Thursday, December 21, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Releases Report on the Ways Neighborhoods Influence Residents' Financial Health
The Report Defines Neighborhood Financial Health and Offers a Set of Goals and Indicators for a Financially Healthy Neighborhood
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today released the “How Neighborhoods Help New Yorkers Get Ahead” report, which defines and creates a framework for understanding and addressing how neighborhoods influence the financial health of individual residents. Over the past year, with the support of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Citi Foundation, DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) has undertaken the Collaborative for Neighborhood Financial Health project to engage with New Yorkers at the community level to understand what factors influence a neighborhood’s financial health. OFE engaged hundreds of East Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood residents and stakeholders in interviews, focus groups, and interactive community workshops to learn more about neighborhood conditions and the ways those conditions support or limit individual financial health. Using this feedback, DCA created a definition of neighborhood financial health, goals for what makes a financially healthy neighborhood, and a set of practices and tools for working with communities to understand and improve their neighborhood’s financial health. OFE plans to use the information to develop strategies, programs, and interventions that could improve financial health outcomes for all New York City communities and their residents.
Friday, December 15, 2017
New Yorkers' Student Loan Outcomes Vary Widely by Neighborhood with the Greatest Delinquency and Default Rates in Areas with Relatively Low Loan Balances
Department of Consumer Affairs and New York Fed Release First Neighborhood-Level Report on Student Debt; DCA to Launch Student Loan Clinics in Targeted Neighborhoods to Aid New Yorkers
NEW YORK, NY—The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York today announced the findings of Student Loan Borrowing Across NYC Neighborhoods (the Report), the first neighborhood-level examination of student loan outcomes. The Report’s findings show that although New Yorkers’ delinquency and default rates are slightly lower than the national average, certain NYC neighborhoods are experiencing significantly higher rates of delinquency and default despite the fact that their residents have low average loan balances. These higher levels of student debt delinquency and default also tended to be among older borrowers and those in lower- income neighborhoods. In January, OFE will launch student loan clinics in targeted neighborhoods to offer resources for New Yorkers concerned about their student debt.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Settles Charges with Luxury Bedding Company Brooklinen for Deceptive "SUBWAY" Promo Code with $25,000 Fine
NEW YORK, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced a settlement agreement with NYC-based luxury bedding company Brooklinen for violations of the City’s Consumer Protection Law, including misleading subway advertisements that failed to disclose a minimum purchase requirement to use a promotional code. Brooklinen, which has reported to have generated more than $50 million in sales since 2014, has been advertising a “SUBWAY” promotional code on New York City subway cars and subway station walls offering $20 off a purchase plus free shipping, without disclosing any restrictions or limitations. In the course of its investigation, DCA discovered that when a consumer attempts to use the “SUBWAY” code on Brooklinen’s website, an error message is displayed stating that the consumer must meet the $100 minimum required for the code to work. The failure to disclose this limitation in their advertisements is a clear violation of the Consumer Protection Law.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Secures More Than $300,000 from Financing Companies for 50 Victims of Predatory Lending at Brooklyn Used Car Dealerships
Victims of USA1 Auto Sales, Lenden Used Car Sales, D&A Guaranteed Auto Sales, and Linden Used Cars’ Predatory Lending Are Encouraged to File Complaints Before March 11, 2018 to be Included in the Settlements and Potentially Receive Restitutions
NEW YORK, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced settlement agreements with three financing companies—Credit Acceptance Corp., Clover Commercial Corp, and Westlake Financial Services—that financed subprime auto loans as high as 24.9 percent through a group of Brooklyn used car dealerships; in total, DCA secured $311,260.57 in restitution for 50 consumers. In May 2017, DCA charged the dealerships—USA1 Auto Sales, Inc., Lenden Used Car Sales, Inc., D&A Guaranteed Auto Sales, Inc., and Linden Used Cars, Inc.—and their owners, with deceptive and unlawful trade practices, including misleading consumers about the price of automobiles, concealing and misrepresenting the terms of sale and financing, and failing to inspect the automobiles. DCA encourages all consumers who were harmed by these dealerships to file a complaint before March 11, 2018 so that they can potentially be included in the settlements and receive restitution.
Monday, November 27, 2017
City's Fair Workweek Laws Are Now in Effect and Give Workers in Fast Food and Retail the Right to Predictable Schedules and Paychecks
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Labor Policy and Standards (OLPS) to Focus on Education for Both Workers and Employers with Launch of Resources and a Series of Education Days and Trainings
PHOTO OP: On Tuesday, November 28 from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. (rain or shine), DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas will be available for interviews before our Brooklyn Business Education Day, which starts at 395 Flatbush Avenue at the intersection of Flatbush and Fulton
New York—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that NYC’s Fair Workweek and Fast Food Deductions laws are in effect as of yesterday, November 26, 2017. These new laws end unfair and inconsistent scheduling practices in the fast food and retail industry and ensure workers are able to make direct contributions to nonprofit organizations of their choice through their employer. These laws apply to all covered employees–regardless of immigration status. DCA will be focusing on education first to ensure that workers and employers are aware of the new requirements. The first in a series of business education days will take place tomorrow, November 28, 2017, in Brooklyn and DCA will conduct business walks in all five boroughs before the end of the year. OLPS will also conduct additional trainings about the laws. The required notices (Predictable Schedule: Fast Food, Predictable Schedule: Retail, Deductions: Fast Food), overviews of the laws (Fair Workweek: Fast Food, Fair Workweek: Retail, Deductions), FAQs, and complaint forms (Fair Workweek: Fast Food, Fair Workweek: Retail, Deductions) are now available at nyc.gov/dca. Materials will soon be available in additional languages. The Rules to implement these Laws were sent to the City Record for publication today and will be effective once they are published, which is expected to be tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Mayor Announces Changes to Laundry License Application Requirements
Responding to industry concerns, the City streamlines licensing requirements to comply with new law
New York—Mayor de Blasio announced changes to the City’s laundry licensing requirements today in response to industry concerns. DCA is changing its application requirements so businesses can apply for new laundry licenses without providing a physical copy of a Certificate of Occupancy. As required by the Administrative Code, businesses must certify compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and rules, including those from other City agencies, as part of the application process. DCA will also be issuing six-month temporary licenses to businesses with circumstances that prevent them from certifying compliance; if at the end of the six months these businesses are not able to certify compliance, DCA will revisit the situation and, if warranted, issue an extension.
Friday, November 17, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Issues Holiday Shopping Tips
New York—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today issued the following Holiday Shopping Tips to protect consumers’ identity and money during the holiday season. This annual effort is set to kick off the holiday shopping season and make consumers aware of their rights – including gift card protections, help them spend wisely, and protect them from scams.
Monday, November 13, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Launches Online Scheduling Service for Free Financial Counseling
New Yorkers Can Now Book Appointments Directly Online for Free One-on-One Financial Counseling
New York—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the launch of online scheduling for the NYC Financial Empowerment Centers, which provide free, one-on-one financial counseling. DCA’s Financial Empowerment Centers are located in all five boroughs with more than 20 centers and professional counselors that speak multiple languages. New Yorkers can visit DCA’s website to find one near them and to schedule a free and confidential appointment with a counselor to help tackle debt, save for the future, open a bank account, improve credit, and much more.
Monday, November 6, 2017
Paid Safe Leave: New York City Expands Paid Leave to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Trafficking Survivors
New York—Mayor de Blasio today signed Intro. 1313-A that expands paid leave to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking survivors. This new law will allow the nearly 3 million New Yorkers eligible for paid leave to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty or loss of income. The bill was introduced by the Mayor, First Lady McCray and Council Member Julissa Ferraras-Copeland in October 2016.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
New York City Becomes First in Nation to Enforce Salary History Ban
In major step toward achieving pay equity for women and people of color, NYC employers will no longer be allowed to inquire about an applicant’s salary history before extending an offer of employment
New York—New York City today became the first municipality in the nation to enforce a law prohibiting all employers in New York City from inquiring about job seekers’ salary history during the hiring process, including on job applications and in interviews. By removing questions about an applicant’s previous earnings, the law allows applicants who have been systemically underpaid, particularly women and people of color, to negotiate a salary based on their qualifications and earning potential rather than being measured by their previous salary. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill into law in May. First Lady Chirlane McCray, Public Advocate Letitia James, Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis and other key NYC leaders held a rally today at City Hall to celebrate the law going into effect.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
New Jobs Plus Center Creates Career Opportunities and Financial Stability for Public Housing Residents
Located at Penn-Wortman Houses, the Jobs Plus Center is the first federally funded site in New York City.
The Jobs Plus center will serve hundreds of public housing residents, offering career and financial opportunities.
New York, NY—Today, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator (HUD) Lynne Patton hosted a ribbon cutting to open the first New York City HUD funded Jobs Plus center. The new center will serve residents who live at NYCHA’s Pennsylvania Avenue-Wortman Avenue Houses.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Used but No Longer Abused: Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs New Legislation to Combat Predatory Sales and Financing Practices in the Used Car Industry
New York, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today joined Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall as he signed Introduction 1539 and 1540 to combat predatory practices in the used car industry. These new laws require used car dealerships, which DCA licenses, to post a Consumer Bill of Rights and disclose information about financing and pricing, provide all required notices to the consumer be in the language used to negotiate the contract, and provide consumers with the option to cancel their contract within two days of the sale. This package of legislation was introduced by Council Member Rafael Espinal, Jr., Chair of the Council Committee on Consumer Affairs, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and Council Member Jumaane D. Williams following a public hearing hosted by Commissioner Salas and Council Member Espinal.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Better Promote Construction Site Safety, Clean Air and Government Efficiency
New York, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for, and signed, twelve pieces of legislation into law. Intro. 139-C adds non-tobacco shisha to the City’s Smoke-Free Air Act; Intro. 1075-A requires hookah bars to post signage warning of the dangers of hookah smoking; Intro. 1076-A raises the minimum age for purchasing shisha; Intro.1031-A requires DOT to study specific traffic congestion; Intro. 1292-A requires all city agencies, to accept electronic invoices; Intro. 1375-A requires DOT to notify certain stakeholders when it issues a permit to open any street or intersection that has been reconstructed or resurfaced within the previous 5 years; Intro. 1539-A establishes additional rights and protections for customers who are purchasing second-hand automobiles; Intro. 1540-A requires second-hand automobile dealers to display and provide consumers with a bill of rights; Intro. 934-A, which creates a real-time enforcement unit within DOB; Intro. 1359-A requires HPD to audit buildings receiving tax-exemptions to ensure compliance with affordability requirements; and Intro. 1366-A requires HPD to audit certain buildings receiving tax-emptions to ensure compliance with rent-registration requirements. Intro. 1447-C, which increases safety training requirements for construction workers.
Friday, September 29, 2017
City Hall in Your Borough: Department of Consumer Affairs Temporarily Closes Four Manhattan Stores for Illegally Selling Tobacco Products
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the temporary closing of four Manhattan businesses – 602 Washington Heights Deli Corp (602 West 180th Street), Brooklyn Deli & Cigar King Corp (288 8th Avenue), Inwood Convenience Store Inc. (630 West 207th Street), and Sham’s Grocery Corp (132 East 125th Street), – for illegally selling tobacco products. After repeated violations of the law in the last year, including selling tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21, selling flavored tobacco products, selling loosies, selling under the price floor, and selling without a DCA license, these businesses will be closed for five days. This tobacco enforcement announcement is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to reduce the number of smokers in New York City by 160,000 over the next three years and his commitment to aggressively enforce the laws related to the sale of tobacco. The announcement was made as part of City Hall in Your Borough: Manhattan.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Departments of Housing Preservation and Development and Consumer Affairs Announce Renewal of "Ready to Rent" Program
City Program Receives New Round of City Council Funding After Demonstrated Success in Helping New Yorkers Apply to Affordable Housing Lotteries
New York, NY—New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas announce the renewal of “Ready to Rent,” a program providing New Yorkers free one-on-one financial counseling and assistance with affordable housing applications. The City Council-funded Ready to Rent: Financial Counseling for Affordable Housing program was created from an earlier pilot program conducted by HPD and DCA with the support of Citi Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Department of Consumer of Affairs and Credit Acceptance Agree on Restitution for Consumers Who Fell Victim to Predatory Financial Practices within the Used Car Industry
New York, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced a settlement agreement with Credit Acceptance Corp. The financing company has agreed to issue restitution to consumers affected by the predatory sales practices of several Brooklyn used car dealerships – USA 1 Auto Sales, Inc., Lenden Used Car Sales, Inc., D&A Guaranteed Auto Sales, Inc., and Linden Used Cars, Inc.– that DCA charged with deceptive and unlawful trade practices. DCA alleges that these dealerships concealed and misrepresented the terms of sale and financing, including the actual sale price, even refusing to give consumers copies of their sales documents until weeks after the sale so they can conceal the price and high interest rates from consumers. These dealerships used three finance companies—Credit Acceptance Corp., Clover Commercial Corp, and Westlake Financial Services—to complete these predacious sales. Credit Acceptance has agreed to pay restitution to the victims of these illegal practices as requested by DCA.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Department of Consumer of Affairs' Office of Labor Policy & Standards Releases Report and Survey Results on the State of Workers' Rights in New York City
The Report Highlights the Many Challenges Facing Today’s Workforce and Reviews City’s Innovative Policy & Enforcement Approaches to Help NYC Workers Realize a New Generation of Workplace Protections
New York, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the release of a report by its Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) titled “The State of Workers’ Rights in New York City,” which details emerging gaps in labor protections and offers policy solutions to these growing concerns. Accompanying the report is: “Working in NYC: Results from the 2017 Empire State Poll,” a joint collaboration between OLPS and the Worker Institute at Cornell's ILR School to survey New Yorkers on a range of issues related to inequality, working conditions, and the role of city and local government in protecting immigrants and defending worker rights. Together, these materials provide critical insight into the growing need for OLPS to develop innovative policies that raise job standards and expand its educational resources to workers and employers alike.
