The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 9: Commerce and Trade

Chapter 59: MOTOR VEHICLE RETAIL INSTALLMENT SALES FINANCING

9 V.S.A. § 2361. Penalties



§ 2361. Penalties

(a) In case of failure of any person to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter, such person or any person who acquires a contract or installment account with knowledge of such noncompliance is barred from recovery of any finance charge or of any delinquency, collection, deferral, or refinance charge imposed in connection with such contract or installment account and the buyer shall have the right to recover from such person an amount equal to any of such charges paid by the buyer with interest thereon from the time of payment and all expenses of collection including a reasonable attorney's fee, in a civil action on this statute.

(b) In any case in which a person willfully violates any provision of this chapter, except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the buyer may recover from such person an amount equal to two times the total of the estimated finance charges and any delinquency, collection, extension, deferral or refinance charges imposed, contracted for, or received, and the seller shall be barred from the recovery of any such charges. The buyer shall also recover reasonable attorney's fees as determined by the court.

(c) A person shall not knowingly or willfully make any retail installment contract under this chapter which directly or indirectly calls for the payment of any finance charges in excess of the legal rate as set forth in this chapter. A contract violating this section shall be unenforceable and a person shall have no right to collect any principal, finance or other charges.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any failure to comply with any provision of the chapter may be corrected by the holder in accordance with the provisions of this section, provided that a willful violation may not be corrected, and a correction which will increase the amount owed by the owner or the amount of any payment shall not be effective unless the buyer concurs in writing to the correction. If a violation is corrected by the holder in accordance with the provisions of this section, neither the seller nor the holder shall be subject to any penalty under this section. The correction shall be made by delivering to the buyer a corrected copy of the contract within 60 days of the execution of the original contract by the buyer. Any amount improperly collected from the buyer shall be credited against the indebtedness evidenced by the contract.

(e) Any person who shall willfully and intentionally violate any provisions of this chapter shall be fined not more than $100.00 for the first offense. Upon conviction for violating this section in any transaction entered into or consummated after a first conviction hereunder, the offender shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. (1961, No. 227, § 11, eff. Jan. 1, 1962; amended 1973, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1989, No. 122, § 11, eff. June 30, 1989.)