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Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

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Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, April 17, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing to amend the Department’s consumer protection law penalty schedule to add an entry for violations of section 5-38 of chapter 5 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York, which requires sellers to comply with certain requirements when selling goods declared to be temporarily in short supply.  The Department is also proposing to add entries for:

·        

Violations of section 5-09, which imposes limitations on offers made by sellers;

·        

Violations of section 5-33, which creates requirements for transactions negotiated in Spanish; and

·        

Violations of section 5-50, which creates requirements for the delivery of furniture and major appliances. 

The penalty for each of these added entries is found in section 20-703 of the New York City Administrative Code. 

The Department is also proposing to add language to the penalty schedule to incorporate a maximum penalty of $500 for knowing violations of the consumer protection law code and rules, which is provided for by section 20-703 of the New York City Administrative Code.

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter and sections 20-104(e) and 20-702 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make this proposed rule.

Pursuant to section 1043(d)(4)(ii) of the New York City Charter, this proposed rule is exempt from review and certification under Charter section 1043(d).

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Proposed Rules regarding the Consumer Protection Law Penalty Schedule

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
please dial 712-770-4010, and use the access code 789 503
NY
Contact: 

Carlos Ortiz; 212 436 0345

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

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Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, April 10, 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 that would 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 proposed rules would 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 proposed recordkeeping requirements would allow the Department to ensure that LEP consumers are receiving sufficient information when contacted by a debt collector. The proposed prohibited practices would ensure that debt collectors are not engaging in deceptive or unfair conduct with respect to language access.

Specifically, the proposed new rules would 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 it 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.

The proposed rules would 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.

DCA’s authority for this rule is found in Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b), 20-493(a), and 20-702 of the New York City Administrative Code.

Keywords:
Subject: 

Proposed Rules regarding Debt Collectors

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
please dial 712-770-4010, and use the access code 789 503.
Contact: 

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

Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

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Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, April 6, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing amendments to conform the Department’s penalty schedules to other sections of the Rules and to the Administrative Code.  These amendments affect the penalty schedules related to electronic cigarette retail dealers, sidewalk stands, electronic stores, etching acid, motorized scooters, employment agencies, air conditioning prohibitions, and bail bond agents.  Specifically, the Department is proposing to:

·        

Amend the electronic cigarette retail dealer penalty schedule to implement Local Law 228 of 2019, which prohibited the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes and flavored e-liquids.  The penalties for these new violations are found in section 17-716(b) of the Administrative Code.  (Section 1).

·        

Amend the sidewalk stands penalty schedule to add violations relating to newsstands that exist in the Administrative Code and Rules but are currently missing from the penalty schedule.  (Section 2).

·        

Reduce the penalty amounts for violations of section 20-485.5(b) of the Administrative Code relating to electronic stores.  Currently, the penalty schedule in section 6-35 of the Rules provides for maximum penalties of $500 for all 20-485.5 violations.  However, 20-485.5(b) states that “the civil penalties imposed for a violation of this subdivision shall be those provided for violations of section 20-708 of this title.”  The penalties for violations of section 20-708, provided by section 20-711, are a maximum of $250.  (Section 3).

·        

Change the recidivism period from 2 years to 1 year for violations related to etching acid.  Currently, the penalty schedule in section 6-40 of the Rules provides for a recidivism period of 2 years.  However, section 20-616 of the Administrative Code provides for a 1-year recidivism period.  (Section 4).

·        

Change the recidivism period from 2 years to 1 year for violations related to motorized scooters.  Currently, the penalty schedule in section 6-55 of the Rules provides for a recidivism period of 2 years.  However, section 20-762(c) of the Administrative Code provides for a 1-year recidivism period.  (Section 5).

·        

Eliminate a reference in section 6-59 of the Rules, the penalty schedule for employment agencies, to the Administrative Code containing two subchapters numbered 14 in chapter 5.  The Administrative Code no longer contains this mistaken organizational structure.  These proposed amendments would also add an entry for a violation of NY General Business Law section 189, the penalties for which are provided by section 189(5).  (Section 6).

·        

Change the recidivism period of 2 years to 18 months for violations related to air conditioning prohibitions.  Currently, the penalty schedule in section 6-63 of the Rules provides for a recidivism period of 2 years.  However, section 20-910(e)(ii) of the Administrative Code provides for an 18-month recidivism period.  (Section 7).

