Thursday, December 27, 2018
Ban on Tobacco Products in Pharmacies Goes into Effect in January
Tobacco-free pharmacies are part of Mayor de Blasio’s historic efforts to reduce smoking
Today, the Health Department announced a milestone in the City’s efforts to reduce the rate of smoking: in January, cigarettes and other tobacco products will be prohibited from being sold in all New York City pharmacies, including supermarkets and big-box stores with a pharmacy section. E-cigarette sales were banned in pharmacies last August, when the City’s new e-cigarette retail license went into effect. Both policies are part of a package of legislation signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio in August 2017. Tobacco use remains a leading cause of preventable death, causing an estimated 12,000 deaths in New York City each year. Despite declines in the smoking rate, there are still more than 860,000 adults and 13,000 youth who smoke in New York City. Tobacco use can cause stroke, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, vascular disease, and more than 10 types of cancer. CVS Pharmacy and several independent pharmacies have already voluntarily stopped selling tobacco products. About 500 pharmacies still sell tobacco products.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces Settlement with Kentucky Fried Chicken for Violations of City's Fair Workweek Scheduling Law
More than 40 Investigations Completed in First Year of the Law to Ensure Fair Schedules for Fast Food and Retail Workers—with Thousands of Dollars Recovered for Almost 1,200 Workers; Charges Filed Against Nine Employers
NEW YORK, NY– Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced a settlement with an owner-operator of 30 Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) locations across Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx to resolve violations of the City’s Fair Workweek Law. The settlement, which is the result of an investigation by DCA’s Office of Labor & Policy Standards (OLPS), requires the KFC operator to repeal an illegal waiver that employees were required to sign, pay $80,000 in restitution to more than 600 employees, and submit to intensive and comprehensive auditing by an independent monitor for 18-months to ensure compliance with the City’s workplace laws. This settlement is one of more than 40 investigations that have been closed in the first year of the Law. By settling the violations it found, DCA has been able to secure a total of more than $217,000 in restitution and civil penalties for almost 1,200 workers and ensure that their employers comply with the law.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
'Tis the Season! 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 consumers’ identity and money during the holiday season. These tips help educate consumers about their rights – including gift card protections, tips for budgeting, and ways they can protect themselves from scams.
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Releases Report Examining the Factors Contributing to Student Loan Distress Across New York City Neighborhoods
The Report Identifies Seven Indicators that Can Be Used to Understand Why Some Neighborhoods Have Higher Default Rates
NEW YORK, NY– The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) today announced the findings of their second student loan report titled Student Loan Debt Distress Across NYC Neighborhoods: Identifying Indicators of Vulnerability. The report identifies and examines seven factors that are associated with student loan default among New Yorkers, while also highlighting trends across New York City neighborhoods. The seven factors that increase vulnerability to student loan default include: non-completion, part-time attendance, attendance at a for-profit institution, independent student status, low income, and being black or Hispanic.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Department Of Consumer Affairs Files Lawsuit Against Furniture Store Chain For Deceptive Sales Tactics Targeting Low-Income And Immigrant New Yorkers
NEW YORK, NY — NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced a lawsuit against Maddy’s Home Furniture, a chain of furniture stores with six New York City locations that are also known as Dubai Furniture, Furniture Saving, Burnside Furniture, La Reina Furniture, and El Rey Furniture and are located in Manhattan, The Bronx, and Queens. DCA’s lawsuit, which has been filed in New York County Supreme Court, charges Maddy’s and its owner with using deceptive practices to profit from vulnerable low-income and immigrant consumers.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Settles Investigation with Debt Collection Agency for Using Illegal Collection Letters
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced a settlement with Enhanced Recovery Company, LLC, a licensed debt collection agency that sent illegal collection letters to tens of thousands of New Yorkers. The settlement resolves DCA’s findings that the debt collection agency failed to include information required by law on their collection letters, including the name of the agency and the name of a live contact to whom the consumer could speak.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
National College Savings Month: Department of Consumer Affairs Encourages New Yorkers to Start Saving Early for College
Residents Can Take Advantage of Free Financial Counseling Offered at More Than 20 Locations Across the Five Boroughs
NEW YORK, NY – As part of National College Savings Month, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas is encouraging New Yorkers to take advantage of free City resources to help manage their finances and start planning for their college education.
Monday, August 13, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Issues Tips to Get an 'A' in 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. Below are tips from the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) on how to teach your children about budgeting and saving, protecting your money and improving your finances before the first bell rings.
