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Delaware Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“Act”) governs the deceptive trade practices laws in Delaware.  The Act is stated under Subtitle II of Title 6 in Delaware Code.  Under 6 Del. C. § 2532, false advertising is a deceptive trade practice.  Under 21 Del. C. § 6404 tampering a vehicle’s odometer to show lesser miles in the meter is a forbidden act.

Under 6 Del. C. § 2522, the Attorney General has the power to bring an action against a person found involved in unlawful trade practices.  Under § 2525, a private person who is a victim according to the Act can bring an action, if the Attorney General has not initiated any action.

Under § 26 Del. C. § 2503 certain types of violations are fined with $100.  Under § 2522 an amount not more than $10,000 is recoverable per violation, if it is found that the person has willfully violated the Act.  Under § 2523, whenever found necessary courts may issue temporary restraining order or injunction against the violator.  Under § 2524, actual damages are granted to the victim.  Additionally, under § 2533 treble damages are awarded to the victim, and in exceptional cases courts grant attorney fees.

6 Del. C. § 2532 reads:

Ҥ 2532. Deceptive trade practices
   (a) A person engages in a deceptive trade practice when, in the course of a business, vocation, or occupation, that person:
   (1) Passes off goods or services as those of another;
   (2) Causes likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services;
   (3) Causes likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to affiliation, connection, or association with, or certification by, another;
   (4) Uses deceptive representations or designations of geographic origin in connection with goods or services;
   (5) Represents that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have, or that a person has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection that the person does not have;
   (6) Represents that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or secondhand;
   (7) Represents that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, if they are of another;
   (8) Disparages the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading representation of fact;
   (9) Advertises goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised;
   (10) Advertises goods or services with intent not to supply reasonably expectable public demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity;
   (11) Makes false or misleading statements of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of, price reductions; or
   (12) Engages in any other conduct which similarly creates a likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding.
(b) In order to prevail in an action under this chapter, a complainant need not prove competition between the parties or actual confusion or misunderstanding.
(c) This section does not affect unfair trade practices otherwise actionable at common law or under other statutes of this State.”

6 Del. C. § 2522 reads in part:

Ҥ 2522. Proceedings brought by the Attorney General
   (a) Whenever it appears to the Attorney General that a person has engaged in, is engaging in or is about to engage in any practice declared by this subchapter to be unlawful, the Attorney General may institute an action in accordance with § 2517(c)(2) of Title 29 in order to enjoin such practices or any acts being done in furtherance thereof. The complaint shall state the nature of the conduct constituting a violation of this subchapter and the relief sought thereunder. Such action shall be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in the county in which the alleged unlawful practice has been, is, or is about to be performed.”
6 Del. C. § 2525 reads:

Ҥ 2525. Private cause of action; savings clause for private claims against persons who acquired property by unlawful practices
   (a) A private cause of action shall be available to any victim of a violation of this subchapter. Such cause of action may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction in this State without prior action by the Attorney General as provided for in this subchapter.
(b) Subject to an order of the Court terminating the business affairs of any person after receivership proceedings held pursuant to this subchapter, the provisions of this subchapter shall not bar any claim against any person who has acquired any money or property, real or personal, by means of any acts or practices declared by this subchapter to be unlawful.”

§ 26 Del. C. § 2503 reads:
“503. Penalties; presumption of intent to deceive
   Whoever violates §§ 2501 or 2502 of this title shall be fined $ 100. Upon the trial of any person for such violation, the intent to deceive the general buying public shall be presumed where proof is made of a public and false advertisement or representation.”

Inside Delaware Deceptive Trade Practices Laws