired by means of the unlawful trade practice; or

(F) Any other relief which the court determines proper.

(3) Any written decision made pursuant to subsection (f) of this section is admissible as prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.

(4) If a merchant files in any court a suit seeking to collect a debt arising out of a trade practice from which has also arisen a complaint filed with the Department by the defendant in the suit either before or after the suit was filed, the court shall dismiss the suit without prejudice, or remand it to the Department.

(5) An action brought by a person under this subsection against a nonprofit organization shall not be based on membership in such organization, membership services, training or credentialing activities, sale of publications of the nonprofit organization, medical or legal malpractice, or any other transaction, interaction, or dispute not arising from the purchase or sale of consumer goods or services in the ordinary course of business.

(l) The Director and Office of Adjudication may use any power granted to the Department in section 28-3903, as each reasonably deems will aid in carrying out the functions assigned to each in this section. Each, while holding the primary responsibility of the Department for decision in a certain case, may join such case with others then before the Department. No case may be disposed of in a manner not expressly authorized in this section. Every complaint case filed with the Department and within its jurisdiction shall be decided in accordance with the procedures and sanctions of this section, notwithstanding that a given trade practice, at issue in the case, may be governed in whole or in part by another law which has different enforcement procedures and sanctions.

(m) (1) Whenever requested, the Department will make available to the complainant and respondent an explanation, and any other information helpful in understanding, the provisions of any consent decree to which the Department agrees, and any order or decision which the Department makes.

(2) The Director shall maintain a public index for all the cases on which the Department has made a final action or a consent decree, organized by:

(A) name of complainant;

(B) name of respondent;

(C) industry of the merchant involved;

(D) nature of the violation of District law alleged or found to exist (for example, subsection of section 28-3904 involved, or section of a licensing law involved);

(E) final disposition.

(n) There shall be established a Consumer Protection Education Fund ("Fund"). All monies awarded to or paid to the Department by operation of this section, including final judgements, consent decrees, or settlements reduced to final judgements, shall be paid into the Fund in order to further the purpose of this chapter as enumerated in § 28-3901.

(o) Every complaint case that is before the Department in accordance with this section shall proceed in confidence, except for hearings and meetings before the Office of Adjudication, until the Department makes a final action or a consent decree.

(p) The Director may file a complaint in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, on behalf of one or more consumers or as complainant, based on evidence and information gathered by the Department in carrying out this chapter. Persons not parties to but directly or indirectly intended as beneficiaries of an order described in subsection (f), (g), or (j) of this section, or a consent decree described in subsection (h) of this section, arising out of a complaint filed by the Director, may enforce such order or decree in the manner provided in subsection (i)(3)(B) of this section.

(q) At any hearing pursuant to subsection (f) or (j) of this section, a witness has the right to be advised by counsel present at such hearing. In any process under this section, the complainant and respondent may have legal or other counsel for representation and advice.

(r) All cases for which complaints were filed before March 5, 1981, may be presented to and heard by the Office of Adjudication notwithstanding the time limits previously provided in section 28-3905(d), 28-3905(e), and 28-3905(f) for the investigation and transmittal of cases to the Office of Adjudication, and for the hearing of cases by the Office of Adjudication..

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D.C. Code § 28-4101
Definitions.
For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) "Natural disaster" means the actual or imminent consequence of any disaster, catastrophe, or emergency, including fire, other than a fire caused by human error or arson, flood, earthquake, storm, or other serious act of nature, which threatens the health, safety, or welfare of persons or causes damage to property in the District of Columbia.

(2) "Normal average retail price" means:(A) In the case of services, not more than 10% more than the price at which similar services were sold or offered in the Washington Metropolitan Area during the 90-day period that preceded an emergency that resulted from a natural disaster, if an emergency is declared pursuant to § 28-4102(b); or

(B) In the case of merchandise, the price equal to the wholesale cost plus a retail mark-up that is the same percentage over wholesale cost as the retail mark-up for similar merchandise sold in the Washington Metropolitan Area during the 90-day period that immediately preceded an emergency that resulted from a natural disaster, if an emergency has been declared pursuant to § 28-4102(b).

(3) "Person" means a corporation, firm, agency, company, association, organization, partnership, society, joint stock company, or an individual.

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D.C. Code § 28-4102
Overcharging.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to charge more than the normal average retail price for any merchandise or service sold during an emergency that resulted from a natural disaster, if an emergency has been declared pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(b) (1) Within 48 hours of a natural disaster, the Mayor may declare, for not more than 30 calendar days, a state of emergency for the purposes of this act. The Mayor shall prepare an emergency declaration that shall include a description of the existence, nature, extent, and duration of the emergency.

(2) Upon the issuance of a declaration of an emergency or as soon as practicable given the nature of the emergency, the Mayor shall publish a copy of the emergency declaration in the District of Columbia Register and in 2 daily newspapers of general circulation.

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D.C. Code § 28-4103. Penalties
(a) (1) A person who violates § 28-4102(a) shall be subject to a fine of not more than $ 1,000.

(2) The Mayor may revoke, suspend, or limit the license, permit, or certificate of occupancy of a person who violates § 28-4102(a).

(b) A violation of § 28-4102(a) shall be a civil infraction for the purposes of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Civil Infractions Act of 1985, effective October 5, 1985 (D.C. Law 6-42; § 2-1801.01 et seq.) ("Civil Infractions Act"). Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as sanctions for any infraction, pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2. Adjudication of any infraction shall be pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2.