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Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

 

The Department is adding new rules to implement LL 34 of 2020, which prohibits food stores and retail establishments from refusing to accept payment in cash and further prohibits food stores and retail establishments from charging a higher price to consumers who pay for commodities with cash, rather than through a cashless transaction. The intent of LL 34 is to ensure that all New Yorkers, including those who are unbanked or underbanked, can make retail and food purchases using cash.

 

Specifically, these new rules add presumptions that a food store or retail establishment is in violation of the prohibition on cashless establishments if it displays a sign representing that it does not accept payment in cash from consumers, or if an employee or agent of such food store or retail establishment represents that it does not accept cash.  These new rules also add presumptions that a food store or retail establishment is in violation of the prohibition on cashless establishments if it displays a sign representing that it charges a higher price for consumers who pay with cash rather than through a cashless transaction, or if any employee or agent of such food store or retail establishment represents that it charges a higher price to consumers who pay for commodities in cash.  A business charged with violations can rebut these presumptions by presenting contrary evidence at a hearing.

 

These presumptions are necessary to allow the Department to effectively enforce the cashless establishments law.  Without these presumptions, the Department would be required to conduct test purchases of commodities using cash to establish whether food stores or retail establishments are refusing to accept cash.  Such test purchases are too costly and inefficient to perform. 

 

These rules also add a penalty schedule for the new prohibitions on cashless establishments.  The penalties are provided by section 20-840(d) of the New York City Administrative Code. 

 

New material is underlined.

[Deleted material is in brackets.]

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Effective Date: 
Thu, 11/19/2020

Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

Log in or register to post comments
Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, October 5, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Department of Consumer Affairs is proposing to amend the sightseeing bus rules to implement Local Law 176 of 2018 relating to sightseeing buses and sightseeing bus drivers. 

 

Local Law 176 of 2018 (“LL 176”) requires SSB drivers to possess a valid commercial driver’s license (“CDL”) and forbids SSB businesses from employing drivers who: (1) are disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle pursuant to federal law, (2) have had their CDL suspended or revoked two or more times within the past five years, (3) have accumulated nine or more points on their driving record for acts that occurred within an eighteen month period, unless a statutory exception applies, and (4) have been convicted of any alcohol or drug-related offense pursuant to article 31 of the vehicle and traffic law or any similar offense under the laws of any other jurisdiction within the past three years.  LL 176 also sets SSB business compliance terms for the company’s SSB drivers, sets accident reporting standards, and SSB driver driving record recordkeeping requirements.

 

Finally, the Department is proposing certain amendments to update and modernize its sightseeing bus rules. Specifically, the Department is proposing to:

·        

Remove an outdated provision requiring Departmental approval of advertising materials (§ 2-211(a)). This removal will ease the regulatory burden on sightseeing bus owners.

·        

Delete provisions requiring sightseeing bus drivers to, among other things, possess English language skills, be of “sound physique”, and have his or her “physical condition” examined by the Department.  These provisions are outdated, do not increase safety, and are an unnecessary burden on drivers.  (§§ 2-211(r) and (s)).

·        

Change the number of hours a driver may operate a sightseeing bus to better align with federal regulations.  Currently, the rules prohibit a driver from operating a vehicle for more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period.  Federal regulations found in 49 C.F.R. § 395.5 prohibit operating commercial passenger vehicles for more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off-duty.  These proposed amendments would make the Department’s rules mirror the federal standard.  

 

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b) and 20-384 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

 

New material is underlined.

[Deleted material is in brackets.]

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Keywords:
Subject: 

.

Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz - cortiz@dca.nyc.gov

Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

Log in or register to post comments
Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Department seeks to amend section 6-12, the tobacco retail dealer penalty schedule, to increase certain penalty amounts set by New York State Public Health Law (“PHL”) section 1399-ee, which was recently amended by state law.  New York State law amendments to section 1399-ee(2) of the PHL changed the maximum penalty for first violations of the PHL to $1,500 from $1,000.  The state law amendments also changed the maximum penalty for subsequent violations to $2,500 from $1,500.  The state law amendments became effective on July 1, 2020.  This proposed amendment would also correct a mistake in the penalty entry for section 1399-CC(5) by lowering the maximum penalty for subsequent violations to $1,000, as required by that subdivision of law. 

 

The Department is also proposing to amend section 6-12.1, the electronic cigarette penalty schedule, to add violations relating to New York State PHL section 1399-mm-1(2), which prohibits selling or offering for sale flavored vapor products expected to be used with nicotine.  This new provision of state law was recently passed and became effective on July 1, 2020. 