Friday, September 8, 2017
City Holds Day of Action to Bring Information and Resources to NYC's 30,000 Dreamers
More than 200 volunteers fanned out across 31 neighborhoods to bring New Yorkers timely information on DACA and free legal help
New York, NY—Today, the City hosted a Day of Action on the DACA program, providing information and resources for New York City’s 30,000 Dreamers. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the NYC Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit worked alongside over 200 volunteers in 31 neighborhoods with high-density immigrant populations. Volunteers were joined by Bitta Mostofi, Acting Commissioner of MOIA, Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of CCHR, and Council Member Carlos Menchaca to assist in flyering in all five boroughs.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
City Wins Legal Battle to Make Car Wash Industry More Fair for Consumers & Workers
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the City‘s victory in the legal battle to license and regulate the car wash industry. Following a successful court ruling, the Car Wash Accountability Law, which provides DCA licensing and regulatory authority over the industry will go into effect when the judgment is entered. The ruling provides the City with another tool to protect consumers and ensure a safe marketplace for all New Yorkers. The bill, Intro. 125-B, sponsored by Speaker Mark-Viverito, was signed into law by the Mayor on June 29, 2015. The bill was originally heard in the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, chaired by Council Member I. Daneek Miller.
Monday, August 28, 2017
Mayor de Blasio Signs Sweeping Legislation to Curb Smoking, Tobacco Usage
New laws will help reduce number of smokers in NYC by 160,000 by 2020
New York, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed a series of bills to help reduce the number of smokers in New York City by 160,000 by 2020. While smoking rates in New York City have declined from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.3 percent in 2015, the city still has more than 900,000 smokers. These new bills will help decrease the smoking prevalence to a historically low rate of 12 percent by 2020.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Department of Consumer of Affairs Puts Home Healthcare Industry on Alert with Paid Sick Leave Investigations
City Urges Workers Who Have Been Denied Paid Sick Leave to Come Forward
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that its Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) has launched investigations into nearly 40 home healthcare agencies across the city that represent upwards of 33,000 workers.
Friday, July 21, 2017
City Hall in Your Borough: Department of Consumer of Affairs Finds New York City Airport Scales Accurate
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the results of the Department’s enforcement sweep of every airline luggage scale used at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in Queens to protect travelers from luggage overcharges. DCA inspected 754 scales at the two airports and found 98 percent were accurate.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
City Hall in Your Borough: Department of Consumer of Affairs Announces Half of All Licensed Used Car Dealerships Receive at Least One Violation in Enforcement Sweep
New York, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the results of an enforcement sweep of all licensed secondhand auto dealers, half of which received a violation. Over the past year, DCA conducted inspections of all licensed secondhand auto dealers and issued more than 750 violations. Nearly one in five dealerships received a violation for failing to properly display prices for automobiles and add-on products such as warranties and service agreements. Licensed dealerships were also frequently charged with parking vehicles on the public sidewalk, failing to properly disclose the dealership’s duty to certify the safe condition of every car, and failing to properly display warranty information on the vehicle buyer’s guide. With a total of 275 used car dealerships, Queens is home to the largest concentration of licensed used car dealerships in the city. Since 2016, nearly half of all complaints received about this industry have been about Queens based dealerships. This enforcement sweep comes as a result of DCA’s continued efforts to combat predatory practices in the used car industry.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
City Hall in Your Borough: Department of Consumer of Affairs Announces VIP—the Visiting Inspector Program—to Help New Licensees Understand the Law and Avoid Fines
Thousands of New Brick-and-Mortar Businesses to Receive Free Educational Inspections to Learn about DCA Laws and How to Avoid Violations
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced VIP, or the Visiting Inspector Program, which will provide new brick-and-mortar DCA licensees with a free, educational inspection so they can better understand the DCA laws that apply to their business and how to avoid fines. More than 3,500 businesses each year—from electronic stores and cigarette retail dealers to employment agencies and sidewalk cafes—that receive a new license in dozens of industries licensed by DCA will now be able to schedule an educational inspection within three months of receiving their license. The program was announced at one of the City's small business walks in Jamaica during Mayor de Blasio’s City Hall in Your Borough.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
CHIYB: Mayor Announces New Storefront Upgrades for Jamaica & New No-Fine Inspection Program for Small Businesses
DCA’s new Visiting Inspector Program will provide 3,500 new businesses with free no-fine inspections to learn about the law without penalties; Jamaica Now Action Plan takes hold with SBS $500,000 storefront improvement program
NEW YORK—As part of City Hall in Your Borough, Mayor de Blasio today announced two new initiatives to help small businesses increase foot traffic and avoid costly fines during a tour of businesses in Jamaica, Queens. Joined by Borough President Melinda Katz, the Mayor announced the launch of a new storefront improvement program that will provide $20,000 grants to dozens of businesses in Jamaica to upgrade signs and window displays, part of the ongoing $153 million Jamaica NOW Action Plan of 26 strategic action items. The Mayor also unveiled DCA’s new Visiting Inspector Program, or VIP, which will offer each of the agency’s 3,500 new brick and mortar licensees each year with a free educational inspection that will help them get into compliance with City laws without incurring any penalties. Small business fines are down 40 percent since the Mayor took office, putting more than $6 million annually back into the pockets of neighborhood businesses.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Mayor de Blasio Announces Record Pace Building and Protecting Affordable Housing
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that his administration secured 24,293 affordable apartments and homes in Fiscal Year 2017, the highest overeeprall production since 1989. The 10-year Housing New York plan to create or preserve 200,000 homes has financed a total of 77,651 affordable homes since January 2014, including the highest three-year streak of affordable housing production in the City’s history.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Files Charges Against Organization and Its President for Deceptive "ID4ICE" Card
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced charges against A New Beginning for Immigrants Rights, Inc. (NBIR) and its president, Carlos Davila, for engaging in deceptive and illegal practices to profit from immigrant consumers. NBIR, a former nonprofit corporation, and Mr. Davila have been preying on the desperation and fear of immigrants by falsely advertising“ID4ICE” cards as a “National identification card” that provides immigrants with protection against deportation and immunity from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. In reality, these identification cards, which range from $50-$200, offer no such protections and serve only as a scam to collect hundreds of dollars from vulnerable New Yorkers desperate to find a legal way to stay in the United States. DCA’s charges, which will be heard at the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), allege numerous violations and seeks more than $1.3 million dollars in fines.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Settles Charges with Icon Quik Park for Charging Customers "NYC Living Wage Assessment" Fee
Consumer Affairs’ Settlement Agreement Requires Parking Garage Chain to Refund $1.2 Million to Monthly Customers
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced a settlement agreement with Citizens Icon Holdings, LLC (“Icon”), the parent company of 296 entities, each of which operates an Icon or Quik Park parking garage in New York City. Starting in January 2017, just after the state’s new minimum wage went into effect, Icon began charging its monthly customers a $30 “NYC Living Wage Assessment” fee. The City’s Consumer Protection Law prohibits statements that may mislead consumers. In this instance, Icon used the phrase “NYC Living Wage Assessment” even though it increased its employees’ wages to comply with the New York State minimum wage increase, not in response to New York City Law or to reach a living wage. Icon also did not notify its customers of the fee in a timely manner.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Consumer Warning: Department of Consumer Affairs Warns Immigrant New Yorkers about the "10-Year Visa Scam"
Immigration Service Providers and Immigration Lawyers Misleading Immigrant New Yorkers into Believing that they Can Obtain a Visa or Green Card Based on 10 Years of Residency within the United States
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today issued a warning to consumers about an immigration scam called the “10-Year Visa Scam.” Preying on fears and desperation to find a legal way to stay in the United States, some immigration service providers and immigration lawyers are telling immigrants, through word-of-mouth and deceptive advertising, that they can obtain a visa or green card if they have lived in the U.S. for 10 years. The scams are sometimes advertised under the banner “easy way to obtain a green card!” What these individuals fail to disclose is that, as part of the process for obtaining a green card or visa based upon residency, the immigrant must first enter deportation proceedings. They also often fail to explain the other requirements for this so-called “10-year visa,” including that the immigrant must prove “extreme, unusual, and exceptional hardship” to their family members, which is not “easy” to do. In at least one example, an immigrant paid a provider approximately $25,000. As a result of this scam, these consumers are left paying high costs for a service that they have been deceived into believing is safe and easy – when in fact the opposite is true.
Monday, June 5, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Launches Public Awareness Campaign to Help Consumers Avoid Predatory Lending in the Used Car Industry
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the launch of a public awareness campaign to educate current and prospective used car owners about the rise of predatory lending in the used car industry. The multilingual campaign ads will be running on targeted bus shelters, telephone kiosks, and LinkNYC, as well as in community and ethnic newspapers, on radio and online. DCA is also doing neighborhood marketing and conducting outreach events to educate New Yorkers.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito Announce That New York City Is The Largest City To End Abusive Scheduling Practices In The Fast Food And Retail Industries
Predictable schedules and predictable paychecks are now a right, not a privilege, in these low-wage industries
NEW YORK—Today, Mayor de Blasio, City Council members, advocates, and workers held a rally at City Hall to mark the “Fair Workweek” package of bills becoming law. This package will ensure that predictable schedules and predictable paychecks for fast food and retail workers in New York City will be soon be rights, not privileges.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Files Charges Against Brooklyn Used Car Dealerships for Deceptive Financing and Illegal Sales Practices
For the First Time, Consumer Affairs Seeks Consumer Restitution from Financing Companies who Provided Loans through the Used Car Dealerships
New York, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced charges against multiple used car dealerships in Brooklyn, which are all under the same ownership, and their owners for engaging in deceptive and unlawful trade practices that preyed on New Yorkers. Three of the dealerships—USA1 Auto Sales, Inc., Lenden Used Car Sales, Inc., D&A Guaranteed Auto Sales, Inc.— are currently in operation in East New York and two others—Linden Used Cars, Inc. and Mosulei Group, Inc.—have DCA secondhand auto dealer licenses but are not currently in operation. DCA’s complaint document, which will be heard at the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), alleges numerous violations and wide-ranging consumer harm, and seeks nearly $1.2 million in fines and restitution ($600,000 in fines and $577,000 in restitution) for 75 consumers. DCA is also seeking to revoke all of the dealerships’ licenses. In response to the growing auto lending crisis, DCA will also for the first time be seeking consumer restitution from the financing companies—Credit Acceptance Corp., Clover Commercial Corp, and Westlake Financial Services—that were involved in the subprime lending that saddled the dealerships’ consumers with interest rates as high as 24 percent.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
City Hall in Your Borough: Mayor de Blasio Announces Small Businesses Seeing Fewer Fines, Opening Faster
BRONX, NY—Meeting business owners on The Bronx’s Arthur Avenue, Mayor de Blasio released a “Small Business Progress Report” outlining a 40% reduction in fines, a three-month reduction in the time it takes to open a restaurant, and a surge in certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).
Thursday, May 18, 2017
De Blasio Administration Announces New Calorie Labeling Rules
New York City is the first in the nation to require chain food retailers and restaurants to post calorie counts and full nutritional information
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that all New York City chain food retailers offering prepared foods, or "restaurant-type foods," will be required to post calorie counts on menu boards. In addition, chain restaurants and retailers will be required to have full nutritional information – not just calories – for standard menu items available on site, and they will have to post a statement about the daily recommended caloric intake of 2,000 calories. This rule is required for all chain restaurants with 15 locations or more nationwide, affecting approximately 3,000 restaurants and about 1,500 food retailer chains.
