Title 9: Commerce and Trade
Chapter 4: INTEREST
Sub-Chapter 1: Interest Generally
9 V.S.A. § 41c Rent-to-own; assistive devices
§ 41c. Rent-to-own; assistive devices
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Assistive device" means any 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. This term includes:
(A) wheelchairs and scooters of any kind, and other aids that enhance the mobility or positioning of an individual, such as motorization, motorized positioning features, and the switches and controls for any motorized features;
(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;
(C) computer equipment and reading devices with voice output, optical scanners, talking software, braille printers, and other aids and devices that provide access to text;
(D) hearing aids, telephone communication devices for people who are deaf, and other assistive listening devices;
(E) voice recognition computer equipment, software and hardware accommodations, switches, and other forms of alternative access to computers;
(F) environmental control units;
(G) simple mechanical aids that enhance the functional capabilities of an individual with disabilities; and
(H) durable medical equipment.
(2) "Assistive devise lessee" means an individual with a disability or a person renting or leasing on behalf of an individual with a disability who is renting or leasing an assistive device for the purpose of increasing, maintaining, or improving any functional capability related to the individual's disability.
(b) A person in the business of renting, or renting to own an assistive device to assistive device lessees, who rents an assistive device for more than 60 days or who rents an assistive device to own shall offer such assistive device lessees a purchase option with reasonable terms and conditions. Such a purchase option may be exercised at any time by the assistive device lessees, the reasonable terms and conditions of which shall be included with the consumer's periodic billing.
(1) A person in the business of renting products that may be assistive devices may include the following question in its rental application:
ARE YOU RENTING THIS PRODUCT AS AN ACCOMMODATION FOR A DISABILITY OR AS AN ASSISTIVE DEVICE?
YES ________ NO ________
(A) If an assistive device lessee answers "yes" to the question or requests additional information, the business entity shall provide the following statement:
ASSISTIVE DEVICE PURCHASE OPTION RIGHTS
IF YOU ARE RENTING THIS PRODUCT AS AN ACCOMMODATION FOR A DISABILITY OR AS AN ASSISTIVE DEVICE, THE DEALER IS REQUIRED TO OFFER YOU A RENTAL TRANSACTION THAT INCLUDES A PURCHASE OPTION. UNDER THE PURCHASE OPTION YOU MAY ACQUIRE OWNERSHIP OF THE PRODUCT AT ANYTIME BY TENDERING AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE CASH PRICE OF THE PRODUCT LESS 50% OF ALL PREVIOUS RENTAL PAYMENTS YOU HAVE MADE. OR, ONCE YOU HAVE MADE RENTAL PAYMENTS EQUAL TO 200% OF THE CASH PRICE YOU MAY ACQUIRE OWNERSHIP OF THE PRODUCT BY PAYING $1.00.
BEFORE YOU DETERMINE WHETHER TO ELECT A TRANSACTION WITH OR WITHOUT A PURCHASE OPTION, THE PERSON IN THE BUSINESS OF RENTING OR RENTING TO OWN THE ASSISTIVE DEVICE MUST FULLY DISCLOSE THE TERMS OF BOTH TRANSACTIONS.
THE VALUE OF A PURCHASE OPTION DEPENDS ON MANY FACTORS, WHICH MAY INCLUDE: (1) HOW LONG YOU INTEND TO USE THE PRODUCT; (2) THE CASH PRICE OF THE PRODUCT; AND (3) THE COST OF MAINTAINING THE PRODUCT.
ASSISTIVE DEVICE PURCHASE OPTION RIGHTS: IF YOU ELECT A RENTAL TRANSACTION WITHOUT A PURCHASE OPTION AND YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND AT A LATER DATE AND DECIDE TO ENTER INTO A PURCHASE OPTION TRANSACTION, PAYMENTS THAT YOU HAVE MADE WILL NOT BE APPLIED TO THE NEW TRANSACTIONS.
(B) The rental dealer may add additional information or explanations to the information required by subdivision (A) of this subsection, as long as the additional information is not stated, utilized, or placed in a manner that will confuse the assistive device lessee or that will contradict, obscure, or distract attention from the required information. The additional information or explanation shall not have the effect of circumventing, evading, or complicating the information required by subdivision (A) of this subsection.
(2) Failure to comply with this section is not a violation if the assistive device lessee fails to inform the rental dealer that the product is being rented as an assistive device after the rental dealer makes the written inquiry in subdivision (b)(1) of this section.
(c)(1) When periodic payments made by an assistive device lessee, exclusive of payments for service, total 200 percent of the bona fide cash price, the person in the business of renting or renting to own the assistive device shall notify the individual with a disability and the assistive device lessee that the individual with a disability and the assistive device lessee have the option of acquiring ownership of the assistive device upon payment of $1.00, at which time the rental or rent-to-own agreement shall terminate.
(2) The term "bona fide cash price" means the price at which a merchant, in the ordinary course of business, and taking into account the value of the merchandise and its retail price in the trade area, would offer to sell the merchandise to consumers for cash.
(d) Under a rent-to-own program, at any time after the initial payment, the assistive device lessee may acquire ownership of the property by tendering an amount equal to the cash price of the merchandise minus 50 percent of all previous rental-purchase payments made.
(e) When an assistive device lessee has acquired ownership of an assistive device under this section, the person in the business of renting or renting to own shall offer, for a reasonable price and term, a contract to maintain and service the device.
(f) This section shall not apply to assistive devices provided pursuant to a Medicare or Medicaid contract that either includes provisions for the acquisition of ownership or prohibits purchase or the acquisition of ownership by an assistive device lessee.
(g) A violation of this section is deemed to be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce and a violation of chapter 63 of this title and all remedies and penalties available to a consumer or the Attorney General under that chapter shall apply, and the Attorney General shall have the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and enter into assurances of discontinuance as provided under subchapter 1 of chapter 63 of this title. (Added 1999, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.)