 

Pursuant to section 1043(d)(1) of the New York City Charter, certification of this proposed rule by the Law Department is not required.

 

The Department’s authority for these rules is found in sections 1043, 2203(c), 2203(f), and 2203(h)(1) of the City Charter and section 20-104(e) of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.

 

New material is underlined.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Keywords:
Subject: 

.

Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz - cortiz@dca.nyc.gov

Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

Log in or register to post comments
Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, September 28, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

As part of its consumer protection mission, the Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) licenses and regulates individuals and entities that perform work on private residences. Until now, DCA has issued separate licenses for home improvement contractors, who carry out such work, and home improvement salespersons, who sell jobs and negotiate contracts.

In February 2020, the City Council passed Local Law 31 of 2020, which, among other provisions, eliminated the home improvement salesperson license in the New York City Administrative Code. DCA is now proposing amendments to the Rules of the City of New York that would similarly eliminate all references to the home improvement salesperson license. Local Law 31 repealed the home improvement salesperson license because it was duplicative of, and redundant to, the home improvement contractor license. These proposed amendments will implement the law and eliminate unnecessary regulations in this industry.

The continued licensing of home improvement contractors will remain in place to regulate industry and protect consumers. New material is underlined. [Deleted material is in brackets.]

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Keywords:
Subject: 

.No Public Hearing

Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz - cortiz@dca.nyc.gov

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, September 14, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing to add new rules to implement Section 1043(g) of the New York City Charter, which permits any person to petition a city agency to consider the adoption of any rule and requires each agency to have rules creating a procedure for such petitions.

Specifically, these proposed rules would set forth the procedures that petitioners must follow in petitioning the Department to consider a new rule. These proposed rules would also set forth the procedure the Department must follow in considering and responding to petitions. Additionally, these rules would require the Department to deny or approve petitions within 60 days and would set forth a procedure for rejecting or adopting petitions.

DCA’s authority for this rule is found in Sections 1043, 2203(f), and 2203(g) of the New York City Charter.

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Proposed Rules regarding Rulemaking Petitions

Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz, cortiz@dca.nyc.gov

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:4)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, August 3, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing to add new rules to implement Local Law 34 of 2020 (LL34), which prohibits food stores and retail establishments from refusing to accept payment in cash and further prohibits food stores and retail establishments from charging a higher price to consumers who pay for commodities with cash, rather than through a cashless transaction. The intent of LL34 is to ensure that all New Yorkers, including those who are unbanked or underbanked, can make retail and food purchases using cash.

 

Specifically, these proposed rules would add presumptions that a food store or retail establishment is in violation of the prohibition on cashless establishments if it displays a sign representing that it does not accept payment in cash from consumers, or if an employee or agent of such food store or retail establishment represents that it does not accept cash.  These proposed rules would further add presumptions that a food store or retail establishment is in violation of the prohibition on cashless establishments if it displays a sign representing that it charges a higher price for consumers who pay with cash rather than through a cashless transaction, or if any employee or agent of such food store or retail establishment represents that it charges a higher price to consumers who pay for commodities in cash. These presumptions are necessary to allow the Department to effectively enforce the cashless establishments law.  Without these presumptions, the Department would be required to conduct test purchases of commodities using cash to establish whether food stores or retail establishments are refusing to accept cash.  Such test purchases are too costly and inefficient to perform. 

 

These proposed rules would also add a penalty schedule for the new prohibitions on cashless establishments.  The penalties are provided by section 20-840(d) of the New York City Administrative Code. 

 

DCA’s authority for this rule is found in Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, Sections 20-104(b) and 20-702 of the New York City Administrative Code, and Section 2 of Local Law 34 of 2020.

Keywords:
Subject: 

DCA will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule regarding the prohibition on cashless establishments. The public hearing will take place at 10:00 AM on August 3, 2020. It will be accessible by phone and videoconference. Please dial 1-855-282-6330.
o Meeting number (access code): 160 481 6046
o Meeting password: zcNFs4WCF79

To participate in the public hearing via videoconference, please follow the online link: https://dcanyc.webex.com/dcanyc/j.php?MTID=m6296ab9a878ff6705674

Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz; 212 436 0345

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

On March 15, 2020, the Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) promulgated an emergency rule pursuant to section 1043(i) of chapter 45 of the New York City Charter (the “Emergency Rule”) declaring as unconscionable the practice of price gouging certain personal and household goods and services.  The Emergency Rule added a new section 5-42 of chapter 5 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York and amended the penalty schedule in section 6-47 of chapter 6 of title 6. 

 

The Department is proposing a new permanent rule declaring as unconscionable the practice of price gouging goods and services that are essential to health, safety and welfare, or are marketed or advertised as being essential to health, safety and welfare during a declared State of Emergency in the City of New York.

