Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Issues Tips for Smart Back-to-School Shopping
NEW YORK, NY – The first day of school is just around the corner and stores are filled with back-to-school promotions. The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) has tips to help you save money and teach your children about making smart financial decisions.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Nation’s Top Consumer Complaints
Washington, D.C. — Auto-related problems continued to top the list of most common complaints in the latest report from the annual survey of state and local consumer agencies conducted by Consumer Federation of America (CFA). Thirty-five agencies from twenty-one states across America participated in the survey, which asked about the most common complaints, the fastest-growing complaints, and the worst complaints received in 2018. In addition, the report identified new kinds of consumer problems, agencies’ greatest achievements, and new laws enacted in the agencies’ jurisdictions last year to protect consumers.
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Files Paid Safe and Sick Leave Lawsuit Against American Airlines
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced a lawsuit against American Airlines for violating the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law. DWCP’s lawsuit, which has been filed to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), alleges that American Airlines violated the Law by illegally assigning disciplinary points for each sick day used by ground crew workers and thereby illegally retaliating against employees for using sick leave. DCWP’s workplace-wide investigation also found that American Airlines fails to pay sick leave at the required rate, fails to allow employees to use accrued sick leave, illegally requires advance notice and medical documentation for fewer than three days, and failed to provide the Notice of Employee Rights. DCWP is seeking approximately $375,000 in restitution for more than 750 ground crew workers, including its agents, representatives, fleet service and mechanical employees, as well as civil penalties.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Investigation Uncovers Widespread Fraud in the Towing Industry
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced an in-depth investigation into the tow truck industry that suggests widespread insurance and workers’ compensation fraud. DCWP is in the process of notifying approximately 130 tow truck company licensees—a quarter of all licensees—of its intent to revoke their licenses. Each licensee will have an opportunity to meet with DCWP to defend the charges and submit documents in support of their defense. DCWP will issue final determinations after reviewing all defenses.
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Announces Decision Awarding $172k to Worker Who Was Retaliated Against for Asserting Paid Safe and Sick Leave Rights
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) has ordered an employer to pay $1,500 in civil penalties and $172,215.30 in restitution to a worker who was wrongfully terminated for using sick leave. The worker, who had previously been recognized for doing excellent work with the employer, had a series of doctors’ appointments and then requested several days off to deal with his health issues. The company, after demanding confidential information about his medical issue, fired him that day.
Friday, June 21, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United to Educate Restaurant Workers about Their Rights
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) in collaboration with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) are educating restaurant workers across the city about their rights, including paid safe and sick leave and minimum wage. Teams from DCWP and ROC-NY will conduct a series of outreach events this summer in commercial corridors in each borough beginning on Monday, June 24 in Bedford Stuyvesant and Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Files Charges Against Predatory Used Car Dealerships
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced charges against two used car dealerships, Prestige Motor Sales, Inc. in Brooklyn and Champion Auto Sales LLC, with locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx, along with their owners, for engaging in deceptive and unlawful trade practices that preyed on New Yorkers. The used car dealerships, with the aid of several financing companies, profited from consumers using an array of illegal marketing and business practices. DCWP’s petitions, which will be heard by the City’s Office of Administrative Hearings and Trials (OATH), allege numerous violations, including violations of the City’s new laws and rules designed to prevent predatory lending by the industry. DCWP is seeking $204,000 in restitution for 24 consumers, civil penalties, license suspension or revocation, and the creation of a consumer restitution fund. DCWP is also seeking consumer restitution from the lending institutions that financed the transactions that were involved in the dealerships’ unlawful activity.
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray, Public Advocate Williams and Activist Gloria Steinem Rally for New Paid Personal Time Legislation Benefitting Nearly 1 Million New Yorkers
Landmark legislation will have hearing today; NYC would be first city in nation to mandate paid personal time for workers
NEW YORK, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, activist Gloria Steinem and advocates today rallied in support of Paid Personal Time legislation. The bill, which is being heard for the first time today, would make New York City the first city in the nation to mandate paid time off for workers. The Mayor made Paid Personal Time a signature piece of his State of the City address this past January. A detailed analysis by the City, conducted since January, now estimates 900,000 New Yorkers who currently lack a single day of paid personal time would benefit from the new policy.