Monday, May 15, 2017
Freelancers Aren't Free: Mayor Announces First in Nation Protections for Freelance Workers
DCA, Freelancers Union celebrated access to written contracts, timely payment, and freedom from retaliation for roughly 500,000 freelance workers
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, the first law of its kind in the country, is now in effect. To mark its implementation, the Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a Day of Action with various partners to educate New Yorkers, launched a social media campaign, and co-hosted a launch event with Freelancers Union at LMHQ, a collaborative workspace in Lower Manhattan. The Law gives freelance workers the legal right to written contracts, timely payment, and freedom from retaliation. Under the Law, freelance workers can now file a complaint with DCA’s Office of Labor Policy & Standards, which will also provide court navigation services to freelance workers pursuing their claims in court and survey freelance workers about their experiences pursuing their claims under the Law in court. There are an estimated 500,000 freelance workers that will benefit from this legislation, based on a 2013 study by DOF of New Yorkers receiving 1099-MISC tax forms (a common income tax form for individuals operating as contingent “freelance” workers).
Thursday, April 27, 2017
The Departments of Housing Preservation and Development and Consumer Affairs Launch "Ready to Rent: Financial Counseling for Affordable Housing" Program
New City Program Aims to Improve Financial Preparedness for New Yorkers Applying to Affordable Housing Lotteries
NEW YORK, NY—New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the launch of the “Ready to Rent: Financial Counseling for Affordable Housing” program. This new program, in partnership with the financial counseling provider Ariva and HPD’s Housing Ambassadors, will provide free one-on-one financial counseling and additional assistance to those seeking affordable housing.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs' Office of Labor Policy and Standards, with New York City Commission on Human Rights and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Host Public Hearing on the State of Workers' Rights in New York City
Public Hearing is one of City’s Office of Labor Policy & Standard’s Initiatives to Build New Generation of Workplace Protections for New York City
NEW YORK, NY—The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS), in collaboration with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), tonight will convene a public hearing on the state of workers’ rights in New York City at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. DCA’s OLPS is the largest municipal labor standards office in the country with a robust staff of attorneys, investigators, outreach and education specialists, as well as research and policy analysts. Set up in 2016 to be a dedicated hub in City government for workers’ issues, the Office will author a report following the hearing that sets forth policies the City can pursue, particularly in light of the lack of commitment from the presidential administration to workers’ rights. Building on its record of effective enforcement of municipal labor laws, tonight’s hearing and the report that will follow is one of OLPS’ many initiatives as a leader among local governments around the country that are seeking to step into the gap on strengthening workplace protections.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Better Promote Environmental Justice Through the Work of City Agencies
Signs legislation to better protect consumers from immigration services fraud, and holds a hearing to prohibit employers from asking for candidates’ salary history
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed seven pieces of legislation into law – Intro. 564-A in relation to reviewing the feasibility of establishing online applications for all permits, licenses, and registrations issued by city agencies; Intro. 1112-A in relation to requiring the Parks Department to post on its website information relating to various tree maintenance activities; Intro. 1454, in relation to establishing the New Dorp Business Improvement District in Staten Island; Intro. 886-A in relation to identifying and addressing environmental justice issues; Intro. 359-A in relation to an environmental justice and online portal; Intro. 746-A in relation to imposing stricter guidelines for providers and further protect customers against immigration services fraud and unauthorized practice of the law; Intro. 708-A in relation to establishing a disconnected youth task force; and held a hearing for Intro. 1253-A in relation to prohibiting employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s salary history.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
De Blasio Administration, City Council Members and Elected Officials Announce Sweeping Legislation to Curb Smoking, Tobacco Usage
Proposals will reduce number of smokers in NYC by 160,000
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a series of legislative proposals to reduce the number of smokers in New York City by 160,000 over the next three years. While smoking rates in New York City have declined from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.3 percent in 2015, the city still has more than 900,000 smokers, including 15,000 youth. There are also 174,000 adults and 42,000 adolescents using e-cigarettes. These new proposals will decrease smoking rates to a historically low rate of 12 percent.
Monday, April 17, 2017
TLC Will Initiate Rulemaking on Tipping in FHV Industry
One step in a larger process to ensure TLC-licensed drivers earn a livable wage while working for-hire
Following a recent hearing on industry economics where dozens of professional drivers gave testimony about their struggle for a decent livelihood, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) plans to initiate rulemaking in regards to tipping options in the For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) industry. The proposal, which will be introduced in the coming months, will be one step in a greater process to ensure that TLC-licensed drivers earn a livable wage while working for-hire.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Just Over a Week Until Tax Day: Department of Consumer Affairs Reminds Eligible New Yorkers to File Their Taxes for Free
New Yorkers Earning $64,000 or Less Can File for Free Online and at In Person Sites Citywide
NEW YORK, NY –Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas reminds New Yorkers that with just over a week left to file taxes before the April 18 deadline and the last weekend before the Passover and Easter holidays, they should file soon. New Yorkers who earned $64,000 or less in 2016 can file for free using NYC Free Tax Prep online or at one of the in person sites citywide. Additional hours and appointments continue to be added to accommodate last-minute filers. New Yorkers can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/taxprep to find the most convenient location and its hours.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Used But No Longer Abused: Mayor, Department Of Consumer Affairs And Council Members Espinal, Garodnick, And Williams Announce New Legislation To Combat Predatory Sales And Financing Practices In The Used Car Industry
Department of Consumer Affairs and Council Member Espinal release report on their public hearing on predatory lending in the used car industry
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas, Council Member Rafael Espinal, Jr., Chair of the Council Committee on Consumer Affairs, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Chair of the Council Committee on Economic Development, and Council Member Jumaane D. Williams today announced a package of legislation to combat predatory practices in the used car industry. The legislation would require used car dealerships, which DCA licenses, to post a Consumer Bill of Rights and disclose information about financing and pricing, provide all required notices to the consumer be in whatever language used to negotiate the contract, and provide consumers with the option to cancel their contract within two days of the sale. The legislation comes as a result of the public hearing hosted by Commissioner Salas and Council Member Espinal last October to explore predatory lending in the used car industry. DCA and Council Member Espinal also issued a report on the public hearing that includes findings and recommendations.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Strong And Fair Economy: Three Years After Paid Sick Leave Expansion, Unemployment At Historic Lows
Department of Consumer Affairs Nearly Triples Paid Sick Leave Restitution for Nearly 16,000 New Yorkers
NEW YORK, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and New Yorkers celebrated the third anniversary of New York’s Paid Sick Leave Law, which created the legal right to sick leave for 3.4 million private and nonprofit sector workers, nearly 1.2 million of whom did not previously have access to this vital workplace benefit. Last month, New York City recorded its lowest unemployment rate since 1976, continuing a strong expansion of new jobs that has coincided with new protections for employees. Over the past three years, DCA secured restitution for nearly 16,000 New Yorkers, and this past weekend the agency filed charges on behalf of nine JetBlue ground crew and flight attendants against JetBlue for violating the law.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Inauguration of the Financial Education Week 2017 and 3rd Anniversary of the Window of Financial Counseling
NEW YORK, NY—This past Monday March 20th, the inauguration of the VI Financial Education Week 2017 took place in the Consulate General of Mexico in New York in collaboration with various partner organizations and institutions; among the 50 consular representations in the United States, the Consulate in New York was selected to be the official inauguration.
21 de marzo de 2017
Se Inaugura En Consulado De México En Nueva York La VI Semana De Educación Financiera (SEF2017) Y Se Celebra El III Aniversario De La Ventanilla De Asesoría Financiera (VAF)
Nueva York, NY—El pasado 20 de marzo, el Consulado General de México en Nueva York, junto a representantes de organizaciones e instituciones asociadas, dieron oficial inicio a la Sexta Semana de Educación Financiera 2017; en toda la Red Consular de la Unión Americana, Nueva York fue la sede seleccionada para su lanzamiento nacional.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Files Charges to Put the Brakes on Major World's Deceptive Financing and Sales Practices That Result in Predatory Lending Targeting Low Income and Immigrant New Yorkers
Consumer Affairs Calls on Other Potential Victims of Major World’s Deceptive Practices to Come Forward
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced extensive charges against several used car dealerships that together comprise Queens-based Major World (Major World Español). The company’s three dealerships and their owners are being charged with using deceptive and illegal practices to profit from vulnerable low-income and immigrant consumers. DCA’s complaint document, which will be heard at the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), alleges numerous violations and wide-ranging consumer harm, and seeks more than $2 million dollars in consumer restitution and fines (approximately $770,000 in restitution and $1.7 million in fines). DCA is also seeking revocation of the company’s three DCA secondhand auto dealer licenses (Major World Chevrolet (43-40 Northern Boulevard), Major World Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (50-30 Northern Boulevard), and Major Kia of Long Island City (44-11 Northern Boulevard) and the creation of a trust fund for any unidentified consumers who have been harmed. DCA also encourages any consumer who feels Major World lied to them about the price of their car to contact the agency by calling 311, or by filing a complaint at nyc.gov/dca.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
HPD Announces New and Enhanced Resources to Help New Yorkers Access the Housing Lottery
HPD launches a new informative video series and enhances its Housing Ambassador program
NEW YORK, NY—he New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer today announced enhanced resources for housing lottery applicants. HPD launched a new informative video series on the affordable housing lottery process. The first video in the series, “Applying to a New York City Affordable Housing Lottery: Video Guide”, gives an overview of the application process. HPD is also enhancing its Housing Ambassador program thanks to $195,000 in recent funding from New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. HPD’s Housing Ambassador Program is a network of community-based service providers New Yorkers can rely on for help finding and applying to affordable housing.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
One Month Until Tax Day: Department of Consumer Affairs Reminds Eligible New Yorkers to File Their Taxes for Free
New Yorkers Earning $64,000 or Less Can File for Free at More Than 200 Sites Citywide or Online
NEW YORK, NY—Today, on Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Awareness Day, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas reminds New Yorkers that there is just a little over a month left to file taxes before the April 18 deadline. Commissioner Salas encouraged New Yorkers who earned $64,000 or less in 2016 to file for free, using NYC Free Tax Prep available at more than 200 sites citywide or online.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Launches First-of-its-Kind 'Paid Care Division' to Focus on the Needs of Low-wage Domestic and Home Care Workers
DCA Releases NYC Cares for Care Workers: An Overview of Rights and Resources for Paid Care Workers
NEW YORK, NY—The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has officially launched its new Paid Care Division within its Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) with the first in a series of events to bring together paid care workers, including home care and domestic workers, as well as workers’ rights organizations, policy experts, and legislators. On March 4, DCA along with the City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), and the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), convened more than a hundred home care workers, nannies, caregivers, and housecleaners and partners to discuss strategies for safeguarding workers’ rights in the face of new threats to immigrant and other vulnerable workers. DCA also announced the release of NYC Cares for Care Workers: An Overview of Rights and Resources for paid care workers.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
In Response to Growing Subprime Auto Lending Crisis, Department of Consumer Affairs Announces New "Getting Your Finances in Gear to Buy a Used Car" Guide
National Consumer Protection Week: DCA Warns New Yorkers about the Dangers of Used Car Debt Traps
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced DCA’s new Getting Your Finances in Gear to Buy a Used Car guide, in response to the growing national subprime auto lending crisis. The guide informs New Yorkers of rights they have under the City’s Consumer Protection Law and also provides tips for what to watch for when purchasing a used car. DCA made the announcement at a press conference with federal, state, and city consumer protection agencies, including the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Metropolitan New York, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
City Agencies Join Forces with Leading Muslim-American Organizations for #OneNewYork Day of Action: Protecting Our Muslim Communities
Consumer Affairs, Human Rights, Immigrant Affairs, Community Affairs Unit, Elected Officials, Leading Muslim-American Organizations and Community Partners Reassure and Educate Muslim New Yorkers about City Protections and Resources
NEW YORK, NY—Today, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), and Community Affairs Unit (CAU) hosted their #OneNewYork Day of Action: Protecting Our Muslim Communities to remind fellow New Yorkers, especially those hailing from Muslim communities, that the City is committed to protecting the rights of all New Yorkers where they live, work and shop, and also offers a variety of services to those in need, regardless of immigration status or ethnicity. Teams from the City, as well elected officials and volunteers from the Arab American Association of New York, Council on American-Islamic Relations – New York, Muslim Community Network, Council of Peoples Organization, Make The Road New York, New York Immigration Coalition, and other community partners, visited 12 subway stations to distribute information in multiple languages during the morning rush hour.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Consumer Affairs Commissioner Salas, BP Adams, and Grow Brooklyn Announce NYC Free Tax Prep Opening at Brooklyn Borough Hall
Local Leaders and Taxpayer Advocates Remind 1.1 Million Eligible New Yorkers to Claim Refund-boosting EITC, More Brooklyn Filers Eligible Than Any Other Borough
BROOKLYN, NY—Today, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, and Grow Brooklyn, the largest non-paid tax preparer in the borough, officially opened the NYC Free Tax Prep site at Brooklyn Borough Hall, reminding the roughly 1.1 million eligible New Yorkers to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). With around 325,000 returns claiming the EITC in 2015, according to the IRS and Brookings Institution, Kings County has more residents claiming the credit than any other county in New York State and is amongst the highest in the nation. EITC is a Federal, State and City tax credit for qualifying families, non-custodial parents (NYS EITC only), and singles who work full time or part time or are self-employed. For working families in New York City, federal EITC claims average $2,411 ($2,484 in Brooklyn) and can be worth as much as $8,463 when combined with state and City credits. DCA Commissioner Salas and Borough President Adams also encouraged New Yorkers who earned $64,000 or less, especially the 74 percent of EITC filers in Brooklyn who have previously paid a tax preparer, to file for free using NYC Free Tax Prep..
