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Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:8)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Thursday, April 4, 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 not licensed by the New York State Education Department or 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. Separately, some for-profit schools that are exempt from the licensing requirements of New York Education Law because they are authorized by the New York State Board of Regents (“BOR”) to confer degrees may voluntarily seek accreditation by the BOR and be subject to accompanying regulations. See 8 NYCRR § 4-1.1 et seq. However, a subset of for-profit schools that are exempt from the licensing requirements of New York Education Law seek accreditation from a body other than the BOR. These for-profit schools operate in New York City and are subject to no direct oversight or regulation by the government. 

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 unregulated for-profit schools engage in a pattern of deceit when dealing with potential students. Unregulated for-profit 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 behavior 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. They are, however, saddled with outsized debt that they can ill afford, and sometimes pursued relentlessly by debt collectors.

The Department seeks to promulgate rules to ensure that these unregulated 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: 

.Deceptive Advertising by For-Profit Educational Institutions

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

Casey Adams, 212-436-0095, cadams@dca.nyc.gov

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, March 29, 2019
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs is proposing to add new rules to implement Local Laws 142 and 143 of 2018, which require that bail bond agents make certain disclosures.  Local Law 142 requires bail bond agents to post a sign containing certain fee information at the location where transactions are executed.  Local Law 143, among other things, requires bail bond agents to provide a consumer bill of rights to prospective customers.  Specifically, these proposed rules:

  • clarify the size and font requirements for the informational sign required by section 20-831(b) of the Administrative Code;
  • clarify the size and font requirements for the informational flyer that must be given to consumers as required by section 20-831(c) of the Administrative Code;
  • create the consumer bill of rights required by section 20-831(a) and (c) of the Administrative Code; and
  • create the bail bond fees sign as required by section 20-832 of the Administrative Code.

 

Finally, these proposed rules add a penalty schedule to chapter 6 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York for violations of the Code and Rules relating to bail bond agents. 

 

On January 18, 2019, the Department held a hearing on these proposed rules and received public comments.  After reviewing the comments, the Department made changes to the Consumer Bill of Rights and the Bail Bond Fees sign.  These changes attempt to shorten and simplify the documents, such as by removing definitions and examples that some commenters had identified as unhelpful.  The Department is now submitting these proposed rules for a second public hearing and comment period.  

The Department welcomes comments regarding the process to have collateral returned, specifically those with suggested edits to ensure these proposed rules explain that process for the public in the most helpful manner. 

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b) and 20-833 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Amendment of Bail Bond Disclosure Requirements Hearing II

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

Casey Adams, 212-436-0095, cadams@dca.nyc.gov

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

 

New York City Department of Consumer Affairs

Notice of Adoption

Notice of Adoption to amend and add certain rules related to employment agencies, including establishing a template “Terms and Conditions” document, requiring agencies to post certain signs as mandated by law, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and updating the penalty schedule applicable to employment agencies.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs by Sections 181(3)(c) and 189(3) of the New York General Business Law, Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Section 20-104(b)(7) of the New York City Administrative Code, and in accordance with the requirements of Section 1043 of the New York City Charter, that the Department makes these amendments.

This rule was proposed and published on January 3, 2019. A public hearing was held on February 4, 2019.

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

DCA adds a new Section 5-259 to Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York to establish a template “Terms and Conditions” document, pursuant to Section 181(3) of the New York General Business Law, which an employment agency is required to provide to its customers. The “Terms and Conditions” document must accompany each contract and summarize the important terms and conditions contained in the contract in plain and commonly understood terms.

DCA also amends Section 5-250 requiring employment agencies to post certain signs, as required by Section 188 of the New York General Business Law. 

DCA also amends Section 5-248 to prohibit employment agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Working with the City’s rulemaking agencies, the Law Department, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Operations conducted a retrospective rules review of the City’s existing rules, identifying rules that should be repealed or modified to reduce regulatory burdens, increase equity, support small businesses, and simplify and update content to help support public understanding and compliance. This amendment to Section 5-248 was identified through this initiative.

