This Act clarifies the Attorney General’s existing authority to enforce the State’s consumer protection laws, specifically the Attorney General’s ability to pursue non-penalty civil remedies, such as damages and restitution, without having to show that a person’s violation of a law or regulation enforced by the Department of Justice’s Division of Consumer Protection was wilful. This Act does not change the requirement that the Attorney General show that such a violation was wilful in order to obtain civil penalties from a court or hearing officer. Every other state that has a similar state of mind requirement in their consumer fraud law does not impose that state of mind requirement for non-penalty civil remedies. By harmonizing the language in the Consumer Fraud Act (Subchapter II, Chapter 25, Title 6 of the Code) and the Division of Consumer Protection’s enabling statute (Subchapter II, Chapter 25, Title 29 of the Code), this Act clarifies that Delaware is line with the other states.
This Act also strikes outdated language in the Consumer Fraud Act requiring cases to be filed in specific counties, as the Superior Court and the Court of Chancery have both eliminated their historical county filing requirement.
Additionally, this Act fixes inconsistencies with the Summary Cease and Desist Order process, by clarifying that an alleged violator must request a hearing in order to trigger the Division of Consumer Protection’s obligation to hold a hearing. This Act further clarifies the Summary Cease and Desist Order process, such as by making explicit the alleged violator’s right to postpone a hearing and final order, changing the various 10 day requirements to 15 business days, and removing the requirement for a complaint to accompany the original summary cease and desist order.

Statutes affected:
Original Text: 6.2522, 29.2522, 29.2524, 29.2525