Friday, May 17, 2019
Protect Your Identity: NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Hosts 12th Annual Shred Fest
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Promotes Identity Theft Prevention with Two-Day Free Paper Shredding Event
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly Consumer Affairs (DCA)—Commissioner Lorelei Salas today encouraged New Yorkers to come to DCWP’s 12th annual Shred Fest – a free paper-shredding citywide event that aims to increase public awareness about identity theft prevention. On Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, New Yorkers can shred their personal documents – mail, old bank statements, paycheck stubs, credit card applications, and more – for free throughout the five boroughs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (latest) or until the shredding trucks are filled, which may be sooner. At each of the 10 locations, 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 the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Department of Sanitation, NYPD, and Municipal Credit Union.
Friday, May 10, 2019
New Consumer Protections for New Yorkers Using Bail Bond Agents Go Into Effect
NEW YORK, NY – The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly Consumer Affairs (DCA)—today announced that new rules to protect consumers when they use a bail bond agent go into effect tomorrow. Beginning May 11, 2019, bail bond agents in New York City must provide consumers with DCWP’s Bail Bond Consumer Bill of Rights, and also disclose the fees that can be charged and required business information.
Monday, April 29, 2019
The Country's First Municipal Consumer Protection Agency—the Department of Consumer Affairs—Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary
NEW YORK, NY – The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the first municipal agency of its kind in the country, today marks its 50th anniversary and celebrates its rich history protecting and enhancing the daily economic lives of New Yorkers. DCA, which was established in 1969 and was recently renamed the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), has now evolved to protect and enhance the lives of all of the players in the marketplace, including consumers, business and workers. DCWP also released a video featuring eight past commissioners (Bruce Ratner, Mark Green, Richard Schrader, Fred Cerullo, Jane Hoffman, Gretchen Dykstra, Jonathan Mintz, and Julie Menin) celebrating the Agency’s history, accomplishments, and the staff that makes it all a reality.
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Encourages New Yorkers to "Be Real" About Student Loan Debt in New Public Awareness Campaign
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced, on #FinHealthMatters Day, the launch of a new public awareness campaign about student loan debt. The campaign aims to educate the 1 million New Yorkers with student loans, as well as prospective students, about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to student loans.
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Files Second Lawsuit Against Business That Continues to Prey on Immigrant New Yorkers
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—recently renamed the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—Commissioner Lorelei Salas today, during Immigrant Heritage Week, announced that DCWP has filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court against Angel G. Buitron, Buitron Offices & Associates, Susana T. Abarca, and the Law Office of Susana Abarca, PLLC for allegedly using a multi-part scheme to deceive immigrant consumers. DCWP is seeking a court order to permanently stop the illegal business practices and to prevent Buitron from acting as an immigration assistance service provider. DCWP is also seeking that they return money to consumers, create a consumer restitution fund for other victims, surrender any profits, and pay civil penalties for violations of the City’s Consumer Protection Law.
Monday, April 1, 2019
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Launches Workers' Rights Public Awareness Campaign
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign to educate New Yorkers about their workplace rights and to introduce DCWP—formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—as NYC’s central resource for workers.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
One Month Until Tax Day: Department of Consumer Affairs Reminds Eligible New Yorkers to File Their Taxes for Free
New Yorkers Earning $66,000 or Less Can File for Free at More Than 150 Sites Citywide or Online
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas reminds New Yorkers that there is one month left to file taxes before the April 15 deadline. Commissioner Salas encouraged New Yorkers who earned $66,000 or less in 2018 to file for free using NYC Free Tax Prep available at over 150 sites citywide or online.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Mayor de Blasio Fulfills Promise to Help Small Businesses More Easily Start and Grow in New York City
City initiative will save small businesses more than $50 million annually
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the City has made significant strides in making New York City a better place for small businesses. The City has successfully implemented Small Business First, a set of interagency policy and procedural changes that are expected to save businesses $50 million annually. Since the launch of this initiative, the time to complete common business transactions, such as obtaining permits and licenses, has been reduced by 30 percent.