Section 189(3) of the New York General Business Law grants DCA the authority to create administrative rules to effectuate the purposes of Article 11 of the General Business Law. Section 20-104(b)(7) of the New York City Administrative Code grants DCA the power to create rules to ensure that licensed businesses do not discriminate on the basis of sex, among other things. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex. See Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., 883 F.3d 100, 108 (2d Cir. 2018) (en banc).

DCA also amends Section 6-03(b) to add to the list of provisions of Title 6 of the Rules for which the opportunity to cure a first-time violation is available.  Specifically, DCA adds three employment agency related violations to the list: Sections 5-250 and 5-251, and Section 188 of the New York General Business Law. Section 189(5) of the New York General Business Law grants to DCA the discretion to make certain violations curable. 

Finally, DCA amends the employment agency penalty schedule in Section 6-59.  DCA indicates that first-time violations of certain provisions are curable.  DCA also changes the maximum penalty for most employment agency violations pursuant to Section 189(5) of the New York General Business Law (NYGBL).  Conforming the penalties to NYGBL Section 189(5) will double first violations and first default amounts, and will increase by ten times the current amount for all subsequent violations and defaults.

 

Effective Date: 
Fri, 03/29/2019

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Notice of Adoption

Notice of Adoption to promulgate a new rule that makes it a violation to assault, menace, unlawfully imprison, or harass, or attempt to assault, menace, unlawfully imprison, or harass, any DCA employee. A violation of this rule results in a penalty of $500 pursuant to Section 20-104(e)(1) of the New York City Administrative Code. This rule also allows DCA to immediately suspend the license of any licensee that violates this rule, subject to a prompt post-suspension hearing, at which DCA may request further suspension or revocation of the license.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs by Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b) and 20-104(e) of the New York City Administrative Code, and in accordance with the requirements of Section 1043 of the New York City Charter, that the Department repeals Sections 3-111 through 3-131, Section 5-62, and Sections 5-211 through 5-216 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York.

This rule was proposed and published on December 10, 2018. A public hearing was held on January 9, 2019.

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) performs approximately 70,000 inspections in New York City and processes approximately 105,000 customers at its licensing centers each year. Recently, DCA staff members have experienced incidents of harassing and menacing behavior while performing duties for DCA. Some of this behavior required the engagement of the New York City Police Department, and some resulted in individuals being arrested or banned from doing business with DCA. These incidents negatively impact DCA’s ability to perform its legal mandates, including, among other things, licensing and inspecting businesses. These incidents are also wasteful of taxpayer dollars, as time must be diverted from DCA’s work to address them. 

DCA is promulgating a new rule, Section 1-21 in Chapter 1 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York, that makes it a violation to assault, menace, unlawfully imprison, or harass, or attempt to assault, menace, unlawfully imprison, or harass, any DCA employee. A violation of this rule results in a penalty of $500 pursuant to Section 20-104(e)(1) of the New York City Administrative Code, as well as the immediate suspension of any DCA license, subject to a prompt post-suspension hearing, at which DCA may request further suspension or revocation of the license.

Finally, this proposed rule amends the License Enforcement Penalty Schedule in Section 6-11 of Chapter 6 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York to add an entry for violations of the proposed Section 1-21.

Effective Date: 
Mon, 03/18/2019

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

 

Notice of Adoption

Notice of Adoption to add a new rule to implement Chapter 45-A of the New York City Charter, added by Local Law 47 for the Year 2016, relating to the Department’s licensing authority.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs by Sections 1043, 1049-b, 2203(c) and 2203(h)(1) of the New York City Charter, Section 20-104 of the New York City Administrative Code, and Section 3 of Local Law 47 of 2016, and in accordance with the requirements of Section 1043 of the New York City Charter, that the Department adds Section 1-20 to Chapter 1 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York.  