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Department of Consumer Affairs Kicks Off the Tax Season with Continued Expansion of NYC Free Tax Prep
City Expands Services to New Neighborhoods and Languages and, with Support from Citi, Launches Eligibility Screening and Texting Program and Pilot Queue Management System
New Yorkers Earning $64,000 or Less Can File for Free at More Than 200 Sites Citywide or Online
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today kicked off the tax season with the launch of the Agency’s 15th annual tax time campaign and encouraged New Yorkers who earned $64,000 or less to file for free using NYC Free Tax Prep. Commissioner Salas also announced the Agency’s continued expansion of NYC Free Tax Prep with the addition of services in neighborhoods and languages previously underserved, as well as an eligibility screening and texting program and a pilot queue management system. The announcement was made at Chhaya Community Development Corporation in Jackson Heights, one of the new neighborhoods served with multiple new languages.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Consumer Affairs Release Study on Improving Access to Affordable Housing Opportunities
Agencies Create New Guide on Steps to Take to Apply for Affordable Housing and Putting Together a Strong Application
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the release of a study, Improving Access to Affordable Housing Opportunities, that explores the experience of affordable housing applicants and recommends ways to further support applicants through an outreach and education strategy that incorporates financial empowerment services. Based on the initial findings of the study, the agencies also released a new guide, Ready, Set, Apply: Getting Ready for Affordable Housing in NYC (Spanish) to help New Yorkers best prepare for and navigate the housing application process. This project is part of the City’s OneNYC commitment to raise New Yorkers out of poverty and, specifically, to improve the fairness and efficiency of the allocation of affordable housing, a key goal of the Mayor’s Housing New York plan.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Menin and NYC Kids Rise Announce Queens Public School District to Pilot the First NYC Child Savings Account Program, Helping Thousands of Students Save for College
New savings initiative will give participating families the opportunity to create a long-term savings plan and make higher education more achievable for NYC public school students
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner of Media and Entertainment Julie Menin, Chair of the newly formed charitable nonprofit organization NYC Kids RISE, the Gray Foundation’s Mindy and Jon Gray, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced that School District 30 in Queens – encompassing Astoria, Ditmars, East Elmhurst, Hunter’s Point, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside – will launch NYC’s Child Savings Account initiative in the fall, helping thousands of New York City public school children save for college.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Consumer Alert: Department of Consumer Affairs and New York City Taxpayer Advocate Warn New Yorkers about Tax Refund Delays and Paid Preparers Who Promise "Express" or "Anticipation" Refunds
City Encourages New Yorkers Earning $64,000 or Less to File for Free with NYC Free Tax Prep
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and New York City Taxpayer Advocate Eunkyong Choi today issued a warning to New Yorkers about predatory tax preparer tactics, in particular advertising for and selling “express refund advances” or “refund transfers.” The announcement was made at the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, which is one of the City’s NYC Free Tax Prep sites and also an NYC Financial Empowerment Center that provides free, one-on-one financial counseling.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Subway Outreach and Other Efforts to Inform People of Legal Protections Against Discrimination and Harassment
NYC Commission on Human Rights, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Community Affairs Unit, Public Engagement Unit, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and elected officials, conducts a 5-borough subway outreach and launches digital and mobile transit app ads on December 20th to inform New Yorkers of legal protections against discrimination and harassment
Commission announces expanded Infoline at 718-722-3131 to field questions about discrimination and harassment
Commission creates “Bias Response Team” to monitor incidents of discriminatory harassment citywide and respond with resources for victim and affected communities
NEW YORK— The NYC Commission on Human Rights announces today a series of actions to provide New Yorkers with tools to report incidents of discrimination and harassment, as well as information for immigrant communities.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Commissioner Chong Host "Smiles of Love" Holiday Gift Distribution in Harlem
A record 3,002 toys for young people in NYC
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong today hosted the eighth annual “Smiles of Love” holiday gift drive at John S. Roberts Junior High in East Harlem. This year, the annual drive collected over 3,000 gifts, doubling last year’s donations. More than 1,000 participants from DYCD’s COMPASS afterschool, Beacon, Cornerstone, Fatherhood, and Runaway and Homeless Youth programs received a wrapped gift at five simultaneous distribution events held across the City.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Visits Businesses Citywide to Inform Employers of Upcoming Minimum Wage Increase
Consumer Affairs Mails Postcard to 325,000 Employers Reminding them that the Minimum Wage Increases December 31, 2016
City Inspectors Issue Advice, Not Violations, to Local Businesses Across the City
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and staff, as well as representatives from the City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and Small Business Services (SBS), visited businesses in all five boroughs today to educate businesses about the upcoming increase in the state minimum wage. Throughout the day, teams visited businesses in East Harlem, Flatbush, Parkchester, Sunnyside, and Westerleigh/Castleton to distribute postcards (Bengali, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish) reminding local businesses that the New York State minimum wage goes up for all workers regardless of status on December 31, 2016. DCA also mailed the postcard to 325,000 New York City employers. Staff and inspectors also provided businesses with information about how to comply with key workplace, consumer protection, and licensing laws that the Agency enforces—without issuing violations.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Statement from Mayor de Blasio on the Introduction of Fair Workweek Legislation
"Earlier this year we promised to protect tens of thousands of hardworking New Yorkers from the struggle that comes from a lack of a predictable and stable work schedule. Knowing your hours ahead of time is too often taken for granted, though it is a downright necessity for arranging childcare, class schedules and budgeting for the week. Working with our partners in the City Council, we introduced legislation that would require fast food employers to provide advance notice of upcoming shifts. This is an important next step in protecting the rights of 65,000 New Yorkers and once again demonstrates that we are committed to being a city that is fair and equitable for all."
Thursday, December 1, 2016
City and Make the Road New York Hit the Streets in Queens to Warn New Yorkers about Immigration Service Fraud
Consumer Affairs Releases New Tips for Immigrants to Protect Themselves from Fraud and Other Types of Scams
Consumer Affairs also Releases New Consumer Protection Tips for Older Adults and Women to Protect Themselves in the Marketplace and Workplace
NEW YORK, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), and Make the Road New York, as well as elected officials, advocacy groups, and legal service providers today took to the streets in Queens, the country’s most diverse county, during the morning commute to educate New Yorkers about immigration services fraud and to “PROTECT yourself, REPORT fraud, and SEEK help.” Teams at subway stations along the 7 line in Corona and Jackson Heights warned immigrant New Yorkers about the increase in immigration services scams, directed them to free, trusted resources for immigration assistance through City-supported legal services programs such as ActionNYC, the Immigrant Opportunity Initiative, Key to the City, NYCitizenship and the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, and armed them with DCA’s new consumer protection tips for immigrants.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
A.G. Schneiderman Issues Fraud Alert On Immigration Scams
Attorney General's Office, Immigration Groups Have Received An Increased Number Of Reported Scams In Recent Weeks
With Increased Anxiety In Immigrant Communities Due To Political Climate, Immigrants Should Be Aware Of Potential Scammers Offering Immigration Service
NEW YORK, NY— In light of increased fear and anxiety in immigrant communities as a result of the current political climate, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued a fraud alert warning immigrants to be aware of potential scammers offering immigration services. Immigration fraud affects large segments of communities and involves individuals or companies who target vulnerable immigrants by providing unauthorized and fraudulent immigration services. In recent weeks, the Attorney General’s office and many legal aid organizations that work with immigrant communities have received an increased number of calls and reported scams.
Martes, 22 de Noviembre de 2016
Schneiderman Emite Alerta Sobre Fraude En Servicios De Inmigración
Organizaciones que ayudan a los de inmigrantes han recibido un número creciente de reportes de estafas en las últimas semanas
Debido a la creciente ansiedad causada por el clima político, los inmigrantes deben estar conscientes de potenciales estafadores potenciales que ofrecen servicio de inmigración
NUEVA YORK— A la luz del creciente temor y ansiedad en las comunidades de inmigrantes como resultado del clima político actual, el Fiscal General Eric T. Schneiderman emitió hoy una alerta de fraude a los inmigrantes para que estén conscientes de posibles estafadores que ofrecen servicios de inmigración. El fraude de inmigración afecta a grandes segmentos de comunidades e involucra a individuos o compañías que se dirigen a inmigrantes vulnerables proporcionando servicios de inmigración no autorizados y fraudulentos. En las últimas semanas, la oficina del Fiscal General y muchas organizaciones de ayuda legal que trabajan con comunidades inmigrantes han recibido un número creciente de llamadas y reportes de estafas.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Menin and Newly Created Nonprofit "NYC Kids RISE" Announce Child Savings Account Program to Help Public School Students Save for College
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Julie Menin, chair of the newly formed public-private partnership NYC Kids RISE, and the Gray Foundation’s Mindy and Jon Gray today announced the launch of NYC’s Child Savings Account (CSA) initiative, a new child savings account program to help thousands of New York City public school children save for college. The first phase will fund accounts for 10,000 children over three years.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Issues Holiday Shopping Tips
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today issued the following Holiday Shopping Tips to protect consumer’s identity and money during the holiday season. This annual effort is set to kick off the holiday shopping season and make consumers aware of their rights–including new gift card protections, help them spend wisely, and protect them from scams.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs Legislation Strengthening Protections for Freelance Workers
Also signs package of bills revising foster care reporting and information collection
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for, and signed, 12 pieces of legislation into law – Intro. 1017-C, in relation to strengthening protections for freelance workers; Intros. 464-A and 796-A, in relation to promoting absentee voting amongst jailed individuals and requiring City agencies participating in the agency-based voter registration program to assist applicants completing the organ donation section; Intro. 83-A, in relation to requiring the Police Department to publicly post reports concerning cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator retraining and reporting; Intros. 1187-A, 1190-A, 1191-A, 1192-A, 1197-A, 1199-A and 1205-A, in relation to amending local laws around foster care; and Intro. 1242, in relation to the establishment of the Greater JFK Business Improvement District.
Friday, November 4, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Signs Executive Order Banning City Agencies from Inquiring About Salary History of Job Applicants
In major step toward achieving pay equity for women and people of color, City agencies will no longer be allowed to inquire about an applicant’s salary history before extending a conditional offer of employment
Under Mayor de Blasio, for first time in City history, women and people of color hold majority of managerial positions in City government
NEW YORK, NY—In a major effort to ensure fair employment practices and close the pay gap for women and people of color, Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed Executive Order 21 prohibiting City agencies from inquiring about the salary history of job applicants. Executive Order 21 is the most recent effort by the de Blasio Administration to ensure the families of NYC’s diverse workforce are supported and enabled to thrive. The Mayor also announced his intent to support Intro. 1253, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, which seeks to prevent both public and private employers from inquiring about potential employees’ salary histories. The Mayor and First Lady were joined by senior Administration officials, elected officials, City employees and advocates.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
City Hall, NYPD Announce Slate of Policies to Reduce Barriers to Safety Faced by Victims of Domestic Violence
De Blasio Administration protecting survivors’ rights, safety, paychecks and housing
Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Ferreras-Copeland introduce legislation to provide Paid Safe Leave for domestic violence victims
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced a package of policies to protect domestic violence survivors, their livelihoods and their homes. Together with Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Mayor de Blasio will protect survivors and their families by introducing Paid Safe Leave legislation, which will allow survivors to take paid leave from work to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty. The City will also put housing lawyers in every Family Justice Center to aggressively defend survivors’ housing rights, and work with the NYPD to root out chronic offenders by instituting new practices to ensure law enforcement targets resources on the highest priority abusers and contacts every victim to ensure safety after an Order of Protection has been violated.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Consumer Affairs Opens Waiting List for General Vendor Licenses to Sell Goods and Services on the Street
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the agency is creating a new waiting list for people who want to apply for general vendor licenses, which is required to sell, lease, or offer to sell or lease goods or services in a public place that is not a store. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on November 15, 2016. Once the application period closes, DCA will assign each accepted application a non-transferable priority number (i.e., position) based on a computer-generated random number selection program. The order in which applications are submitted will not affect an applicant’s position on the waiting list. DCA will notify applicants in writing of their waiting list number and then contact them in order, as licenses become available, to submit a license application. The law, as established by the City Council, limits the number of non-veteran general vendor licenses to 853.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Used and Abused by the Used Car Industry:
Department of Consumer Affairs and Council Member Espinal Hold Hearing to Shine Light on Consumers Being Scammed Out of Millions
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr. today hosted a public hearing on predatory lending in the used car industry. From crushingly high interest rates to high-pressure sales tactics, consumers are being scammed out of millions of dollars. This hearing featured testimony from consumers who have been harmed, as well as national experts on predatory lending, who together demonstrated the scope of the problem, which will inform possible solutions at the local level. The hearing was hosted in Long Island City, where there is the largest concentration of licensed used car dealerships.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Deputy Mayor Richard Buery and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal Announce New Benefits for the IDNYC Program
New benefits focus on fitness and entertainment, and are a boon for New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds
Announcement is part of a Week of Action to encourage and help all New Yorkers enroll for IDNYC
By IDNYC’s second anniversary, de Blasio Administration aims to have one million New Yorkers become unique cardholders.