Monday, March 11, 2019
Department of Consumer Affairs Partners with the Nail Salon Workers Association to Educate Salon Workers About Their Rights as Part of Women's History Month
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs in collaboration with Workers United’s New York Nail Salon Workers Association (NYNSWA) and as part of Women’s History Month, assist nail salon workers in educating other nail salon workers across the city about their workplace rights. Research indicates that more than 80 percent of nail salon workers in the United States are women—and 79 percent are foreign-born—and that many often face workplace conditions that threaten their health and exploit their labor, including not being allowed to use sick leave. Teams have visit 100 nail salons in Staten Island and Queens and will be visiting retail corridors in the Bronx on Tuesday, March 12.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
City Hosts Immigrant Worker Convening in the Bronx
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA, a.k.a. the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection), in partnership with New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), and partner organizations hosted Building Bridges: A Convening for NYC Immigrant Workers last night at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx. Following a successful convening in Manhattan last November, this important event brought together immigrant workers and workers’ rights organizations to discuss the issues workers face at work, efforts to transform working conditions, and other strategies to raise workplace standards.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Department of Consumer Affairs Introduces Rules to Protect New Yorkers from Predatory For-Profit Schools
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced new proposed rules to regulate for-profit schools that are not already regulated by the state. The new rules will require certain disclosures and prohibit false or misleading statements and representations to prospective students. DCA made the announcement at a National Consumer Protection Week press conference with multiple federal, state, and city agencies at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Monday, February 18, 2019
NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces New Protections and Enforcement Actions Against Discrimination Based on Natural Hairstyles in Employment, Education, and Public Accommodations
In new legal enforcement guidance, the Commission establishes appearance and grooming policies that ban natural hair or hairstyle—and disproportionately impact Black New Yorkers —are unlawful discriminatory treatment under the NYC Human Rights Law
NEW YORK, NY – The NYC Commission on Human Rights released today new legal enforcement guidance that defines discrimination on the basis of natural hair and hairstyles, which disproportionately impact Black people, under the New York City Human Rights Law. The guidance states that employers and providers of public accommodation such as fitness clubs, schools, nightclubs and youth clubs cannot force Black people to change their natural hair as a requirement to be admitted in or retain affiliation with those settings. Discrimination on the basis of race in New York City has been illegal for decades. By issuing this guidance, the Commission reaffirms that such policies are rooted in and perpetuate racist notions of what is considered “professional” or “appropriate” in the workplace and public spaces and are violations of the NYC Human Rights Law.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Department of Consumer Affairs Releases Second Annual Report on the State of Workers' Rights in New York City
Report Highlights the Vast Challenges Facing Today’s Workforce and the City’s Innovative Approaches to Ensure Workers Realize Their Rights
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the release “Advances and Setbacks in Turbulent Times: Second Annual Report on the State of Workers’ Rights in NYC” from its Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS). The release follows Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City announcement that DCA will be renamed as the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to reflect the Agency’s expanded mandate, and as OLPS completes its second full year of work implementing vital new protections for workers in New York City and taking on the critical challenges that workers face. DCA released the report in conjunction with a day of outreach to day laborers in the South Bronx as part of City Hall in Your Borough: Bronx.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Department of Consumer Affairs Kicks Off the 2019 Tax Season
New Yorkers Earning $66,000 or Less Can File for Free with NYC Free Tax Prep at More Than 150 Sites Citywide or Online
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today, on Earned Income Tax Credit—or EITC—Awareness Day, kicked off the 2019 tax season with the launch of the Agency’s 17th annual tax season campaign and encouraged New Yorkers who earned $66,000 or less to file for free using NYC Free Tax Prep. With the largest piece of tax reform in more than three decades recently passed by Congress, New Yorkers can file confidently with knowledgeable volunteer preparers who can provide professional guidance on how these new rules will affect each filer at no cost.
