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Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

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Agency:
Comment By: 
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing an amendment to the Consumer Protection Law rules regarding the collection of unlawful sales tax.  Currently, Section 5-41 of Chapter 5 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York makes it a deceptive trade practice for any seller to collect sales tax on the sale of any good or service that is not subject to such tax under New York State Tax Law.  This amendment would add that it is also a deceptive trade practice for a seller to represent that sales tax may be collected for any good or service that is not subject to such tax.   

 

In enforcing Section 5-41, the Department has encountered businesses that add sales tax to products not subject to such tax at the point of sale and include the illegal tax in the sales price listed on a receipt.  The Department is not always able to perform test purchases that include an exchange of payment.  Some businesses, faced with a violation for adding illegal sales tax to an item, contend that a sale was never completed because no exchange of payment occurred.  This amendment is necessary to allow the Department to properly ensure that businesses are not illegally adding sales tax.  Prohibiting a business from representing that illegal sales may be collected will better protect consumers from being charged the illegal tax and allow the Department to more efficiently enforce this provision. 

 

This amendment would also make clear that it is a deceptive trade practice for any seller to misrepresent the amount of sales tax that must be collected under New York State Tax Law.  The Department has encountered businesses that overcharge the amount of tax on items that are properly subject to State tax law.  This conduct is harmful to consumers and should be explicitly prohibited by rule. 

 

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b) and 20-702 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Proposed Rules Regarding Unlawful Sales Tax

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
42 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz, 212 436 0345, cortiz@dca.nyc.gov

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

 

DCA is amending Section 2-109 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York relating to the record keeping requirements for secondhand automobile dealers.

 

Recently, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles issued a new regulation that requires automobile dealers, absent limited exceptions, to use an electronic recordkeeping system called the Vehicle Electronic Reassignment and Integrated Facility Inventory (“VERIFI”).  See 15 NYCRR 78.9.  Under New York City law, secondhand automobile dealers must maintain written records of all transactions with specific information such as a description of the automobile purchased or sold and name and address of the buyer or seller.  See NYC Admin. Code § 20-273. 

 

DCA is amending its rule to clarify that a record maintained by a dealer in the VERIFI system satisfies the requirements of Section 20-273 of the New York City Administrative Code if it contains the information required by Section 20-273.  In other words, this amendment makes clear that secondhand automobile dealers need not maintain separate records to comply with the New York State VERIFI requirements and the New York City Administrative Code requirements.  

Effective Date: 
Sat, 01/04/2020

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is adding a new rule requiring ticket sellers to disclose on tickets for trips to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island that the trip will not land at Liberty Island or Ellis Island.  Additionally, the Department is adding a new rule that prohibits ticket sellers from representing that a tour or trip includes any destination the tour or trip does not include or that consumers must pay for a tour or trip that can otherwise be taken for free.

 

The Department has learned of ticket sellers misrepresenting to consumers that a trip to the Statue of Liberty will also stop at Ellis Island or Liberty Island when the trip has no intent to do so.  A disclosure on tickets for trips involving the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will ensure that consumers receive proper information about the trip destination.  Likewise, the Department has learned of ticket sellers misrepresenting the destination of trips and selling tickets for trips that are otherwise free, such as the Staten Island Ferry.  This conduct is deceptive and harmful to consumers.

 

Finally, the Department is amending the penalty schedule for ticket sellers in Chapter 6 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York to add these new rules.  Penalties for violations are based on Section 20-559 of the New York City Administrative Code. 

Effective Date: 
Sun, 11/24/2019

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, November 22, 2019
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs (the “Department”) is proposing amendments to Sections 2-431 through 2-433 and the addition of a new Section 2-434 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York to clarify the obligations of mobile car washes that do not operate at a fixed location. The Department is also proposing penalties for failure to provide the Department with updated information concerning vehicles used for mobile car wash services and failure to display the car wash license in vehicles used for mobile car wash services when the mobile car wash is in service.