NEW YORK, NY—Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs announced that the IDNYC program, the largest municipal ID program in the country, will now offer new fitness and entertainment benefits.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Consumer Affairs Announces New, Expanded Mission that Reflects the Agency's Work to Protect and Enhance the Daily Economic Lives of New Yorkers
Commissioner Salas to Embark on a Community Listening Tour to Hear Directly from the Communities it Serves about Issues they Face
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the agency’s new, evolved mission—to protect and enhance the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. Under the de Blasio Administration, DCA’s work has expanded to include an increased focus on equitable enforcement coupled with business education, and—with paid sick leave, commuter benefits, the City’s new Office of Labor Policy and Standards, and today’s announcement of Fair Work Week legislation—ways to protect workers in New York City. DCA, which was established in 1969, has now evolved to stand at the nexus of consumers, businesses, and working families in New York City. With this added emphasis on the importance of communities, Commissioner Salas formally announced the new mission today at a City University of New York’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media Newsmakers Briefing.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Council Members, Advocates Announce Plan to Ensure New York City's Fast Food Workers Are Protected by Fair Workweek Legislation
Tens of thousands of hourly workers in NYC lack predictable, stable and transparent work hours
Absence of fair scheduling makes planning for days and months ahead nearly impossible for working families
Mayor calls for advance notice and public posting of schedules; additional compensation for working unscheduled hours; addressing problems caused by “clopenings”
NEW YORK, NY—Today, standing outside of a McDonald’s in Brooklyn, Mayor Bill de Blasio, with elected officials, advocates and labor, announced support for the introduction of “Fair Workweek” legislation to ensure that 65,000 hourly employees in the fast food industry receive fair notification on their work hours. Currently, employers aren’t required to provide their hourly employees with advance notice of upcoming shifts. As a result, too many families cannot budget in advance, plan for education or family care, or secure a necessary second job.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
IDNYC, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Department of Consumer Affairs, New York City Housing Authority, the Red Hook Community Justice Center, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, and Amalgamated Bank Announce New IDNYC Pop-Up Enrollment Center in Red Hook, Brooklyn
The event is part of ongoing efforts to inform New Yorkers about IDNYC’s banking benefits
PHOTO OP —On Thursday, September 15 at 10:00 a.m., IDNYC, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the Red Hook Community Justice Center, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, and Amalgamated Bank will join to celebrate the opening of a new IDNYC pop-up enrollment center at the Red Hook Community Justice Center at 88 Visitation Place in Brooklyn, New York. The pop-up center opened September 12 and will operate until September 23, on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and on Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Expanding Administration's Labor Policy Efforts to Continue Supporting Caregivers
Also signs package of legislation coordinating efforts to address communities’ quality of life, and to support individuals released from prison
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed 10 pieces of legislation. Among the legislation signed were Intros. 1081-0A and 1084-A, two bills which will expand labor policy efforts to support caregivers.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
In Time for Labor Day, de Blasio Administration Announces Liz Vladeck as Head of New Office of Labor Policy and Standards
NEW YORK, NY—The de Blasio Administration today announced the appointment of Liz Vladeck, an experienced, highly respected labor lawyer and advocate, as Deputy Commissioner of the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards (OLPS).
Thursday, August 18, 2016
First Comprehensive, Independent Evaluation of Nation’s Largest Municipal ID Program Shows IDNYC Necessity for New Yorkers
One in ten New Yorkers has an IDNYC; more than half of cardholders use IDNYC as primary form of identification
NEW YORK, NY—Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio released the first comprehensive evaluation of IDNYC, New York City’s municipal identification program and the largest program of its kind in the country. The report confirms that IDNYC benefits every New York City resident, especially our most vulnerable communities. More than half of IDNYC’s 863,464 unique cardholders now use the card as their primary form of identification and over three-quarters of immigrants surveyed reported that the card increases their sense of belonging to the city.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Improving Transparency Regarding use of Force by Police Officers, Adding More Oversight to the Department of Probation
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed nine pieces of legislation – Intros. 539-A, 606-B and 824-A, in relation to Police Department reporting; Intros. 1026-A and 1142-A, in relation to Department of Probation reporting; Intro. 1231, in relation to creating an exception to the rebuttal presumption applicable to vending tickets; Intro. 697-A, in relation to the regulation of laundries; Intro. 1169-A, in relation to conforming the New York City energy conservation code to the New York State energy conservation code; and Intro. 1227, in relation to the naming of 65 thoroughfares and public places in honor of public servants, servicemen and women, community advocates and others who have made an impact on New York City. The mayor also held a public hearing for Intro. 1063-A, in relation to requiring lactation rooms in certain locations providing services to the public.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Nation’s Top Ten Consumer Complaints
Phony IRS Agents and Other Imposter Scams Tops the List of Fastest-Growing Complaints
Washington, D.C.—Phony IRS agents and other imposter scams topped the list of fastest-growing complaints to state and local consumer protection agencies last year, according to the latest report from the annual survey conducted by Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI). Thirty-three consumer agencies from twenty-one states participated in the survey, which asked about the most common complaints they received in 2015, the fastest-growing complaints, the worst complaints, new kinds of consumer problems, agencies’ biggest achievements and challenges, and new laws that are needed to better protect consumers.
Monday, July 11, 2016
A.G. Schneiderman Announces Lawsuit Against Alleged Unlicensed Employment Agency That Scammed Unemployed Consumers
NEW YORK, NY—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against New York City-based Delta Services, Inc. (“Delta”), its predecessor Ultimate Security Force, Inc. a/k/a U.S.F. (“Ultimate Security”), and their owner Jeffreys Paulino, for allegedly using phony job listings and false promises of employment to trick unemployed consumers into paying for expensive, and often unnecessary, security guard and other training courses. The Attorney General alleges that Delta, Ultimate Security, and Mr. Paulino have scammed hundreds, if not thousands, of consumers.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Launches New Effort with Community Groups to Measure and Improve Neighborhood Financial Health
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the Collaborative for Neighborhood Financial Health, an initiative of DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) to work on the community level, in collaboration with residents and community groups, to develop new approaches to empower residents to improve their financial health and stability. DCA OFE will lead teams of community partners in two neighborhoods—Bedford-Stuyvesant and East Harlem—to create a set of indicators to assess neighborhood financial health and then work with the community to develop a set of strategies, policies, programs and financial products that allow neighborhoods to build assets and empower their residents. The project also seeks to advance the understanding of the relationship between an individual’s financial health and the neighborhood in which he or she lives.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation
New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed six pieces of legislation – Intro. 871-A, in relation to ensuring equal access to single-occupant bathrooms for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers; Intro. 1149-A, in relation to requiring ticket sellers to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs; Intro. 868-A, in relation to issuing an annual report on the implementation of Next Generation 911; Intro. 851-B, in relation to protecting against the harassment of tenants who lease space for a commercial rather than residential nature; Intro. 775-A, in relation to creating timeframes for the landmark designation process; and Intro. 1223, in relation to reducing the use of carryout bags. The Mayor also held public hearings for Intros. 1122-A, 1123-A and 1128-A, in relation to increasing access to feminine hygiene products.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Executive Order No. 18
Transfer of Adjudications within the Jurisdiction of the Administrative Tribunal of the Department of Consumer Affairs to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings
Friday, May 20, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Appoints Lorelei Salas as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs
New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of Lorelei Salas as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, the largest municipal consumer protection agency in the country. Salas in the past has been nominated by President Obama to be the Wage Hour Administrator at the U.S. Department of Labor and has long been an advocate for immigration, housing and employment services. In her new role as Commissioner, she also will oversee the Office of Labor Policy and Standards, a new division within DCA.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Protect Your Identity at DCA's 9th Annual Shred Fest
Department of Consumer Affairs Promotes Identity Theft Prevention by Assisting New Yorkers in Shredding their Personal Documents
PHOTO OP: On Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, starting at 10 a.m., the Department of Consumer Affairs hosts its ninth annual Shred Fest, a paper-shredding event at 10 locations across the city.
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico today announced DCA’s ninth annual Shred Fest to help New Yorkers protect their identities. Shred Fest is a free paper-shredding citywide event that aims to increase public awareness about identity theft prevention. On Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., New Yorkers can shred their personal documents—mail, old bank statements, paycheck stubs, credit card applications, and more—for free at five locations each day throughout the five boroughs. At each location, documents will be shredded in industrial shredders with mounted TV monitors so consumers can verify that their personal materials have been properly and securely shredded. All shredded material is then securely disposed of and recycled. Shred Fest is hosted in cooperation with NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, NYC Department of Sanitation, and Municipal Credit Union, with great support from Confidential Shredding, Data-Struction, Legal Shred, Lion Cage Shredding, Shred-Up, Time Shred Services, and USA Shred.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers Against Credit and Debit Card Fraud at ATM and Credit Card Machines
Identity thieves are increasingly using devices known as “skimmers” that attach to ATMs or credit card machines and steal consumers’ credit card and PIN numbers. The device is typically a simple plastic sheath placed over the card slot that appears to be part of the machine and that reads the magnetic strip on your card and then transmits the account information or saves it until the device is retrieved. Thieves may also use a concealed wireless camera on or near the ATM or card machine to capture your PIN as you enter it. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) offers these tips to protect yourself from card skimmers.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs, Elected Officials and Brighton Beach Business Improvement District Kick Off the First of DCA's 2016 Business Education Days in Brighton Beach
Inspectors Issue Advice, Not Violations, to Local Businesses
BROOKLYN—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico, Brighton Beach Business Improvement District (BID) Executive Director Yelena Makhnin, staff from the office of Council Member Deutsch, NYC Small Business Services and NYC Department of Sanitation visited more than 100 businesses in the Brighton Beach community of Brooklyn as part of DCA’s 2016 Business Education Day series to educate businesses about key consumer protection laws and licensing requirements. DCA also shared information about the City’s Paid Sick Leave and Commuter Benefits laws.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, and Health Commissioner Bassett Announce 85 Percent Reduction in K2 Related Emergency Visits
Decrease followed stricter City laws, multi-agency enforcement efforts, and public awareness campaign
New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico today announced an 85 percent decline in synthetic cannabinoid-related emergency department visits since July 2015, when the Health Department raised the alarm about a dangerous increase in the number of New Yorkers admitted in emergency rooms due to the use of this dangerous drug, commonly known as K2.
Friday, April 1, 2016
Two Years After Mayor de Blasio Expands Paid Sick Leave to One Million New Yorkers, City's Economy Stronger Than Ever
Department of Consumer Affairs secures more than $1.7 million in fines and restitution for nearly 9,600 New Yorkers
New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio and millions of New Yorkers across the five boroughs today celebrate the second anniversary of the City’s expanded Paid Sick Leave Law, which created the legal right to sick leave for 3.4 million private and nonprofit sector workers, nearly 1.2 million of whom did not previously have access to this vital workplace benefit. These employees can now take sick leave without fear of losing pay or their job, and nearly 9,600 employees have received restitution through the City’s enforcement of the Law.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Less Than One Month Until Tax Day: City Reminds Eligible New Yorkers to File Their Taxes for Free
First Lady Chirlane McCray encourages women, mothers across five boroughs to save money, claim tax credits at one of City’s over 200 free tax prep locations
Consumer Affairs launches community-based education effort to build on last year’s historic success connecting New Yorkers to free tax prep services
New York, NY—First Lady Chirlane McCray and Department of Consumer Affairs First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico today remind New Yorkers that there is less than one month to file taxes before the April 18 deadline. They also encouraged New Yorkers, especially women and mothers across the five boroughs, who earn $62,000 or less to file their taxes for free using NYC Free Tax Prep. Studies show that women not only earn less than men but are more likely than men to be single parents with more complicated employment situations, positioning them to benefit most from free tax preparation and to claim important tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the NYC Child Care Tax Credit (NYC CCTC). The announcement coincides with the launch of the second phase of DCA’s public awareness campaign, which includes targeted community outreach.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Introduces Innovative Partnership with Employers to Integrate Free Tax Preparation Services into the Workplace
#VITAWorks: New York City is First in Nation to Partner Directly with Employers to Offer Free, Convenient Drop-Off Tax Preparation Services to Eligible Employees at Work
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico announced the expansion of its initiative supporting free tax preparation in New York City through the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to include partnerships with eight employers to make tax preparation more convenient for their employees by providing it at work. The employer-based VITA program, or NYC Free Tax Prep at Work, is the first program in the country to allow employees at partner organizations who earned $54,000 or less to file for free at work—at no cost to the employer—by using a convenient, drop-off service that takes just 20 minutes. As part of VITA Awareness Day 2016 (#VITAWorks), DCA highlights this innovative and convenient way to deliver VITA services.