·        

Change the recidivism period of 1 year to 2 years for violations related to bail bond agents.  Currently, the penalty schedule in section 6-71 of the Rules provides for a recidivism period of 1 year.  The Administrative Code is silent as to the recidivism period of bail bond agent violations (see section 20-835).  The Department’s default recidivism period is 2 years unless the Administrative Code provides otherwise.  (Section 8). 

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, sections 20-104(e), 20-487, 20-615, 20-702, and 20-833 of the New York City Administrative Code, and section 12 of Local Law 228 of 2019 authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

Keywords:
Subject: 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing amendments to the Department’s penalty schedules, including those related to electronic cigarette retail dealers, sidewalk stands, electronic stores, etching acid, motorized scooters, employment agencies, air conditioning prohibitions, and bail bond agents.

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
please dial 712-770-4010, and use the access code 789 503.
Contact: 

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

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:1)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Page 3 of 10

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing to amend the rules governing general vendors to clarify that, in addition to general vendor licensees, qualifying Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH”) mobile food vending licensees also may apply for a DCA specialized vending license. A specialized vending license is required to vend in certain restricted areas of New York City. Currently, the Department’s rules require an applicant for a specialized vending license to have a valid general vendor’s license. However, qualifying holders of a mobile food vendor license issued by DOHMH are also eligible to apply for a specialized vending license. These amendments will ease the burden for mobile food vendors by reducing the permit requirements.

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter and Sections 20-104(e) and 20-471 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department to make these proposed amendments.

Keywords:
Subject: 

Rules governing General Vendors

Location: 
Department of Consumer Affairs
CALL: 712-770-4010, and use the access code 789 503
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

The Department of Consumer Affairs is amending chapter 1 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York to improve the Department’s ability to carry out its mission designated in the New York City Charter. These rule changes include a mix of deregulation, additional and stricter enforcement, and clarifications. Specifically, these amendments:

  • Remove the list of specific license categories that must be fingerprinted.  The Administrative Code dictates whether an applicant must be fingerprinted.  Applicants are also provided notice of when fingerprints are required by Department license application materials and this list is often out of date and provides little benefit to applicants. (§ 1-01)
  • Specify that applicants may be fingerprinted at locations designated by the Department to make the rule consistent with current practices, which allow applicants more options to comply with the fingerprint requirements. (§ 1-01)
  • Allow the Department to deny applications and renewals, and suspend or revoke licenses, where the Department discovers that applicants made a false statement on a license application or falsified any documents submitted to the Department.  It is already a violation to make such false statements under section 1-01.1.  This amendment would provide licensees notice and an opportunity to be heard.  (§ 1-01.1)
  • Delete the reference to a “two-year term” for license terms in section 1-02, which is unnecessary, update the name of laundry licenses based on recent changes to the Code, delete certain license categories that have been repealed, and add one license category (Towing Vehicles).  (§ 1-02)
  • Clarify that licensees only need to display the license sign given to them by the Department rather than the license and a separate complaint sign to make the rule consistent with current Department practices.  (§ 1-03)
  • Prohibit licensees from making any false representations to the Department or altering or falsifying Department documents or using a falsified document.  This amendment also allows the Department to deny applications and renewals, and suspend or revoke licenses, if applicants or licensees violated this subdivision.  This amendment would provide licensees notice and an opportunity to be heard.  (§ 1-04)
  • Require that a licensee post its license number on electronic advertisements and solicitations, in addition to printed ones, as well as in email signature blocks.  (§ 1-05)
  • Clarify that the fee for lost licenses is waived if the Department receives within 30 days of the license or license plate being issued a certification from the licensee that such license or license plate was not received.  This amendment is to make the rule consistent with current Department practices.  (§ 1-10(c))
  • Repeal the rule requiring compliance with the Consumer Protection Law.  This rule is unnecessary because licensees must comply with the terms of the Consumer Protection Law absent this rule.  (repealed § 1-12)
  • Clarify that the Department may rely on any formal complaint, regardless of whether it has been resolved, or any response to such complaint in any subsequent Department action, including, but not limited to, decisions to deny, suspend, or revoke an application or license.  This rule already requires applicants to respond to formal complaints made.  This amendment assists public understanding that the information in such complaints and responses may be used by the Department.  (§ 1-13)
  • Amend and create the procedures governing the Department’s issuance of interrogatories, requests for documents, and notices of deposition. These amendments clarify the Department’s authority to serve requests for documents, interrogatories, and notices of deposition upon licensees and applicants, clarify what is proper service of requests for documents, interrogatories and notices of deposition, and clarify the consequences of failing to respond to such notices and requests.  (§ 1-14). 
  • Create a new section 1-14.1 to cover procedures for notices of hearing, which previously were listed in section 1-14.  The new section 1-14.1 also allows for service of notices of hearing by email if one has been provided to the department.  (§ 1-14.1).
  • Clarify that a licensee must destroy a license rather than surrender it when such license has not been renewed. (§ 1-18)
  • Amend the rule relating to the presumption of unlicensed activity to make clear that the presumption applies from the date when a license previously held for use at the premises had expired, was suspended or revoked, or became void by operation of law, where applicable. (§ 1-19)
  • Clarify that nothing in chapter 1 alters the Department’s authority to act on an application or a license pursuant to any other legal authority of the Department.  (§ 1-22)
  • Update the curability list and penalty schedule for chapter 1 violations in chapter 6 to:
    • Provide a cure mechanism for the failure to contain license number in advertisements and other printed and electronic matter;
    • Provide penalties for altering or falsifying Department documents or providing or using falsified documents in violation of proposed Section 1-04;
    • Update entries to the penalty schedule based on edits made elsewhere in this proposed rule.
Effective Date: 
Wed, 03/25/2020