 

New York City Administrative Code § 20-701(b) permits DCA to declare as unconscionable:

 

Any act or practice in connection with the sale, lease, rental or loan or in connection with the offering for sale, lease, rental or loan of any consumer goods or services, or in the extension of consumer credit, or in the collection of consumer debts which unfairly takes advantage of the lack of knowledge, ability, experience or capacity of a consumer; or results in a gross disparity between the value received by a consumer and the price paid, to the consumer's detriment[.]

 

Price gouging occurs when a merchant takes advantage of an abnormal disruption in the marketplace and charges excessive prices, taking advantage of the consumer’s inability to bargain or seek a better price, resulting in a “gross disparity between the value received by a consumer and the price paid.” Such marketplace disruptions often occur during a State of Emergency. This rule assists in protecting consumers when they are at their most vulnerable. 

 

The permanent rule declares price gouging conduct unconscionable and aligns New York City with many jurisdictions across the country that prohibit price gouging in emergency circumstances, including New York State. The rule includes an illustrative list of goods that are essential to health, safety or welfare, and could therefore be subject to price gouging. The rule also establishes a threshold for prohibited pricing of ten percent above the price at which consumers in New York City could obtain such goods or services 30 to 60 days prior to the declaration of a State of Emergency in the City of New York. This is similar to the standard used by several other jurisdictions, including the states of New Jersey and California, in laws that prohibit price gouging.   

                                                                                                                  

To ensure that no merchant is penalized unfairly, the permanent rule provides a defense if the merchant can show that the price increase was directly attributable to additional costs imposed on it by the supplier of the goods, or directly attributable to additional costs for labor or materials used to provide the services. The permanent rule further provides an exemption for merchants who did not exploit the State of Emergency and charged the same price both 30 days prior to the declaration of a State of Emergency and during that State of Emergency. 

 

The Emergency Rule added an entry for the new price gouging prohibition to the penalty schedule for consumer protection law violations found in section 6-47 of subchapter B of chapter 6 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York. This entry is included in the permanent rule.

 

This permanent rule is necessary so that DCA can prevent this unconscionable trade practice and take action to protect the residents of New York City during a State of Emergency. Pursuant to section 1041(i)(2) of the New York City Charter, the Emergency Rule is hereby extended for 60 days beyond its original expiration date to allow time for issuance of the permanent rule by the normal rulemaking procedure provided for in the Charter.

Effective Date: 
Fri, 06/26/2020

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

The Department is adding new rules that require debt collectors to inform consumers about whether certain language access services are available and to retain records relating to language access services.

Approximately a quarter of the population of New York City does not understand English proficiently. Many debt collectors working to collect debts from New York City consumers, however, are not providing adequate language access services to consumers. For more background on this issue, see the Department’s publication, “Lost in Translation: Findings from Examination of Language Access by Debt Collectors.” This publication highlights the lack of language access services provided for limited-English proficiency (LEP) consumers by debt collection agencies.

These new rules enable consumers who require language access services to better understand their rights with respect to debt collection and to facilitate communication between collectors and LEP consumers. The recordkeeping requirements allow the Department to ensure that LEP consumers are receiving sufficient information when contacted by a debt collector. The prohibited practices ensure that debt collectors are not engaging in deceptive or unfair conduct with respect to language access.

Specifically, these new rules require debt collectors to:

• Inform consumers—in any initial collection notice and on any public-facing websites maintained by the collector—of the availability of any language access services provided by the collector and of a translation and description of commonly-used debt collection terms in a consumer’s preferred language on the Department’s website;

• Request, record, and retain, to the extent reasonably possible, a record of the language preference of each consumer from whom the collector attempts to collect a debt; and

• Maintain a report identifying, by language, the number of consumer accounts on which an employee of the collector attempted to collect a debt in a language other than English, and the number of employees that attempted to collect on such accounts.

These rules also prohibit debt collectors from:

• Providing false, inaccurate, or incomplete translations of any communication to a consumer in the course of attempting to collect a debt; and

• Misrepresenting or omitting a consumer’s language preference when returning, selling, or referring for litigation any consumer account, where the debt collector is aware of such preference.

Effective Date: 
Sat, 06/27/2020

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, June 12, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

A Stoop Line Stand license is required when an existing business sells fruits, vegetables, soft drinks, flowers, confectionery, or ice cream from a stand outside of and directly adjacent to its existing retail establishment. The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing amendments to the rules governing stoop line stands. These amendments will make it easier to understand how a business can comply with the rules.