Monday, March 14, 2016
Consulate General of Mexico, Department of Consumer Affairs and Citi Release New Report: Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera Provides Financial Education and Counseling to More Than 17,200 Mexican Nationals in New York City
NEW YORK - Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico, Consul General of Mexico Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain and Citi Community Development released a report today, Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera: Program Insights for the Field, showing the results of the first year of the Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera (Financial Empowerment Window).
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
National Consumer Protection Week: Department of Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers about Predatory Tax Preparer Tactics
The City Announces Results of Annual Tax Preparer Inspections and Encourages Eligible New Yorkers to File for Free
Federal, State and City Consumer Protection Authorities Recognize National Consumer Protection Week
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico today, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, issued a warning to New Yorkers about predatory tax preparer tactics, including overcharging, hidden fees and filing without permission. As part of the City’s annual tax preparer inspections, DCA conducted more than 350 targeted inspections citywide and issued violations to two in every five income tax preparers inspected. Top violations included failing to post prices for their services, misrepresenting their qualifications and violating other consumer rights. First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico also encouraged New Yorkers who earned $62,000 or less to take advantage of the City’s free tax preparation services. DCA made the announcement at a press conference with the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York, the New York State Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
America Saves Week: City Encourages New Yorkers to Use IDNYC to File Their Taxes for Free and Open a Bank Account to Save Their Refund
BRONX—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Alba Pico and Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Nisha Agarwal today joined Spring Bank President Eric Pallos and Ariva Executive Director Irene Baldwin to encourage New Yorkers to use their IDNYC to file their taxes for free and, as part of America Saves Week 2016, open a bank account where they can save their refund.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Consumer Alert: Consumer Affairs Warns Parents to Secure Video Baby Monitors
NEW YORK—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today warned parents to take the necessary steps to ensure that their internet-connected baby monitors are not vulnerable to privacy or security risks.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Kicks Off the Tax Season with Free Tax Prep and a New Ad Campaign
New Yorkers Earning $62,000 or Less Can File for Free at More Than 200 Sites Citywide or Online
NEW YORK—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today kicked off the tax season with the launch of the agency’s annual tax credit campaign. The campaign, timed to coincide with the first day the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accepts returns, features new advertisements and reflects the City’s continued commitment to enable New Yorkers who earn $62,000 or less to file their taxes for free using the City’s tax preparation services.
Monday, January 4, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Senator Schumer, Commissioners Menin and Trottenberg Remind Employers, Straphangers - Commuter Benefits Law in Effect as of January 1
City mandating employers with at least 20 full-time employees offer pre-tax commuter savings program, saving straphangers up to $800 a year
Commuters can now use up to $255 pre-tax income per month for transit expenses thanks to recent federal action
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio, Senator Charles Schumer, Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin, Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and local elected officials today took to the subway terminal at Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center to remind New Yorkers that the City’s Commuter Benefits Law is now in effect as of January 1, 2016.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs Enters into Settlement Agreement with Whole Foods
Whole Foods to Pay $500,000 and Adhere to Strict Preventive and Corrective Standards to Protect New Yorkers from Being Overcharged
Agreement Settles Investigation into the Company’s Overcharging for Pre-Packaged Foods
NEW YORK—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced a settlement agreement with Whole Foods.
Friday, December 18, 2015
City Releases Gender Pricing Study - "From Cradle To Cane: The Cost Of Being A Female Consumer"
NEW YORK— Mayor de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin today announced the results of “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer,” DCA’s first study of gender pricing disparities between goods sold in New York City. Through a comparison of nearly 800 products with clear male and female versions from more than 90 brands sold online and in stores at two dozen New York City stores, the City found that, on average, products for women cost seven percent more than similar products for men. In addition, across the entire sample, women’s products were priced higher 42 percent of the time.
Sunday, December 13, 2015
How Much Will You Save on Transit in 2016?
Council Member Garodnick, Riders Alliance, and Straphangers Campaign Help Commuters Calculate Savings
On Sunday morning, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Riders Alliance, Straphangers Campaign, and the Department of Consumer Affairs set up shop in the Union Square subway station with a giant calculator and an oversized tax chart, which they used to help riders estimate how much they could save on transit as a result of the NYC Commuter Benefits Law.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Creating an Office of Labor Standard
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed nine bills into law – Intro. 743-A, creating an Office of Labor Standards; Intros 898-A, 890-A, 900-A, 914-A, and 915-A, which strengthen and modify existing requirements related to open government data; Intro. 783-A, related to interest rates on emergency repair bills for residential buildings; Intro. 956-A, extending the Biotechnology Tax Credit; and Intro. 982-A, extending the current rate of hotel room taxes. The Mayor also held a public hearing for Intro. 314-A, which will be signed at a later date and is related to the establishment of the Department of Veterans Services.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces 2015 Holiday Shopping Tips to Help Protect Consumers in New York City
NEW YORK—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today offered Holiday Shopping Tips to protect the identity and money of New York City consumers and visitors alike. This annual effort is set to kick off the holiday shopping season just in time for Black Friday to make consumers aware of their rights and what to look for when searching for the perfect gifts.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Deputy Mayor Glen and Department of Small Business Services Announce New Services to Address Needs of Women Entrepreneurs in New York City
WE NYC Launches Educational, Mentorship and Networking Services to Respond to New Data Report, Funded by Citi
NEW YORK—In honor of International Women's Entrepreneurship Day, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, the Department of Small Business Services, and Citi today released an extensive analysis on the state of women’s entrepreneurship in New York City, and announced a corresponding set of tailored services for women entrepreneurs and small business owners as part of the City's WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs New York City) initiative.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Releases First Municipal Study on Mobile Technology and Money Management: New Yorkers Have High Mobile Phone Ownership and Mobile Banking Usage
New Yorkers Comfortable Receiving Text or Email Alerts about Banking but Privacy Concerns Exist about Sharing Personal Information
NEW YORK—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) today announced the findings of the New York City Mobile Services Study, the first study to examine mobile banking and cell phone ownership at a municipal level. The study’s findings show that New York City is a unique marketplace for mobile banking and money management innovation, as nearly all respondents owned a cell phone (96 percent), and approximately 80 percent of cell phone owners had a smartphone. These rates exceed the national averages of 87 percent and 71 percent respectively. Additionally, rates of smartphone ownership were particularly high among immigrant respondents, those who are younger (between the ages of 18 and 29), the underbanked, and those with higher incomes. The findings were released at a presentation and panel discussion today at Capital One Labs.
Monday, November 16, 2015
Consumer Affairs and Health Department Launch Public Awareness Campaign about the Dangers of K2
Campaign Launched at Half-Day Summit Addressing K2 as a Public Health Threat
NEW YORK—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett today announced the launch of the City’s public awareness campaign to educate users, potential users, caregivers, and retailers about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids, drugs commonly known as “K2.” The campaign and the jointly-hosted summit are part of the City’s multi-agency strategy to combat the sale and use of K2, a dangerous drug that can have severe health effects, including death. The sale of K2 now carries stiff civil and criminal penalties in New York City.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Department of Investigation and Business Integrity Commission Issue Joint Report on Combating Fuel Delivery Fraud and Protecting Consumers
Multi-Agency Task Force Established to Recommend and Implement Lasting Policy and Procedural Changes
Today, Mark G. Peters, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) and Daniel D. Brownell, Commissioner of the New York City Business Integrity Commission (“BIC”), issued a detailed Report on fraudulent schemes used by delivery companies that have cost the City, taxpayers, and private consumers millions of dollars annually. The Report comes in the wake of an extensive two-year investigation by BIC, the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), the New York County District Attorney’s Office and DOI. That investigation resulted in the indictments and arrests of 53 fuel delivery companies, principals, and truck drivers, as well as other fuel staff related to the shorting schemes, who are charged with routinely stealing heating oil from both private consumers and City agencies. Based on interviews with employees of the indicted delivery companies, recorded conversations, and other intelligence gathered during this investigation, it is believed that the theft comes at a cost of at least $18 million annually, with an estimated $4 million stolen annually from the City. This Report offers background on how these scams occur, warning signs for consumers, and details more than a dozen recommendations City agencies have already begun to take to deter further thefts.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
District Attorney Vance: Nine Companies, 44 Defendants Indicted In Connection with Multimillion-Dollar Heating Oil Industry Fraud
Companies and Truck Drivers Allegedly Billed Customers for More Oil Than Delivered and Resold the Surplus on the Black Market
Defrauded Customers Include Residential, Commercial, and Municipal Buildings Citywide: Schools, Hospitals, Police Precincts, Churches, City of New York
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York City Police Department Organized Crime Investigation Division (“OCID”), New York City Business Integrity Commission (“BIC”) Commissioner Daniel D. Brownell, and New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) Commissioner Mark G. Peters, in partnership with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (“NYSDTF”) today announced the indictments of nine companies and 44 individuals in connection with various schemes to defraud heating oil customers by shorting deliveries to residential, commercial, and municipal properties throughout New York City. The indicted heating oil transportation and retail companies include: F&S DISTRIBUTION, INC., G&D PETROLEUM TRANSPORTATION, INC., G&D HEATING OIL INC., CASANOVA FUEL OIL, INC., EXPRESS PETROLEUM, INC., 4th AVENUE TRANSPORT, INC., ALL-BORO TRANSPORTATION, INC., ENTERPRISE TRANSPORTATION, INC., and CENTURY STAR FUEL CORP. The indicted individuals include the principal owners of the indicted companies, three fuel depot dispatchers, and 29 truck drivers charged with taking part in the theft, resale, and purchase of stolen heating oil.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
City Secures $2.3 Million in Fines and Restitution from Nearly Two Dozen Debt Collection Agencies for Predatory and Illegal Activity
National Coalition Announces More Than 110 Actions to Combat Predatory Debt Collection Practices; 23 from NYC Department of Consumer Affairs
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin today announced that City investigations into debt collection agencies found nearly two dozen agencies were operating without a license or violating other consumer protection laws related to debt collection. In 2015, DCA entered into settlement agreements in all of the cases and secured more than $1 million in consumer restitution for nearly 4,800 consumers, as well as $1.3 million in fines. A court ruling also determined that DCA is authorized to regulate law firms that collect on debts in New York City.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Mayor de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Menin Launch Groundbreaking Investigation into Illegal Sale of Secondhand Guns
Subpoena Sent to One of Nation’s Largest Online Firearms Marketplaces
Innovative Approach Targets Sellers, Not Website Itself
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin today announced an investigation into the possible illegal and unlicensed sale of secondhand guns in New York City. On October 19, DCA issued a subpoena to ARMSLIST, one of the country’s largest online firearms marketplace for classified ads, seeking to discover whether local sellers are using the website to advertise and illegally sell secondhand arms without DCA licenses and skirting City, State and federal laws in the process. While other investigations have focused on the website, DCA is focusing on the sellers who use the website.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
New York City Hosts National Paid Sick Leave Symposium
Leaders from Across the Country Convene to Discuss the Importance of and Best Practices for Implementing and Enforcing Paid Sick Leave Laws
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Releases New Data: Approximately $837,000 Secured in Fines and Restitution for More than 6,000 Employees
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today kicks off “Making Paid Sick Leave Work: Sharing Strategies,” a national symposium convening jurisdictions who are enforcing, preparing to implement, or considering paid sick leave laws. The two-day event, beginning on October 29, addresses the importance of paid sick leave laws, the challenges and best practices for implementing and enforcing these laws, and frames paid sick leave movement from a national perspective. Leaders from 16 jurisdictions across the country are expected to attend the event, which features keynote speakers, panel discussions, and practitioner workshops. The event, held at the Ford Foundation, is hosted in partnership with the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for public policies and programs at the federal, state, and local levels to reduce poverty and create ladders to opportunity for all. At the event, DCA is announcing new data on its enforcement of New York City’s Paid Sick Leave Law, which includes securing approximately $837,000 in restitution and fines for more than 6,000 employees.
