VERMONT

 

Title 9: Commerce and Trade

Chapter 63: Consumer Fraud

9 V.S.A. 2467. to 2470

 

2467. Definitions

These definitions are for use in this subchapter only:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2468. Warranty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2469. Loaners

A loaner must:

(1) Be in good working order;

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

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

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

 

2470. Remedies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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