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, February 28, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing amendments to the rules governing process servers to implement Local Law 112 of 2019, which requires the Department to conduct audits of certain process servers and creates a notification system for, among other things, suspensions and revocations of, and denied applications for, process server licenses.  

In general, process servers are engaged in the business of serving summonses, subpoenas, notices, citations, or other process that direct an appearance or response to a legal or administrative proceeding. These proposed amendments to subchapter W of chapter 2 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York would outline the specific documents that the Department may request by subpoena from a process server in connection with an audit by the Department.  These proposed rules would also explain the procedures surrounding the audit process, including that a process server must produce most of the documents requested electronically, must respond to the subpoena within 20 days, and must certify twice annually whether it has served process in housing court within the previous six months.  Finally, these proposed rules would also require process servers and process serving agencies to provide an email address to the Department.

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, Sections 20-104(b), 20-406.3 and 20-408 of the New York City Administrative Code, and Local Law 112 of 2019 authorize the Department to make this proposed rule.  This proposed rule was not included in the Department’s regulatory agenda for this Fiscal Year because it was not contemplated when the Department published the agenda. 

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Proposed Amendments to Rules Governing Process Servers

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

The Department is amending title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York to clarify that mobile car wash services are subject to the license requirement for operating a car wash service. The rule sets specific application requirements for mobile car wash services as well as obligations to display licenses and keep certain records related to vehicles used for mobile car wash services. The rule also sets 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.

Effective Date: 
Tue, 01/28/2020

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Thursday, January 23, 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 rules governing laundry licensees.  Currently, Section 2-134 of Chapter 2 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York requires all laundry licensees to display a price list sign prominently and conspicuously on its premises with letters no less than one inch in height.  This amendment would eliminate the one-inch height requirement for letters on this price list sign.

 

The Department has received feedback from the industry that the one-inch height requirement is overly burdensome because of the overall size of signs required to print each laundry service price offered by the business.  After review, the Department has concluded that eliminating the one-inch height requirement would be beneficial to businesses and would not detract from the benefit provided to consumers.  The price posting sign must still be posted “prominently and conspicuously…at the point at which orders are placed or payment is made,” ensuring that consumers will be able to easily access necessary information about prices. 

 

Additionally, this amendment would clarify that laundry licensees must post prices for all services offered, not just laundry-specific services.  Recently, the Department has learned of confusion regarding what types of services a licensed laundry must list on the price list sign pursuant to Section 2-134(a).  This amended language would make clear that prices for all offered services—including, for example, tailoring or alteration services—must be listed on the sign. 

 

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

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Proposed Rules Regarding Posting of Prices by Laundry Licensees

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

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

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:1)

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

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