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter and Section 20-546 of the New York City Administrative Code of the New York City Charter authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

Keywords:
Subject: 

Proposed Rules to Clarify the Obligations of Mobile Car Wash Operators

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
42 Broadway 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz; cortiz@dca.nyc.gov; 212 436 0345

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

DCA is proposing to amend Section 2-109 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York relating to the record keeping requirements for secondhand automobile dealers.

 

Recently, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles issued a new regulation that requires automobile dealers, absent limited exceptions, to use an electronic recordkeeping system called the Vehicle Electronic Reassignment and Integrated Facility Inventory (“VERIFI”).  See 15 NYCRR 78.9.  Under New York City law, secondhand automobile dealers must maintain written records of all transactions with specific information such as a description of the automobile purchased or sold and name and address of the buyer or seller.  See NYC Admin. Code § 20-273. 

 

DCA is proposing a rule to clarify that a record maintained by a dealer in the VERIFI system satisfies the requirements of Section 20-273 of the New York City Administrative Code if it contains the information required by Section 20-273.  In other words, this rule would make clear that secondhand automobile dealers need not maintain separate records to comply with the New York State VERIFI requirements and the New York City Administrative Code requirements.   

 

DCA’s authority for these rules is found in Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b) and 20-275.1 of the New York City Administrative Code.

Keywords:
Subject: 

Rules Relating to Second-hand Automobile Dealers

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
42 Broadway 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz, 212 436 0345, cortiz@dca.nyc.gov

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is amending the penalty schedule for the sales of petroleum products located in Section 6-42 of Chapter 6 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York (“Rules”) and the penalty schedule for weights and measures located in Section 6-38 of the Rules.  Specifically, DCA is making the following amendments:

 

  • Currently, the penalty schedule provides a maximum penalty of $500 for violations of DCA Rule 5-51. However, Section 20-703 of the Code provides for a maximum penalty of $350 for violations of regulations promulgated pursuant to the Consumer Protection Law. Because DCA Rule 5-51 was promulgated pursuant to the Consumer Protection Law, it should carry a maximum penalty of $350.
  • Currently, the penalty schedule has entries for 1 NYCRR §§ 220.8 and 220.9, which have been repealed, and 1 NYCRR § 224.18, which does not exist. DCA is eliminating these entries. 
  • Section 3-103 of the Rules of the City of New York, Inspection of Printer Tickets, was recently added to DCA’s rules. DCA is now adding a penalty for violations of Section 3-103 to the penalty schedule. 
  • Adding the following violations to the weights and measures penalty schedule in Section 6-38, which exist in City and State law and will now be included in the penalty schedule: Section 20-584 of the New York City Administrative Code (“Code”) (testing, sealing and marking), Code Section 20-585 (standard measures and containers), Code Section 20-587 (sale by true weight or measure required), Code Section 20-590 (repair of inaccurate devices), Section 184 of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law (condemnation, seizure or repair of false devices), Section 185 of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law (stop-use, stop-removal and removal orders), and Section 186 of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law (possession and use of false devices).

 

An analysis of this rule as described in Section 1043(d) of the New York City Charter was not performed because it falls under the exception in Section 1043(d)(4)(ii).  

Effective Date: 
Thu, 10/24/2019

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:5)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rules

 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing new rules to address problems experienced by consumers when they seek to enroll, or are already enrolled, in for-profit schools that are neither licensed by the New York State Education Department nor accredited by the New York State Board of Regents. These schools intensively market degree programs to consumers and are supported almost entirely by state and federal loans.

 

Section 2203 of Chapter 64 of the New York City Charter (“Charter”) delegates to the Commissioner of the Department broad authority to enforce laws relating “to the advertising and offering for sale and the sale of all commodities, goods, wares and services” and to investigate and bring actions against businesses for engaging in deceptive or unconscionable trade practices. New York City Administrative Code (“NYC Code”) § 20-700 et seq. and 6 RCNY § 5-01 et seq. (hereinafter the “Consumer Protection Law” or “CPL”) prohibit “any deceptive or unconscionable trade practice in the sale . . . of any consumer goods or services[,]” and define deceptive trade practices to include “any false . . . or misleading oral or written statement . . . which has the capacity, tendency or effect of deceiving or misleading consumers.” Charter §§ 1043, 2203(f) and 2203(h)(1) authorize the Department to promulgate rules, generally, and NYC Code § 20-702 authorizes the Department to adopt “such rules and regulations as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this subchapter, including regulations defining specific deceptive or unconscionable trade practices.”