Monday, July 30, 2018
Nation’s Top Consumer Complaints
Washington, D.C. — Problems with home alarm sales tactics were flagged as an issue to watch in the latest report from the annual survey of state and local consumer agencies conducted by Consumer Federation of America (CFA). Forty agencies from twenty-three states participated in the survey, which asked about the most common complaints, the fastest-growing complaints, and the worst complaints received in 2017. 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.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces New Rules to Combat Predatory Sales and Financing Practices in the Used Car Industry Are Now in Effect
Used Car Dealerships Now Required to Provide Consumers with a Consumer Bill of Rights, Financing Disclosures, and a Cancellation Option
NEW YORK, NY – NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner (DCA) Lorelei Salas today announced that all used car dealers in New York City are now required to provide consumers with a Consumer Bill of Rights, a financing disclosure form, where applicable, and a cancellation option—all of which must be in the language used to negotiate the contract. These new requirements ensure that all consumers are aware of their financing options and understand the terms of their sales contract, and are the result of a package of legislation signed into law last year to combat predatory practices in the used car industry.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Launches New, Targeted Public Awareness Campaign to Ensure New Yorkers Know They Are Covered By and Can Use the City's Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign to educate New Yorkers about their rights and protections under the recently expanded NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, which went into effect May 5, 2018.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces 50,000 New Yorkers Have Received Free Counseling at Financial Empowerment Centers
Department of Consumer Affairs Launches “We All Need a Coach Sometimes” Public Awareness Campaign in Celebration of 10-Year Anniversary of the NYC Financial Empowerment Centers
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the NYC Financial Empowerment Centers have conducted nearly 100,000 counseling sessions since 2008, helping 50,000 New Yorkers improve their financial health and reduce their debt by $54.9 million and increase their savings by $4.4 million.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
EmpoweredNYC Launches Citywide Listening Tour and Webinar Training Series to Help People with Disabilities Improve Their Financial Security
City of New York, Citi Community Development, and National Disability Institute partnering to engage New Yorkers with disabilities in listening sessions to inform the development of financial empowerment trainings and services
NEW YORK, NY – EmpoweredNYC, a new collaboration dedicated to enabling New Yorkers with disabilities to build a stronger financial future for themselves and their families, today announced a citywide listening tour to engage with the disability community about their financial well-being. EmpoweredNYC also announced the launch of Empowerment ED, a new monthly training series that equips service providers with financial empowerment strategies tailored for people with disabilities and their families.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Protect Your Identity: NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Hosts 11th Annual Shred Fest
Department of Consumer Affairs Promotes Identity Theft Prevention with Two Day Free Paper Shredding Event
PHOTO OP: Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas will be available for interviews in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the parking lot located at 111th Street b/t 54th and 56th Avenues on Saturday, May 19th 10 – 11 a.m. (rain or shine).
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced DCA’s 11th annual Shred Fest – a free paper-shredding citywide event that aims to increase public awareness about identity theft prevention. On Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20, New Yorkers can shred their personal documents – mail, old bank statements, paycheck stubs, credit card applications, and more – for free at 10 locations each day 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 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 the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Department of Sanitation, NYPD, and Municipal Credit Union.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Freedom for Freelancers: Department of Consumer Affairs Releases Report Marking the First Year of the Freelance Isn't Free Act
In the Law’s First Year, DCA has Received More than 250 Complaints from Freelance Workers; DCA Helped Recover More than $250,000 in Lost Wages
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the release of a report by its Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) titled “Demanding Rights in an On-Demand Economy: Key Findings from Year One of NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act,” which summarizes key findings from the Office’s work implementing the law in its first year. The Freelance Isn’t Free Act, the first law of its kind in the country, took effect on May 15, 2017 – giving freelance workers the legal right to written contracts, timely payment, and freedom from retaliation.
Monday, May 7, 2018
De Blasio Administration Announces Paid Safe Leave Law Now In Effect
New York City first in nation to extend safe leave to survivors of human trafficking
NEW YORK, NY – Mayor de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law is now in effect. The law allows employees to use their paid leave if they or a family member have been the victim of any act or threat of domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking in order to plan their next steps and focus on safety without fear of penalty.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers about Scam Related to September 11 Victims Compensation Fund
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is aware of calls being made by individuals impersonating employees at the September 11thVictim Compensation Fund to steal the private information of first responders and survivors. These callers may ask for the status of a claim or state an individual may be entitled to money and ask for personal information. DCA recommends that anyone who is uncertain as to the validity of the call end the phone conversation and report the call.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Settles Charges Against Egregious Immigration Service Provider for Deceptive and Predatory Practices Targeting Immigrant New Yorkers
Buitron Offices Mislead Consumers into Believing they were Attorneys or Authorized to Provide Immigration Legal Services
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today, during Immigrant Heritage Week, announced a settlement agreement with Buitron Offices and its president, Angel G. Buitron (collectively “Buitron”), for violations of the City’s Consumer Protection Law and the laws regulating immigration assistance services providers including engaging in deceptive and illegal trade practices to profit from immigrant consumers. DCA’s settlement agreement requires Buitron to pay $150,000 in fines and secures $34,050 in restitution for the consumers identified in this case.
