News

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Warns New Yorkers about Scams Related to COVID-19
NEW YORK – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today warned New Yorkers of scams related to COVID-19 to protect consumers’ identity and money.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Extends Emergency Price Gouging Rule and Proposes New Permanent Rule
NEW YORK – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the Agency has extended its emergency price gouging Rule, which was scheduled to expire this week, for an additional 60 days. Under the emergency Rule, price gouging is illegal for any personal or household good or any service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat COVID-19. As part of the extension, DCWP has also proposed a new permanent Rule, which contemplates future emergencies by making price gouging illegal for any products or services essential to health, safety and welfare.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020
TLC Launches Resource Center Offering Legal, Financial and other Services to Hard Hit Drivers, Owners
NEW YORK – The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) launched its Driver Resource Center (https://portal.driverresourcecenter.tlc.nyc.gov) May 12, offering a wide range of services to all TLC-licensed drivers and medallion owner-drivers.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Urges New Yorkers to Use its Free Financial Resources During COVID-19
New Yorkers Encouraged to Get Their Stimulus Payments Faster and Safer with Direct Deposit; IRS Deadline to Enter Direct Deposit Information Wednesday at Noon
NEW YORK – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today urged New Yorkers to access their financial empowerment resources and to get their Economic Impact Payment by direct deposit because its faster and safer. Anyone who filed their 2019 (or 2018) tax return and did not provide direct deposit information, must enter account information by noon on Wednesday, May 13 to get their payment by direct deposit. DCWP has various resources and services to help New Yorkers navigate financial hardships, including information about stimulus payments and how to access them, dealing with debt collectors, free financial counseling by phone, virtual tax preparation, and information about opening a bank account and student loan payments.


Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Launches Remote NYC Free Tax Prep Services
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the Agency is now offering remote free tax prep services with NYC Free Tax Prep. New Yorkers who earned $64,000 or less in 2019 are eligible for Virtual Free Tax Preparation with a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) certified preparer. New Yorkers who earned $69,000 or less in 2019 are eligible for free Assisted Self-Preparation. Taxpayers have an additional three months to file their taxes with the deadline being extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Prosecutes Three More Repeat Price Gougers
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas announced the Department has filed three additional cases against repeat offenders for knowingly increasing prices in violation of DCWP’s price gouging regulations under the City’s Consumer Protection Law. DCWP issued violations for selling face masks, bleach, disinfectant wipes and other products at drastically increased prices—for example, a business charging a consumer $27.99 for an 8 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer. The cases will be heard at the City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) where DCWP is seeking a total of up to $55,500 in fines.


Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Salas Prosecute Repeat Price Gougers
City files three additional lawsuits against price gouging violators, seeking up to $101,500 in fines
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the Department has filed three additional cases against repeat price gougers for knowingly increasing prices in violation of DCWP’s regulations under the City’s Consumer Protection Law. DCWP issued a total of 203 violations to three businesses for selling face masks, hand sanitizer, cough medicine and other products at drastically increased prices. In one particularly egregious example, one business was charging a consumer $20.00 for one N95 face mask. The cases will be heard at the City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) where DCWP is seeking a total of up to $101,500 in fines. On March 25, DCWP filed its first case against a repeat offender of its price gouging regulations.


Friday, March 27, 2020
New York City and Others Call on Delivery Companies to Enhance Worker Protection Policies
New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle Urge FedEx, UPS and XPO to Expand Worker Protections for Delivery Workers During Public Health Crisis
NEW YORK, NY – NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and several other cities are calling on delivery companies, including United Parcel Service (UPS), Fed Ex Corporation and XPO Logistics to expand worker protections to address the public health crisis. After learning that workers are being forced to show up to work despite showing COVID-19 symptoms due to fear of retaliation, DCWP urged the delivery companies to revise their sick leave policy to address public health concerns. Participating cities include New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle. This multi-city effort was developed in partnership with Public Rights Project, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting state and local law offices and enforcement agencies enhance capacity to enforce civil, economic, and environmental rights of their residents.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Salas Target Repeat Price Gougers Preying on New Yorkers
DCWP files case against Metro Drugs for $37,500 for price gouging of face masks; City has received 4,000 complaints and issued 1,000 violations total since March 5th
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the Department filed a case against Metro Drugs (931 Lexington Avenue) for knowingly increasing the price of face masks in violation of DCWP’s price gouging regulations under the City’s Consumer Protection Law. DCWP inspected Metro Drugs twice and both times the pharmacy was selling face masks at drastically increased prices—as high as $200 for 20 masks. In total, DCWP received 23 complaints about Metro Drugs and issued them 75 violations for price gouging of face masks. The case will be heard at the City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) where DCWP is seeking up to $37,500 in fines. This is the first of several cases that DCWP will be filing against repeat offenders of its price gouging regulations.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Issues Emergency Rule That Makes Price Gouging Illegal for Any Item or Service Needed to Limit the Spread of Coronavirus
The Rule Follows the Department’s Declarations and Expands Protections for Consumers During the Public Health Emergency
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the Agency has promulgated an emergency Rule under the City’s Consumer Protection Law that makes price gouging illegal for any personal or household good or any service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat new coronavirus (COVID-19). The Rule (NYC Administrative Code 20-701(b)) is in effect and makes it illegal to increase prices by 10 percent or more. The Rule follows DCWP’s previous declaration that face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes are in short supply and expands the Agency’s ability to protect New Yorkers from price gouging.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Report Cautions NYC Veterans About Enrolling in For-Profit Schools
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas announced the release of a report titled “Ill Served: Why NYC Veterans Should Use Extra Caution When Choosing a For-Profit School.” The report explores the historical relationship between veterans and for-profit institutions, how well for-profit schools serve veterans, and if for-profit schools are a sound investment for veterans looking to pursue higher education. This is the first in what will be a series of reports about communities who are most vulnerable to student loan debt and/or are vulnerable to predatory targeting by for-profit schools.