Monday, October 26, 2015
City Gears Up for the Expansion of Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits with Launch of Public Education and Outreach Campaign
NYC Commuter Benefits Law Saves Employers and Employees Money; Straphangers Can Save up to Approximately $400 a Year on Monthly Metrocards using Pre-Tax Income
Campaign Ads Play on Humorous and Relatable Commuting Situations to Inform Employers and Employees that “There’s a Better Way to Work” with Commuter Benefits
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin today announced the launch of the City’s public education and outreach campaign to help employers and employees understand their responsibilities and rights under the NYC Commuter Benefits Law. The law, which goes into effect January 1, 2016, requires for-profit and nonprofit employers with 20 or more full-time employees in New York City to offer commuter benefits. Employers can save by reducing payroll taxes and employees can lower their monthly expenses by using pre-tax income to pay for their commute.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Mayor de Blasio Signs K2 Legislation into Law to Criminalize Sale and Production
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed into law three new bills to curb the use of K2 and increase violations for those who seek to sell or manufacture this chemical mixture. The three bills are part of a multi-agency enforcement, education and prevention strategy against K2. This strategy aims to reduce the presence and use of K2 by aggressively cracking down on suppliers while offering supportive services and treatment to users in need.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs Legislation on Air Conditioning Regulation for Businesses and Package of Criminal Justice Bills
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today signed nine pieces of legislation into law – Intro. 850-A, related to air conditioning systems; Intros 643-A, 706-A, 753-A, 758-A, 766-A and 768-A, require various reporting with respect to inmates in the custody of the Department of Correction; Intro. 784-A, which requires that new inmates are provided with a bill of rights; and Intro. 767-A, which requires the DOC to publicly post its use of force policies.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Releases New Reports: 1.14 Million Households in NYC are Unbanked or Underbanked; More Than Half of New Yorkers Don't Have Adequate Savings for an Emergency
70,000 More Households Have Bank Accounts; Use of Alternative Financial Services Increasing
Studies and Interactive Map Prepared by Urban Institute Offer First Glimpse at Perceived Financial Security and the Use of Banks on a Neighborhood Level across the City
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced the results of two new studies—Where Are the Unbanked and Underbanked in New York City? and How Do New Yorkers Perceive Their Financial Security?—that look at New Yorkers’ use of banks and their perception of financial security. The research shows that in 2013, 11.7 percent of households in New York City (360,000 households) did not have bank accounts, surpassing the national figure of 7.7 percent. An additional 780,000 households, or one in four, were underbanked meaning they had a bank account but also used alternative financial services. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of households without a bank account decreased but the number of underbanked households increased. Additionally, more than half of New Yorkers reported that they didn’t have enough savings to weather an emergency and one in three reported having too much debt. To better understand New Yorkers’ use of banks and sense of financial health and develop more effective future programming and products, DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) commissioned the Urban Institute to conduct the studies and develop the accompanying interactive map depicting the data. It is the first effort to capture and compare the unbanked, underbanked, and levels of perceived financial security in New York City’s 55 neighborhoods.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Mayor de Blasio Announces Multi-Agency Strategy to End Sale and Use of K2, Linked to Recent Spike in Emergency Room Visits
Dismantled a citywide drug distribution ring in partnership with DEA, seizing over two tractor trailers worth of “K2” from processing facilities, arresting six suppliers, and conducting enforcement actions at over 80 bodegas
Administration partnering with City Council to criminalize the sale of K2
City to create public awareness campaign, uniform treatment protocols and targeted public health interventions to educate the public and ensure rapid and high-quality treatment
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a multi-agency strategy to reduce demand and supply for synthetic cannabinoids, often known by the brand name “K2.” To end the sale of a harmful drug that has led to a recent spike in emergency room visits, this multi-agency effort has already seized over 200 kilograms of the drug from sellers, is educating users and potential users about the dangers of using K2, and is working with the City Council to develop legislation to criminalize the sale of K2.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
De Blasio Administration Releases Mayor's Management Report for Fiscal Year 2015
Decreases in major felony crime, fire fatalities, traffic fatalities, police misconduct complaint, children entering foster care
Increase in immigration assistance for undocumented youth, small businesses, housing construction starts
NEW YORK—The de Blasio administration today released the Mayor’s Management Report (MMR) for fiscal year 2015, an analysis of City agencies’ performance from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. In fiscal year 2015, 57 percent of indicators show improved or stable performance, compared to 59 percent in fiscal year 2014 and 53 percent in fiscal year 2013. For critical indicators, 57 percent show improved or stable performance, compared to 57 percent in fiscal year 2014 and 49 percent in fiscal year 2013. The MMR reports more than 2,000 metrics for city agencies, showing the City’s performance in providing services to New Yorkers.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Labor Rights Week: Department of Consumer Affairs Announces Initial Results of Its Multipronged Approach to Combat Predatory Employment Agencies
Consumer Affairs Releases Multilingual Job Hunter’s Bill of Rights
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced the results of its multipronged and aggressive approach into predatory employment agencies as part of Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to reduce inequality in New York City. In the first year of the new approach, DCA initiated more than 225 investigations into licensed and unlicensed employment agencies, issued more than 400 violations, and secured more than $77,000 in restitution for 269 consumers who were charged illegal and predatory fees. The announcement coincides with Labor Rights Week, during which DCA has also released its new multilingual Job Hunter’s Bill of Rights, enabling New Yorkers looking for a job at an employment agency know their rights.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
NYC Department of Small Business Services and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Celebrate 3000th Business to Open Faster with Assistance from NYC Business Acceleration
City Launches Online Tool to Help New and Existing Businesses Avoid Top Violations, Penalties, and Fines
NEW YORK—The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, along with the Mayor's Office of Veteran's Affairs and the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC), today celebrated the grand opening of Bill Baker's, the 3,000th new business to open with the support of the Department of Small Business Services' NYC Business Acceleration services, as well as other free services available through the City and Chamber. NYC Business Acceleration helps businesses open their doors faster by guiding them through government licensing, permitting and compliance, and providing support, should any problems arise in the process. The program has helped more than 3,000 businesses to date, creating more than 44,000 employment opportunities. Businesses that have taken advantage of the program have opened an average of 33 percent faster, or 75 days earlier than businesses that did not use the service.
Friday, July 31, 2015
De Blasio Administration Reduces Fines Assessed by Consumer Affairs on Businesses in Half, Cuts Violations Issued by One Third Over Past Year
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin today announced onerous fines assessed on small businesses have been cut in half, surpassing the Mayoral pledge to reduce fines by $5 million. Fines assessed have declined from $32.5 million to just over $15.7 million, and violations reduced from 19,409 to 11,923.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs Encourages Businesses to "Shut the Front Door!" when the Air Conditioning is On
Hundreds of Volunteers Take to the Streets and Social Media to Ask Businesses to #BeCoolSaveFuel by Reducing Carbon Emissions While Also Saving on Electricity Costs
City and Council Work to Strengthen Existing Air Conditioning Law
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced a major education and outreach effort to encourage businesses to “Shut the Front Door!” when their air conditioning is on. Today more than 200 volunteers will visit nearly 45 business corridors throughout the five boroughs to educate businesses about the environmental and financial impacts of keeping their doors open while running the air conditioning. The campaign also includes efforts to strengthen the existing law, a multilingual informational flyer, social media engagement using #BeCoolSaveFuel, signs for businesses to post that they are proud to “Shut the Front Door!,” and advertisements on bus shelters and phone kiosks.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Mayor de Blasio Signs "Fair Chance Act"
NEW YORK – Mayor de Blasio today signed into law eight pieces of legislation – Intro. 318-A, in relation to prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s arrest record or criminal conviction; Intro. 125-B, in relation to licensing car wash businesses; and Intros 456-A, 723-A, 724-A, 725-A, 726-A, and 729-A, related to the City’s outreach and accessibility efforts for small businesses.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs Investigation Uncovers Systemic Overcharging for Pre-packaged Foods at City's Whole Foods
Expanded Investigation to Examine the Extent of the Chain’s Overcharging for Pre-Packaged Foods
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced an ongoing investigation into Whole Foods after finding that the company’s New York City stores routinely overstated the weights of its pre-packaged products – including meats, dairy and baked goods – resulting in customers being overcharged. DCA tested packages of 80 different types of pre-packaged products and found all of the products had packages with mislabeled weights. Additionally, 89 percent of the packages tested did not meet the federal standard for the maximum amount that an individual package can deviate from the actual weight, which is set by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The overcharges ranged from $0.80 for a package of pecan panko to $14.84 for a package of coconut shrimp.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
A.G. Schneiderman Announces Nearly $14 Million Settlement With NYC And Westchester Auto Dealerships For Deceptive Practices That Resulted In Inflated Car Prices
AG Investigation Uncovered Alleged Fraud At Paragon Dealerships, Two In Queens And One In Westchester; Agreement Returns $13.5 Million In Restitution To 15,000 Consumers
AG Announces Intent To Sue An Additional Eleven Auto Dealers Across New York City, Westchester And Long Island As Probe Continues
A.G. Schneiderman: Deceptive Tactics Used By Some Car Dealers Cheats New Yorkers; Cannot Be Tolerated
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a multi-million dollar settlement with three car dealerships, Paragon Motors of Woodside, Inc., d/b/a Paragon Honda; Worldwide Motors Ltd., d/b/a Paragon Acura; and Civic Center Motors Ltd., d/b/a White Plains Honda. The agreement, which returns more than $13.5 million in restitution to consumers, concludes an investigation into these dealerships for alleged unlawful sale of credit repair and identity theft prevention services, and other “after-sale” items to 15,000 consumers – items that in some cases added more than $2,000 in hidden costs and fees onto the sale or lease price of a single vehicle. The Paragon dealerships, which are jointly owned, claim to be the largest combined Honda dealership in the country. Under a consent order agreement signed by the company, they will also pay $325,000 in penalties, fees and costs to New York State.
Friday, May 15, 2015
De Blasio Administration Announces Multifaceted Effort to Address Labor Abuses and Health Risks at City's Nail Salons
Comprehensive advocacy and outreach efforts to businesses, workers and consumers is part of City’s dedicated efforts to protect vulnerable New Yorkers
Immediate steps include investigations of the industry’s products; May 21 ‘Day of Action’ to educate New Yorkers about their rights and responsibilities; letter to FDA and petition to salon industry to ban use of ‘Toxic Trio’ of chemicals in nail products; and more
City partnering with key elected officials to maximize outreach across the city
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced an aggressive advocacy and educational initiative by the City to immediately address labor and health issues at local salons, support salon workers, and educate businesses and consumers.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces Exclusive Data About Identity Theft in New York City as Part of the Inaugural Identity Theft Prevention Week
8th Annual Shred Fest Kicks Off its First-ever Identity Theft Prevention Week
Events to Address Identity Theft of Seniors and Victims of Domestic Violence
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced its first Identity Theft Prevention Week, which will commence on Saturday, May 16 with the 8th Annual Shred Fest and educate New Yorkers about how to protect their identities. As part of the announcement, DCA worked with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to compile never-before-released data about identity theft in New York City. DCA has also coordinated events with numerous partners to address identity theft for seniors and victims of domestic violence, two groups who are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of identity theft crimes.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers about Advertising by Home Improvement Contractors that Claim Energy Savings
Consumer Affairs Settles Charges with Renewal by Andersen Garden State Custom Windows, LLC for Deceptive Advertising
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today issued a warning to New Yorkers about deceptive advertising by home improvement contractors that make claims about energy savings and offers of free goods or services without defining the conditions. A contractor cannot advertise claims about the energy efficiency of its work without provable facts if conditions are beyond their control. Also, as required by New York City law, a business that offers a “free” good or service must clearly state the conditions of the offer next to the word “free” and the condition must be at least half the font size of the word “free” in the ad. The warning comes on the heels of DCA’s settlement with Garden State Custom Windows, LLC (d/b/a Renewal by Andersen), a New Jersey-based contractor with a DCA home improvement contractor license to operate in New York City that also does work in Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and several New Jersey counties.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Senator Klein, Assemblyman Moya, and Justice for Job Seekers Campaign Release Investigative Report into Employment Agencies
Results of Undercover Investigation Shows Shady and Fraudulent Practices of NYC Agencies Preying on Immigrants
New Legislation Would Crackdown on Illicit Activity by Agencies
NEW YORK – State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights), together with the Justice for Job Seekers Campaign, State Senator Diane Savino (Staten Island/Brooklyn), NYC Councilmember Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), immigrant rights advocates and community groups, released the results of an undercover investigation into the unscrupulous and fraudulent practices occurring at New York City employment agencies in lower Manhattan Thursday.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Senators Klein & Savino Reveal Top Predatory Subprime Auto Lending Practices in New York
Investigative report proposes legislative remedies to tricky tactics, fraudulent practices and deceptive scams unscrupulous city car dealers are using to prey on financially vulnerable New Yorkers
Queens, NY— Independent Democratic Conference Leader State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and State Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) on Thursday released an investigative report, “Road to Credit Danger: Predatory Subprime Auto Lending in New York.” Senators Klein and Savino, joined by NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin, Queens District Attorney Auto Crime and Insurance Fraud Unit Chief ADA Mary Lowenburg, consumer attorneys and predatory subprime auto lending victims, exposed top tactics currently employed in predatory subprime auto lending.
