Rep. Brady & Sen. Walsh

Reps. Baumbach, Bolden, Cooke, Kowalko, Lambert, Morrison, Osienski, K. Williams, Wilson-Anton; Sens. Gay, Hansen, Lockman, S. McBride






Section 1. Amend Title 6 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

CHAPTER 25G. Consumer Equal Access Protection Act.

§ 2501G. Purpose.

It is the policy of this State to promote equal consumer access to goods or services at retail stores and to prevent discrimination against lower income and immigrant consumers based on limited access to credit or banking services. Retail stores that do not accept cash as payment for goods or services discriminate against consumers who must pay with cash. By prohibiting cashless retail sales, Delaware will prevent retail stores from discriminating against these consumers.

The State further finds that growth of cashless retail sales will lead to the elimination of numerous jobs the duties of which include checking out consumers. Protection of these jobs will further protect consumers who pay with cash. It will also support the growth of Delaware’s economy and job market. By prohibiting cashless retail, the State will protect jobs and promote job growth in the future.

§ 2502G. Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter:

(a) “Cash” means currency of the United States.

(b) “Consumer” means an individual who purchases consumer goods or services.

(c) “Consumer goods and services” means any product, merchandise, food, or service retail stores offer for sale or lease, but does not include goods and services provided by an electric or natural gas public utility.

(d) “Retail store” means an establishment where consumer goods or services are offered for sale or lease through an in-person transaction. The term does not include any of the following:

( 1) Telephone, mail or internet transactions.

( 2) Parking lots and parking garages.

(e) “Company” means the entity that owns or operates a retail store.

§ 2503G. Protecting consumers who pay with cash.

(a) It shall be an unlawful practice for a retail store to refuse to accept cash from any consumer as payment for consumer goods or services.

(b) No retail store shall discriminate against a consumer paying with cash by treating that consumer differently in any manner from a consumer paying by a non-cash method, including any of the following:

(1) Charging a higher price to consumers who pay with cash, but it may charge less to consumers who pay with cash.

(2) Requiring consumers paying with cash to use automated machines that convert cash into prepaid cards.

(3) Having fewer checkout locations for consumers paying with cash than for consumers paying using non-cash methods.

§ 2504G. Enforcement and Penalties.

(a) A violation of this section shall be an unlawful practice under § 2513 of this title and a violation of Subchapter II of Chapter 25 of this title.

(b) The Division of Consumer Protection is authorized to interpret, implement, and enforce this chapter, including to issue regulations. Any regulations the Division of Consumer Protection promulgates shall have the force and effect of law and may be relied on to determine rights and responsibilities under this chapter.

(c) A company whose retail store violates this chapter is liable for civil penalties in amounts adjusted for the number of violations and its annual gross sales.

(1) For a first violation, a company is liable for civil penalties up to $1,000.

(2) For a second violation, a company is liable for civil penalties up to $1,500.

(3) For third and subsequent violations, a company is liable for civil penalties up to $2,500.

§ 2505G. Private Right of Action.

(a) In addition to the authority vested in the Division of Consumer Protection to enforce the provisions of this chapter under Title 29, § 2520 of the Delaware Code, a consumer who is denied the opportunity to pay in cash is entitled to bring an action in a court of appropriate jurisdiction against the company for the following:

(1) All damages, including consequential damages, caused by a company’s second or subsequent violation.

(2) Subsequent violations entitle an aggrieved consumer to damages as follows:

a. A second violation, double the damages caused by the violation.

b. A third or subsequent violation, triple the damages caused by the violation.

(b) A prevailing consumer shall be entitled to all expenses incurred in pursuing the action, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses.

(c) Private rights of action claims must be filed no later than three years after the violation.

§ 2506G. Miscellaneous.

This chapter shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purpose. If a court declares any provision or application of this chapter to be illegal, the remaining provisions shall remain in effect. Courts are hereby authorized to reform the provisions of this chapter in order to preserve its maximum lawful effect.

§ 2507G. Effective Date.

This Act takes effect upon promulgation of regulations adopted under this chapter, or 6 months following enactment, whichever occurs first.


This Act prohibits the seller of consumer goods or services from refusing to accept cash payment, except in limited circumstances. Sales covered by this Act are those made at a retail store through an in-person transaction. The Act does not apply to sales of goods or services by electric or gas utilities, telephone, mail or internet sales, or for services provided at parking lots or garages. It creates graduated civil penalties for violations and provides consumers a private right of action to recover double damages, including consequential damages, for a second violation of the law and triple damages for subsequent violations. The Division of Consumer Protection has authority to enforce the law.