Monday, March 9, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Declares Hand Sanitizer and Disinfectant Wipes Temporarily in Short Supply
Department Declares Additional Items in Short Supply to Protect Consumers from Price Gouging.
NEW YORK –Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that, in addition to face masks, she is declaring hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes temporarily in short supply to prevent stores from overcharging New Yorkers. The declaration, which will go into effect tomorrow, makes it temporarily illegal to drastically increase prices.


Monday, March 9, 2020
Mayor de Blasio Updates New Yorkers on City's COVID-19 Response
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio today updated New Yorkers on the City's response efforts regarding COVID-19. There are now 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City.


Thursday, March 5, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Announces Proposed Debt Collection Rules to Protection Two Million Limited English Proficiency Consumers
The Department’s Proposed Rules Will Prohibit Debt Collection Agencies from Engaging in Deceptive Conduct Targeted at LEP Consumers
NEW YORK – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas announced today new proposed rules to protect Limited English Proficiency (LEP) consumers from deceptive debt collection practices. The proposed rules would require debt collection agencies to inform consumers if language access services are available, prohibit the false, inaccurate or partial translation of any debt collection communications, and to maintain records relating to the language preferences of the consumers. DCWP made the announcement at a National Consumer Protection Week press conference with multiple federal, state, and city agencies.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Declares Face Masks Temporarily in Short Supply to Protect New Yorkers From Price Gouging
NEW YORK – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that she is declaring face masks temporarily in short supply to prevent stores from overcharging New Yorkers. Although health officials advise against the purchase of face masks for healthy individuals, the shortage continues. The declaration, which will be in effect tomorrow, makes it temporarily illegal to drastically increase prices.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Mayor de Blasio Updates New Yorkers on City's COVID-19 Preparedness
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio today updated New Yorkers on the City’s preparedness efforts regarding COVID-19. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in partnership with New York City Emergency Management, has distributed guidance to all agencies and partners. The Mayor has convened four agency wide tabletops to discuss these preparations. This week, all city agencies that oversee congregate and community spaces are implementing enhanced cleaning guidance modeled after the Department of Education’s enhanced protocols.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Salas Announce Paid Sick Leave Settlement with Chipotle
Agreement requires Chipotle to rehire worker and provide $2500 in restitution; DCWP’s larger Fair Workweek and Paid Safe and Sick Leave investigation into Chipotle remains ongoing
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced a settlement agreement with Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. for illegally firing an employee at the East 14th Street location in Manhattan for using sick leave. In addition to retaliating against the worker for exercising her right to sick leave, which is illegal under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, DCWP’s investigation found that she was not paid for leave that she used to take care of her family and for her own illness. The worker was referred to DCWP by SEIU Local 32BJ in January, and DCWP fast-tracked the investigation to get her back to work as soon as possible.


Thursday, February 20, 2020
City will provide relief for 1st time fines and expand violations subject to cure periods Fix It, Don't Fine It: City Expands Relief for Small Businesses
City will provide relief for 1st time fines and expand violations subject to cure periods
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the City is expanding relief for small businesses, including eliminating fines for first time violations and expanding the universe of violations that will have cure periods. As announced at the Mayor’s State of the City, the de Blasio Administration has cut small business fines by over 40 percent since 2014 and will cut an additional 10 percent by the time the Mayor leaves office. The Administration has put over $100 million back in the pockets of small business owners, and this relief will raise the amount of money saved yearly from $20 million to $26 million.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Mayor de Blasio's Fair Workweek Law Stands Up in Court
New York State Supreme Court rules State law does not preempt City's Fair Workweek Law
NEW YORK – Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and Corporation Counsel James E. Johnson announced that the New York State Supreme Court has upheld New York City's Fair Workweek Law and ruled that the law is not pre-empted by New York State wage and hour laws. The International Franchise Association, Restaurant Law Center, and the New York State Restaurant Association challenged the City's law as it applies to fast food workers, claiming it conflicted with, and was broadly preempted by state labor law. In rejecting the claims, and upholding the law, the Court acknowledged that New York City's purpose in passing the law was to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation by unpredictable scheduling.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Announces Expansion of Financial Empowerment Centers Across the City
NEW YORK – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the expansion of its network of NYC Financial Empowerment Centers, which offer free, professional one-on-one financial counseling. There are now more than double the number of Centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and counseling in additional languages. DCWP now has 34 Centers in all five boroughs and nearly all counselors are bilingual, speaking English, Spanish, Russian, and Haitian Creole. Centers are open to anyone over the age of 18, who lives or works in NYC and counselors can help their clients tackle debt, save for the future, open a bank account, improve credit, navigate student loan debt, and much more.


Thursday, January 23, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Kicks Off the 2020 Tax Season With Continued Expansion of NYC Free Tax Prep
NEW YORK – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today kicked off the 2020 tax season with the launch of the Agency’s 18th annual tax season initiative 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.


Thursday, January 9, 2020
De Blasio Administration Secures Nearly $500,000 in Restitution for 4,500 Home Health Aides
New settlements part of Department of Consumer and Worker Protection’s major investigation into industry compliance with the New York City Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced settlement agreements with 11 home care agencies to resolve violations of the New York City Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law that had previously been filed at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). The settlements require the agencies to pay nearly $450,000 in restitution to more than 4,100 home health aides. These settlements also require the agencies to pay nearly $122,000 in civil penalties, identify and implement a compliance officer, train managerial staff, and post and distribute the Notice of Employee Rights to all employees.