Specifically, the proposed rules:

·        

Clarify how stoop line stands must be constructed. The current language, which uses both “fence” and “partition,” has created confusion for businesses and at administrative hearings. The proposed rule would use only the term “partition.”  In addition, the proposed amendment would use language that is easier to understand and better reflects the construction of commonly used stands. 

·        

Clarify that stoop line stands may not contain partitions extending to the roof or awning above the stand and that all items must be displayed on a valid stand.  These changes will provide better notice to businesses about stoop line stand obligations. 

·        

Make explicit that a stoop line stand may not be used for preparation of any articles sold at the stand, including the packaging of fruit salad or the blending of smoothies or juices. 

·        

Require that a stoop line stand license be held by the same entity that appears on the certificate of authority for the adjacent store, as required by the Administrative Code. This proposed subdivision will allow the Department to ensure that stoop line stands are owned and operated by the adjacent store. 

·        

Change “sidewalk stands” to “stoop line stands” for uniformity with the Administrative Code. 

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b) and 20-233 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Proposed Rules regarding Stoop Line Stands

Contact: 

To participate in the public hearing via teleconference, please dial 1-855-282-6330, and use the access code 478 211 433 or follow the online link: https://dcanyc.webex.com/dcanyc/j.php?MTID=m749ddf7f12e83d020e9bc530465c...

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, June 12, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

On March 15, 2020, the Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) promulgated an emergency rule pursuant to section 1043(i) of chapter 45 of the New York City Charter (the “Emergency Rule”) declaring as unconscionable the practice of price gouging certain personal and household goods and services.  The Emergency Rule added a new section 5-42 of chapter 5 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York and amended the penalty schedule in section 6-47 of chapter 6 of title 6. 

The Department is proposing a new permanent rule declaring as unconscionable the practice of price gouging goods and services that are essential to health, safety and welfare, or are marketed or advertised as being essential to health, safety and welfare during a declared State of Emergency in the City of New York.

New York City Administrative Code § 20-701(b) permits DCA to declare as unconscionable:

Any act or practice in connection with the sale, lease, rental or loan or in connection with the offering for sale, lease, rental or loan of any consumer goods or services, or in the extension of consumer credit, or in the collection of consumer debts which unfairly takes advantage of the lack of knowledge, ability, experience or capacity of a consumer; or results in a gross disparity between the value received by a consumer and the price paid, to the consumer's detriment[.] 

Price gouging occurs when a merchant takes advantage of an abnormal disruption in the marketplace and charges excessive prices, taking advantage of the consumer’s inability to bargain or seek a better price, resulting in a “gross disparity between the value received by a consumer and the price paid.” Such marketplace disruptions often occur during a State of Emergency. This rule assists in protecting consumers when they are at their most vulnerable. 

The permanent rule declares price gouging conduct unconscionable and aligns New York City with many jurisdictions across the country that prohibit price gouging in emergency circumstances, including New York State. The rule includes an illustrative list of goods that are essential to health, safety or welfare, and could therefore be subject to price gouging. The rule also establishes a threshold for prohibited pricing of ten percent above the price at which consumers in New York City could obtain such goods or services 30 to 60 days prior to the declaration of a State of Emergency in the City of New York. This is similar to the standard used by several other jurisdictions, including the states of New Jersey and California, in laws that prohibit price gouging.                                                                                                           

To ensure that no merchant is penalized unfairly, the permanent rule provides a defense if the merchant can show that the price increase was directly attributable to additional costs imposed on it by the supplier of the goods, or directly attributable to additional costs for labor or materials used to provide the services. The permanent rule further provides an exemption for merchants who did not exploit the State of Emergency and charged the same price both 30 days prior to the declaration of a State of Emergency and during that State of Emergency. 

The Emergency Rule added an entry for the new price gouging prohibition to the penalty schedule for consumer protection law violations found in section 6-47 of subchapter B of chapter 6 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York. This entry is included in the permanent rule.

This permanent rule is necessary so that DCA can prevent this unconscionable trade practice and take action to protect the residents of New York City during a State of Emergency. Pursuant to section 1041(i)(2) of the New York City Charter, the Emergency Rule is hereby extended for 60 days beyond its original expiration date to allow time for issuance of the permanent rule by the normal rulemaking procedure provided for in the Charter.

 

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Proposed Rule on Price Gouging

Contact: 

• To participate in the public hearing via phone, please dial 1-855-282-6330 and input access code 477 857 355.

• To participate in the public hearing via videoconference, please follow the online link: https://dcanyc.webex.com/dcanyc/j.php?MTID=mb11e5e0c920280242c8860aa2598...

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