Monday, April 20, 2015
The Consulate General of Mexico, the Department of Consumer Affairs, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and Citi Announce Expansion of the Ventanilla De Asesoría Financiera to Bring Financial Counseling to Mexican Communities Across the Nation
The First Anniversary of the Financial Counseling Window Kicks Off the Consulate’s Financial Education Week 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin, Consul General of Mexico Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) President Jonathan Mintz and Citi today announced the expansion of the Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera (Financial Counseling Window), which offers free, one-on-one financial counseling, to other Mexican Consulates across the United States as part of the first anniversary celebration of the Ventanilla. The celebration also kicked off the Consulate’s fourth Financial Education Week. Over the past year, the Ventanilla has offered financial empowerment resources to more than 26,000 people, one-on-one financial counseling to nearly 1,500 Mexican New Yorkers, and hosted workshops. The Ventanilla provides access to a broad network of services at the Consulate and helps Mexican nationals and families living in New York City achieve greater financial security. The program is made possible through generous support from Citi Community Development in partnership with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and counseling services are provided by ARIVA.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
City's Expanded Tax Credit Campaign Pays Off Big for New Yorkers
50 percent more of City’s eligible New Yorkers filed for free through network of tax prep sites, nearly $250 million in projected tax credits and tax-preparer-fee savings will go into pockets of hardworking families
New Yorkers who haven’t filed their taxes yet should visit nyc.gov/taxprep to get more information and find sites that are still open
NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced that the City will help approximately 145,000 New Yorkers with low incomes file their taxes for free and claim important tax credits including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the NYC Child Care Tax Credit – ultimately translating to nearly $250 million in refunds and savings for New Yorkers this season. This represents a 50 percent increase from 96,000 filers last year – more filers than any year since the campaign began 13 years ago.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Mayor de Blasio and A.G. Schneiderman Announce Joint Task Force to Combat Immigration Services Fraud
Coordinated Enforcement Effort Will Hold Fraudsters Accountable and Encourage Victims to Come Forward
Part of Nationwide Effort to Support President Obama’s Immigration Reform by Combating Those Who Take Advantage of Vulnerable Immigrants
NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the formation of a new joint task force to target those who prey on immigrants, while encouraging victims of fraud to come forward without fear.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
One Year Later, City's Paid Sick Leave Law Working for New Yorkers
Paid Sick Leave is a critical step in improving the lives of working New Yorkers, protecting the City’s public health, and setting a national example of how cities can be at the forefront of protecting vulnerable Americans
NEW YORK— New York City’s landmark paid sick leave law, which turns one year old today, has been implemented smoothly and effectively by the City, bringing this important worker benefit to millions of employees in the five boroughs. One of Mayor de Blasio’s first actions as Mayor was to strengthen and expand the City’s yet-to-be-implemented Earned Sick Leave Act (also known as the Paid Sick Leave Law), to include over 500,000 more New Yorkers who weren’t already covered. Mayor de Blasio accelerated the law’s implementation to April 1, 2014. He also expanded the law to include manufacturing workers who had been exempted, as well as the definition of covered family members to include grandparents, grandchildren and siblings.
Monday, March 23, 2015
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Creates New Car Loan Initiative to Help Curb Predatory Subprime Loans and Abusive Dealer Financing Practices for Used Car Buyers with Low Incomes
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced a new initiative to create a safer loan product for qualified secondhand auto borrowers and to help them avoid financial ruin by predatory loans. Often, borrowers with low credit scores are targeted and sold predatory loans characterized by higher interest rates and less favorable terms. Studies show that these loans, which are similar to those that were blamed for the country’s mortgage crisis, are growing at a staggering rate of more than 130 percent in recent years. In addition, many consumers who obtain these loans believe the dealer has negotiated the best rate for them and are unaware they are actually paying to increase the dealer’s profit margin. Dealer markups provide an incentive to sell consumers unwanted add-ons to increase the amount of financing on a loan and the related mark-up.
Friday, March 13, 2015
Consumer Affairs, Citi and Parsons Launch Initiative to Improve Access to Free Tax Preparation Services for New Yorkers
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin, Citi’s Global Director of Community Development Bob Annibale, Parsons The New School for Design DESIS Lab Director Eduardo Staszowski, and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Executive Director Darren Bloch today announced the initial findings from Designing for Financial Empowerment, an initiative aimed at developing a new approach to free tax preparation services in New York City. During the first phase of the initiative, researchers uncovered factors that may explain why nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) choose to pay for tax preparation rather than take advantage of the City’s free tax preparation services.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
One Month Left Until Tax Day: Department of Consumer Affairs Reminds New Yorkers to File Taxes by April 15 and to Use the City's Free Services and Claim Tax Credits
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today reminds New Yorkers that this Sunday marks one month left to file taxes before the April 15 deadline. Commissioner Menin also encourages New Yorkers who made $60,000 or less last year to file for free with the City’s tax preparation services, which include nearly 200 in-person sites, drop-off sites and online preparation at nyc.gov/taxprep, to claim important tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the NYC Child Care Tax Credit, and enroll in the City’s tax-time savings program called SaveUSA.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Consumers Beware! Department of Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers about 10 Worst Everyday Scams and How to Avoid Them
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Menin today, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, announced 10 scams that New Yorkers should beware of and offered tips to protect themselves and their families. DCA made the announcement at a press conference with the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York, the New York State Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs Finds One in Four New York City Tax Preparers Not Compliant with Consumer Protection Law
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced the results of a three-week enforcement sweep of income tax preparers throughout the City. Out of the nearly 600 tax preparers inspected, one in four were in violation of the New York City Consumer Protection Law for failing to post qualifications, fees, and disclosures in all languages in which the preparer advertises, for failing to inform consumers that every return filed must be signed, and for not providing consumers with a copy of New York City’s Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
De Blasio Administration Announces 'Small Business First' To Reduce Regulatory Burden On City's Small Businesses
NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced Small Business First, a comprehensive plan to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses in New York City. Small Business First will simplify the regulatory landscape many small businesses confront in the establishment and ongoing operation of their businesses by improving communication between business owners and City government; streamlining licensing, permitting and tribunal processes; providing support and resources to help businesses understand and comply with City regulations; and ensuring assistance is accessible to all communities across the five boroughs. This is a $27 million dollar investment starting now through Fiscal Year 2019. Ultimately, the reforms outlined in Small Business First will make it easier to achieve compliance with City regulations, saving businesses time and money. The initiative is led by the Mayor’s Office of Operations and the Department of Small Business Services, with more than 15 partnering City agencies.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Food Bank For New York City and Citi Expand Integration of Financial Empowerment Services into School-Based Anti-Hunger Programs
Food Bank For New York City announced the expansion of an innovative pilot program designed to integrate free financial empowerment services into its signature hunger relief programs, enabling more low-income families across the city to access a suite of holistic financial coaching and food assistance services in a single location. With support from Citi, these free financial empowerment services – which are modeled after the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs’ citywide financial empowerment initiative – are now serving 18 schools in conjunction with its citywide network of food pantries and soup kitchens. Offerings include a range of services, such as debt management and reduction, household and food budgeting, bank accounts, tax preparation, SNAP (formerly food stamps) screenings and more. In addition, Citi announced a continuation of its support of the Financial Empowerment in Schools program with an additional $200,000 in 2015 to deepen the initiative’s work in the 18 operating schools, bringing Citi’s total commitment to the Food Bank on this and other related programs to $700,000.
Monday, February 2, 2015
Time to File Income Tax Returns – Tens of Thousands of New Yorkers Can Do It for Free!
NEW YORK, NY-City, state, and federal consumer advocates, backed by dedicated volunteers, gathered in Brooklyn today to kick off the tax season and spread the word that tens of thousands of taxpayers in the five boroughs can file their income tax returns for free at one of the city's nearly 200 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. The VITA program, an IRS initiative, provides free tax preparation to individuals and families with an annual income of $53,000 or less (with children) or $18,000 or less (no children).
Saturday, January 31, 2015
De Blasio Administration Launches City's Largest Earned Income Tax Credit Campaign, Invests City Money in Tax Prep Centers for First Time Ever
NEW YORK- Mayor Bill de Blasio and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin today announced the largest public education and outreach tax credit campaign in the City's history. Today is the first-ever Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day of Action, an extensive day of outreach where more than 2,000 volunteers are calling New Yorkers to encourage them to file their taxes for free and claim refund-boosting tax credits. As a service to eligible New Yorkers, the City will contact more than 270,000 New Yorkers through phone calls and automated calls. This year, the City is for the first time, funding the free tax preparation partners, which will allow for an expansion of the City's network of sites to nearly 200 locations citywide, 60 more than last year, as well as increased staffing at partnering sites. The City has also launched a wide-reaching, targeted advertising and social media and texting campaign to reach eligible New Yorkers, including the estimated one in five households who are eligible for EITC but don't claim it.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Department of Consumer Affairs Secures Nearly $1 Million in Consumer Restitution from Debt Collection Agency That Illegally Collected on Payday Loans
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced a record-breaking settlement with National Credit Adjusters (NCA), a debt collection agency formerly licensed by DCA that collected on illegal payday loans from New Yorkers. NCA agreed to pay $962,800 in consumer restitution to at least 4,663 New Yorkers, the highest amount of restitution ever secured by DCA through settlement. NCA must also notify eligible New Yorkers that they are owed money and submit requests to the credit reporting agencies to delete the negative information they provided for those New Yorkers. The agreement requires the company to stop collecting all debts in New York City. NCA is also banned from applying for a debt collection agency license in New York City for at least six years, and is ordered to pay $350,000 in fines.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS ISSUES 8 TIPS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR CREDIT CARD AND AVOID DEBT
Monday, November 24, 2014
ASSEMBLYMEMBER RON KIM AND LEGAL AID SOCIETY TARGETS PREDATORY TOWING
Monday, November 17, 2014
DCA LAUNCHES FIRST-TIME INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE PREDATORY SUBPRIME LOANS BY LOCAL USED CAR DEALERSHIPS WITH A FOCUS ON PREDATORY LENDING TARGETED AT NEW YORKERS WITH LOW INCOMES
Thursday, November 13, 2014
IN A PRECEDENT-SETTING CASE, JUDGE RULES REAL ESTATE COMPANY MUST INFORM RENTERS ABOUT CREDIT CHECKS
Monday, November 10, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND MAYOR'S OFFICE OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS URGE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO FINALIZE AND STRENGTHEN NEW REGULATIONS TO PROTECT MILITARY FAMILIES FROM PREDATORY CREDIT PRODUCTS
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Mayor de Blasio Signs Executive Order to Increase Living Wage and Expand it to Thousands More Workers
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS ISSUES TIPS TO HELP YOU KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AT THE SUPERMARKET REGISTER
Thursday, August 28, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS ISSUES TIPS TO GET AN 'A' IN BACK-TO-SCHOOL SHOPPING
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
NEW YORK CITY'S DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO THE SALE OF UNREPAIRED RECALLED USED CARS, AGGRESSIVELY PROTECTING NEW YORKERS FROM POTENTIALLY FATAL DEFECTS
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
NEW YORKERS CAN BEGIN USING PAID SICK LEAVE TOMORROW, JULY 30th
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
MAYOR DE BLASIO, DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MENIN, CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS, AND OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS HOLD 'PAID SICK LEAVE DAY' TO BRING AWARENESS TO MORE THAN ONE MILLION WORKERS
Monday, June 16, 2014
STATEMENT FROM CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JULIE MENIN ON ATTORNEY GENERAL SCHNEIDERMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT CAPITAL ONE WILL STOP USING CHEXSYSTEMS TO EVALUATE CONSUMER'S CREDIT RISK ALLOWING MORE NEW YORKERS TO OPEN BANK ACCOUNTS
Friday, June 13, 2014
Low Wage Worker Advocates Applaud Senator Savino
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Mayor de Blasio Appoints Julie Menin as Commissioner of Department of Consumer Affairs
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Mayor de Blasio Signs Paid Sick Leave Bill into Law in New York City
Monday, March 10, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF MEXICO IN NEW YORK CUT THE RIBBON ON THE VENTANILLA DE ASESORÍA FINANCIERA TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL COUNSELING SERVICES TO MEXICAN NEW YORKERS
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
THE CITY MAKES IT EASIER FOR NEW YORKERS TO FILE TAXES FOR FREE WITH MORE SITES THAN EVER BEFORE AND VIRTUAL SITES WHERE FILERS CAN DROP OFF TAX DOCUMENTS AND PICK UP COMPLETED RETURNS LATER