 

Currently, under New York State law, for-profit career schools must be licensed by the New York State Education Department. See NY Educ. Law § 5001. These licensed schools are subject to requirements contained in state law and regulation. See NY Educ. Law § 5001 et seq.; 8 N.Y.C.R.R. § 126.1 et seq. In contrast, degree-granting for-profit schools authorized by the New York State Board of Regents (“BOR”) to confer degrees are exempt from the licensing requirements of New York Education Law, though the New York State Education Department regulates the programs offered by these schools. To participate in federal student aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, these degree-granting schools must also be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. The BOR is one such agency, and BOR accreditation subjects a school to regulation regarding deceptive business practices. See 8 NYCRR § 4-1.1 et seq. Accreditation by other nationally recognized accrediting agencies, which are typically not government agencies, does not necessarily subject a school to such regulation.    

 

The Department has found, through review of consumer complaints, the Department’s research and investigations, and review of the research and reporting of higher education scholars, regulators and other interested parties, that some for-profit schools engage in a pattern of deceit when dealing with potential students. These schools can mislead consumers about the availability and impact of certain types of financial aid; the transferability of credits to and from the for-profit school; and the actual cost of attendance, among other things. In pursuing potential students, these schools have engaged in behavior so aggressive that some consumers have perceived it as harassment. Once enrolled in these schools, students can be deceived about the cost of continued attendance and are often subjected to manipulation by the school designed to extend the period of enrollment to maximize the tuition received by the school. Many students leave these schools without diplomas, and graduation rates are very low. Students are, however, saddled with outsized debt that they can ill afford, and they are sometimes pursued relentlessly by debt collectors.

 

The Department seeks to promulgate rules to ensure that these for-profit schools operate fairly and honestly, and utilize business practices that are not deceptive. 

 

Specifically, the Department is proposing new rules that would, among other things:

· Prohibit false or misleading statements and representations to prospective and enrolled students;

· Prohibit certain deceptive trade practices; and

· Require certain material disclosures. 

 

These proposed rules would also amend the penalty schedule for consumer protection law violations to include violations of these new proposed rules.

Keywords:
Subject: 

.New Rules to Prohibit Deceptive Trade Practices by Certain For-Profit Schools

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
42 Broadway 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz, 212 436 0345, cortiz@dca.nyc.gov

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

 

Subchapter 6 of Title 20, Chapter 2, of the Administrative Code authorizes DCA to license and regulate sidewalk cafés. Section 14-01 of Article I, Chapter 4, of the Zoning Resolution states that the “[p]hysical criteria, including structural and operational requirements for . . . unenclosed sidewalk cafes in particular, shall be regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs[.]” To help support public understanding of DCA’s licensing and regulation of sidewalk cafés and compliance by businesses, DCA made updates to Subchapter F of Chapter 2 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York (Rule or Rules). These rules:

 

· Incorporate the definition and physical criteria for small sidewalk cafés provided in Sections 12-10 and 14-30 of the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York.

 

· Clarify the meaning of “public sidewalk,” pursuant to Section 20-223(a) of the NYC Administrative Code (Code), by incorporating the definitions for “sidewalk” provided in Section 19-101 of the Code and Section 4-01(b) of Title 34, Chapter 4, of the Rules.

 

· Clarify that a petition for a revocable consent or an application for a license must include all materials required by DCA.

 

· Clarify how consent fees will be calculated when DCA receives a petition to convert an unenclosed sidewalk café to an enclosed sidewalk café or an enclosed sidewalk café to an unenclosed sidewalk café.

 

· Provide that DCA may allow a business to continue paying consent fees in installments even after a business has failed to make timely payment of at least two installments.