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces a Record Breaking One Million Tax Returns Have Been Filed for New Yorkers for Free Using NYC Free Tax Prep with 500,000 Filed Since the City's 2015 Expansion of Services
New Yorkers Earning $66,000 or Less Can File for Free at More Than 200 Sites Citywide or Online
NEW YORK, NY – Today Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas announced that thanks to an increased investment made in 2015 by the de Blasio administration to expand the capacity of free tax prep in NYC, 500,000 tax returns have been completed for New Yorkers. With the help of IRS certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) volunteer preparers, NYC Free Tax Prep has helped New Yorkers claim important deductions and tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), bringing in more than $700 million in refunds and tax preparer fee savings.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs' Office of Labor Policy & Standards Releases Reports on Paid Care Workers in New York City
The Reports Detail the Issues Faced by New York City’s Home-based Paid Care Workers Including Home Care Aides, Nannies, and House Cleaners Who Often Fall Victim to Labor Violations
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 “Lifting up Paid Care Work: Year One of New York City’s Paid Care Division,” which provides an analysis of what the City’s Paid Care Division has learned, model standards for paid care jobs, an overview of its accomplishments, and a roadmap for action it plans to take in the years to come as the Paid Care Division concludes its first year. In partnership with Ruth Milkman of The City University of New York, DCA also released the “Making Paid Care Work Visible” report, which, using focus group and survey results, details the concerns of New York City’s home-based paid care workers whose voices are too often unheard or disregarded by policymakers or by the wider public. Home-based paid care work is a rapidly growing field of employment in New York City and across the nation; paid care workers provide essential care to children, the elderly and disabled, as well as basic services like house cleaning. Yet this type of work is notorious for low pay and status, leaving workers economically insecure, vulnerable, and disrespected. Together, today’s reports provide critical insight into the growing need for OLPS’ role in the development of innovative policies that raise job standards, and for the Paid Care Division to expand its outreach and educational resources to workers and employers alike in its second year.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
One Month Until Tax Day: Department of Consumer Affairs Reminds Eligible New Yorkers on VITA Awareness Day to File Their Taxes for Free
New Yorkers Earning $66,000 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 17 deadline. Commissioner Salas encouraged New Yorkers who earned $66,000 or less in 2017 to file for free using NYC Free Tax Prep available at more than 200 sites citywide or online.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
National Consumer Protection Week: Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers about the Growing Student Loan Debt Crisis
Federal, State and City Consumer Protection Authorities Recognize National Consumer Protection Week
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) Nicole Perry today, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, spoke about the growing consumer concern related to student loan debt, and encouraged New Yorkers to take advantage of free City tools and resources including DCA’s Financial Empowerment Centers and DCA’s “Quick Tips Once You Have Student Loans” to help better understand their student loans and how to repay them. DCA made the announcement at a press conference with multiple federal, state, and city agencies at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Files Charges Against Bail Bond Agent Marvin Morgan—and the Companies That Hired Him—for Preying on the Desperation of New Yorkers Trying to Help Their Loved Ones
For the First Time, DCA Files Charges Against the For-Profit Bail Bond Industry and Calls on Other Potential Victims to Come Forward to File Complaints
NEW YORK, NY – The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced charges against bail bond agent Marvin Morgan, and several insurance and management companies for engaging in deceptive and unlawful trade practices that preyed on vulnerable New Yorkers desperate to help bring their loved ones home.
Friday, February 9, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs and Partners Host First Ever 12-Hour Free Tax Preparation Event in All Five Boroughs
Attendees Who Earned $54,000 Or Less In 2017 Can Have Their Taxes Filed For Free By An IRS Certified VITA/TCE Volunteer Preparer
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas, in collaboration with the Department of Education’s network of community schools, today announced the first ever NYC Free Tax Prep-a-Thon, a 12-hour tax filing marathon and resource fair, which will be held this Saturday, February 10 at schools in all five boroughs. From 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., attendees who earned $54,000 or less in 2017 can have their taxes filed for free by an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer who will help them claim deductions and tax credits. During the event, New Yorkers can take advantage of free financial counseling with a professional, financial counselor from the NYC Financial Empowerment Centers. Counselors can help filers make a plan to manage their refunds, create a budget, reduce debt and much more.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs Remind New Yorkers: Fever, Headache, Cough, Body Aches...Use Your Sick Leave, and Stay Home If You Have the Flu
Yesterday the City confirmed two influenza-related pediatric deaths
The flu shot remains the best way to protect against the influenza virus and its severe symptoms and complications; those with flu-like symptoms should see their medical provider immediately
Vaccine is widely available; to find a vaccine, New Yorkers can call 311, visit nyc.gov/flu for the Flu Vaccine Locator or text “flu” to 877877
NEW YORK, NY – As influenza continues to spread across New York City, Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas reminded New Yorkers that they can limit the spread of influenza by seeking care from a medical professional and staying home from work if they are sick. Thanks to NYC’s Paid Sick Leave Law, New Yorkers have the right to stay home and care for themselves or their family, regardless of immigration status. They also reminded New Yorkers that there is still time to get a flu shot. A flu shot, administered even after influenza season has arrived, can still provide immunity and mitigate the symptoms and complications should one contract the virus. The vaccine remains readily available; to find a vaccine, New Yorkers can call 311, visit nyc.gov/flu for the Flu Vaccine Locator or text “flu” to 877877.