Friday, January 25, 2019
De Blasio Admninistration Launches Gender-Based Anti-Harassment Unit
Housed within NYC Commission on Human Rights, new unit investigating gender-based and sexual harassment complaints in the workplace
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that a new unit tasked with more effectively intervening and investigating claims of sexual and gender-based harassment in the workplace is operational. The Gender-Based Anti-Harassment Unit will be housed within the NYC Commission on Human Rights and will charged with escalating high priority cases more quickly, reducing instances of retaliation, such as such as losing jobs or other adverse actions, and identifying widespread harassment within entities. This unit will help strengthen New York City’s ongoing efforts to combat gender-based harassment in the workplace.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces Decision in Major World Case
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that DCA has been awarded more than $3 million in fines in its case against Queens-based Major World—one of the largest used car dealerships in New York City. This brings a close to its 2017 lawsuit, in which DCA charged Major World with using deceptive and illegal practices to profit from vulnerable low-income and immigrant consumers. The decision, issued by the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), finds Major World guilty of most of the unlawful and harmful conduct DCA alleged, and puts Major World on notice that a continuation of that conduct could result in revocation of its license. To ensure consumers received restitution for the harm they suffered in a timely manner, DCA entered into a settlement agreement with Major World in 2018, which required the used car dealership to pay nearly $142,000 in restitution to 40 consumers directly and $68,000 to cover outstanding loans incurred as a result of Major World’s actions. Both amounts included additional funds to cover income taxes that would have to be paid on the restitution awards, and Major World also agreed to refund consumers who had to pay out-of-pocket expenses for repairs performed on their automobiles.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Consumer Alert: Department of Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers about High and Unexpected Fees this Tax Season
NEW YORK – With public uncertainty about tax reform, the federal government shutdown, and refund delays, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) warns New Yorkers about predatory tax preparer tactics, in particular “express refund advances” or “refund transfers.” These tactics - which include offering receiving refund advances in the form of an anticipation check or a gift card - can entice filers who look forward to receiving their refunds sooner.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces "DCA 101"
New Series of Informational Workshops Will Help New York City Businesses Understand and Comply with the Law
NEW YORK – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced DCA 101, a new series of informational workshops provided by DCA lawyers to help New York City businesses understand and comply with the law. DCA will hold these ongoing workshops quarterly and will target industries where the Agency is seeing higher rates of violations. The first workshop, “DCA 101: What Start-Up Businesses Need to Know About Consumer Protection Law,” will offer newly emerged online or technology-oriented businesses with an overview of the laws and regulations that govern advertising to New York City consumers. Start-up business entrepreneurs, marketing officers, and in-house counsel, are encouraged to attend to learn how to ensure their advertising, such as subway ads, are compliant with New York City law. The free event is co-hosted by New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and will be held at the Urban Future Lab at 15 MetroTech Center in Brooklyn. This new series of workshops is part of DCA’s 50th anniversary celebration during 2019 and, as the new name of the Agency - Department of Consumer and Worker Protection - is rolled out, will become DCWP 101.
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Mayor de Blasio: Delivering on our Promise to Make New York City the Fairest Big City in America
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered his sixth State of the City Address on Thursday. Taking the stage at the Symphony Space on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the Mayor highlighted a series of sweeping proposals aimed at fighting income inequality across New York City. Policy promises focused on health care, workers’ rights, and tenant protection were paired with bold ideas on transportation, early education and retirement security. The Mayor also used the speech as an opportunity to thank dozens of first-responders and City workers for their distinguished service in 2018.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Mayor de Blasio Proposes Making City First in Nation to Mandate Paid Personal Time
State of the City 2019: New law would directly benefit more than 500,000 New Yorkers who currently get no days off
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio today proposed that New York City become the first city in the nation to mandate Paid Personal Time for workers. More than 500,000 full- and part-time employees in New York City currently have no paid time off. The Mayor will pursue local legislation that would require private employers with five or more employees to offer 10 annual days of Paid Personal Time, allowing employees to take paid time off for any purpose, including vacation, religious observances, bereavement and time with family. The legislation would guarantee this time for approximately 3.4 million New Yorkers.
Monday, January 7, 2019
Mayor de Blasio Celebrates Ban on Tobacco Products in Pharmacies
Tobacco-free pharmacies are part of de Blasio Administration’s historic efforts to reduce tobacco use and improve health of New Yorkers
NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot today celebrated a milestone in the City’s efforts to reduce the rate of smoking: New York City pharmacies – including supermarkets and big-box stores with a pharmacy section – are now prohibited from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. The ban took effect on January 1 of this year.
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Mayor de Blasio Marks First Day Of New York City’s Styrofoam Ban
NEW YORK – Mayor de Blasio, Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Director Mark Chambers announced today that the City’s styrofoam ban is in effect, eliminating a major source of petroleum based waste. Now, food service establishments, stores, and manufacturers may not possess, sell, or offer for use single service Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam food service articles or loose fill packaging, such as “packing peanuts.”