 

· Amend the process for seeking a waiver when an object is placed on the sidewalk after an initial revocable consent and license have been granted.

 

· Add an exemption that would allow a sidewalk café to be maintained or operated on an elevation (i.e., platform) that is deemed a historic feature by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

 

· Amend insurance requirements, including: expand the list of companies from whom DCA may accept an insurance company rating, clarify that coverage for the City includes coverage for its officials and employees, add ISO Form CG 2012 as an acceptable standard for additional insured coverage, and clarify acceptable proof of insurance.

 

· Add a presumption that an unenclosed sidewalk café is being maintained or operated on the public sidewalk if the tables and chairs are located between the building line and the curb.

 

· Include plain language revisions throughout.

 

Additionally, working with the City’s rulemaking agencies, the Law Department, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget conducted a retrospective rules review of the City’s existing rules, identifying those rules that will be repealed or modified to reduce regulatory burdens, increase equity, support small business, and simplify and update content to help support public understanding and compliance. The amendment of Rule 2-43 is responsive to this review.

Effective Date: 
Thu, 10/03/2019

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:10)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, September 16, 2019
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing to add a new rule requiring ticket sellers to disclose on tickets for trips to the Statue of Liberty that the trip will not land at Ellis Island.  Additionally, the Department is proposing a new rule that would prohibit ticket sellers from representing that a tour or trip includes any destination the tour or trip does not include or that consumers must pay for a tour or trip that can otherwise be taken for free.

The Department has learned of ticket sellers misrepresenting to consumers that a trip to the Statue of Liberty will also stop at Ellis Island when the trip has no intent to do so.  A disclosure on tickets for trips to the Statue of Liberty will ensure that consumers receive proper information about the trip destination.  Likewise, the Department has learned of ticket sellers misrepresenting the destination of trips and selling tickets for trips that are otherwise free, such as the Staten Island Ferry.  This conduct is deceptive and harmful to consumers. 

Finally, the Department is proposing to add entries to the penalty schedule for ticket sellers in Chapter 6 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York for these new proposed rules.  Penalties for violations would be based on Section 20-559 of the New York City Administrative Code.  

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b), 20-558, and 20-702 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

 
Keywords:
Subject: 

Proposed Rules Governing Ticket Sellers

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
42 Broadway 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz, Director of Legislative Affairs; 212 436 0345; cortiz@dca.nyc.gov

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is adding new rules relating to auctioneers and auction houses to subchapter M of chapter 2 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York.

 

First, the Department is adding a new rule to clarify that auction houses must receive an auction house license to engage in the business of auctioneering.  Section 20-278 of the New York City Administrative Code states that it is “unlawful for any person to engage in the business of auctioneer without a license therefor.”  “Person” is defined broadly in the Administrative Code to include both businesses and individuals.  See NYC Admin. Code § 20-102.  Auction houses, which are businesses that conduct auctions and employ auctioneers, are required to be licensed under this provision.  Accordingly, the Department has long issued two separate licenses: one for auctioneers and one for auction houses.  Many sections of the Department’s rules already reference licensed auction houses separate from auctioneers.  See 6 R.C.N.Y § 2-121(f); 6 R.C.N.Y. § 2-123(c)(1), (c)(2).  This new rule clarifies the requirements of the Administrative Code and longstanding Department practice that auction houses must be licensed.  It also clarifies that an auction house must use only licensed auctioneers to conduct auctions.

 

Second, the Department is adding a new rule to require that auctioneers must notify a winning bidder within seven days of the auction if the auctioneer opts to cancel the sale of the lot or reoffer and resell the lot.  Currently, many auctioneers and auction houses have significant discretion under their own auction terms and conditions to cancel sales at any time because of potential errors or disputes related to bidding.  Such cancelations create significant confusion for buyers.  To prevent abuse and ensure finality with respect to auction sales, the new rule establishes a deadline by which an auctioneer or auction house must identify an error or dispute and notify the successful buyer of its decision to cancel the sale or reoffer and resell the lot.

Effective Date: 
Sat, 09/14/2019

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