Monday, January 29, 2018
De Blasio Administration Joins Citi Community Development and the National Disability Institute to Launch Initiative Aimed at Strengthening the Financial Health of People with Disabilities
New York City is the first to be part of Empowered Cities, a multi-year national initiative to develop training, tools, curricula, technology, and research to advance the financial empowerment of people with disabilities
NEW YORK, NY – The de Blasio Administration joined Citi Community Development and the National Disability Institute today to announce the launch of Empowered Cities, a national initiative that encourages municipalities to expand financial empowerment and economic inclusion to people living with disabilities and their families. The announcement includes the launch of EmpoweredNYC, the first local investment under the initiative, which will focus on strengthening the financial health of New Yorkers with disabilities across the five boroughs. Empowered Cities was launched with $2 million in support from Citi Community Development, $1 million of which is being used to fund EmpoweredNYC.
Friday, January 26, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Launches Student Debt Clinics in Targeted Neighborhoods to Aid New Yorkers
DCA Releases Tips to Help New Yorkers Better Understand Their Student Loans
NEW YORK, NY – The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the launch of DCA’s Student Loan Debt Clinics and the release of DCA’s “Quick Tips Once You Have Student Loans” to help New Yorkers understand their student loans and how to repay them. Beginning this weekend, DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) will host a series of student loan debt clinics in partnership with Phipps Neighborhoods Opportunity Center at Melrose, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, and New York Legal Assistance Group, in targeted neighborhoods to assist New Yorkers who have questions or concerns in dealing with or understanding their student loan debt. The student loan debt clinics will include free confidential one-on-one financial counseling and legal aid professionals will be onsite to provide assistance as needed.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs and Partners Kick Off the Tax Season with Continued Expansion of NYC Free Tax Prep
New Yorkers Earning $66,000 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 16th annual tax season campaign and encouraged New Yorkers who earned $66,000 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 previously underserved neighborhoods, increased promotion of self prep services, and a 12-hour tax preparation marathon event. The announcement was made the day before Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day with free tax prep provider Moshulu Montefiore Community Center at Grant Houses Cornerstone in Harlem, one of the new sites opening for the 2018 tax season.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Department of Consumer Affairs Begins Accepting Electronic Cigarette Retail Dealer License Applications
DCA Will Accept License Applications from January 25, 2018 until April 25, 2018 When Community District Caps will be Established
NEW YORK, NY – The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the application period for Electronic Cigarette Retail Dealer licenses is now open. DCA will accept applications until April 25, 2018, when DCA will, as required by law, set limits on the number of Electronic Cigarette Retail Dealer licenses by community district. The caps will be set at 50 percent of the number of licenses issued during the 90 day application period. After the application period closes, no new licenses will be issued until after the number of licenses falls below the cap in a given community district. This licensing 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.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Departments of Consumer Affairs and Housing Preservation and Development Ring in the New Year with New Housing Ambassador Locations with Financial Counseling Through "Ready to Rent" Program
New Yorkers Can Add Strengthening their Personal Finances to Their List of 2018 New Year Resolutions
NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer today announced five new Housing Ambassador locations as financial counseling host sites for “Ready to Rent,” a program providing New Yorkers free one-on-one financial counseling and assistance with affordable housing applications. Just in time for the New Year, residents can access housing- focused financial counseling and application assistance at five specific Housing Ambassador locations across the city – Churches United for Fair Housing, Los Sures - Southside United HDFC, Legal Hand Jamaica: Center for Court Innovation, We Stay - Nos Quedamos, and Acacia Network – East Harlem Council for Community Improvement – which will host regular counseling sessions from January through June 2018. To schedule a free appointment or to contact a Housing Ambassador, New Yorkers can call 311 and say “Ready to Rent” or visit nyc.gov/housing-ambassadors.