This rule was proposed and published on November 5, 2018. A public hearing was held on December 5, 2018.

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

The City Council enacted Local Law 47 for the Year 2016, adding a new Section 1049-b to Chapter 45-A of the New York City Charter that (i) permits city agencies that issue licenses, permits or registrations and issue notices of violation to deny an application for, or renewal of, any license, permit or registration and may suspend, terminate or revoke any license, permit or registration based on the failure to timely pay those civil penalties; (ii) directs such city agencies to promulgate rules to implement the authority granted by the Law; and (iii) instructs city agencies to explicitly include certain factors of consideration that shall be used to determine whether to deny, suspend, or revoke any license, permit or registration.

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) adds this rule to implement the authority granted by Local Law 47.  Specifically, the rule establishes DCA’s power to deny a new or renewal application and to revoke, suspend, cancel, or terminate any license, permit or registration due to the non-payment of civil penalties imposed by OATH if a sister agency has provided DCA with the information necessary to do so.  Moreover, the rule outlines the factors that will be taken into consideration in making this determination, including the amount of time that has passed since the person failed to satisfy a judgment, the amount that is owed, and whether the person has committed a series of violations.

 

Effective Date: 
Fri, 03/01/2019

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

Certain rates prescribed in Title 6, Section 2-368 of the Rules of the City of New York are inconsistent with the rates required in Subchapter 31 of Title 20 of the New York City Administrative Code. Specifically, Sections 20-509 and 20-509.1 dictate specific charges for the towing and storage of vehicles that are different than rates provided in Section 2-368. The Department of Consumer Affairs is amending Section 2-368, to correct this inconsistency. This amendment will also remain consistent with Title 34, Section 4-07(i)(3) of the Rules of the City of New York, which is a Department of Transportation rule that references Section 2-368. 

This rule also amends the subdivision regarding the liability insurance that applicants for a tow license must carry. The Law Department recommended to DCA that references to “personal injury” in Section 2-362(d) be changed to “injury”. This recommendation was made to align the text of this rule with the common usage in the insurance industry. Commercial automobile insurance policies typically do not use the phrase “personal injury” and instead use “bodily injury.” Use of “injury” without qualification in this rule will ensure that applicants obtain sufficient liability insurance policies.

Effective Date: 
Wed, 02/27/2019

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

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, January 18, 2019
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs is proposing to add new rules to implement Local Laws 142 and 143 of 2018, which require that bail bond agents make certain disclosures.  Local Law 142 requires bail bond agents to post a sign containing certain fee information at the location where transactions are executed.  Local Law 143, among other things, requires bail bond agents to provide a consumer bill of rights to prospective customers.  Specifically, these proposed rules:

  • clarify the size and font requirements for the informational sign required by section 20-831(b) of the Administrative Code;
  • clarify the size and font requirements for the informational flyer that must be given to consumers as required by section 20-831(c) of the Administrative Code;
  • create the consumer bill of rights required by section 20-831(a) and (c) of the Administrative Code; and
  • create the bail bond fees sign as required by section 20-832 of the Administrative Code.

Finally, these proposed rules add a penalty schedule to chapter 6 of title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York for violations of the Code and Rules relating to bail bond agents. 

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b) and 20-833 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Amendment of Bail Bond Disclosure Requirements

Location: 
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs
42 Broadway 8th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Contact: 

Casey Adams, 212-436-0095, cadams@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 Subchapter B of Chapter 6 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York, which establishes fixed penalties for the violations of the laws and rules, as follows.

First, DCA amends its penalty schedule for tobacco retail dealers at Section 6-12 of Subchapter B, Chapter 6, of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York by adding a penalty provision for violations of 24 RCNY § 13-03.  The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently adopted rules related to the price floors for certain tobacco products and non-tobacco shisha.  These rules can be found at Sections 13-02 to 13-03 of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York.  DCA will be enforcing these new rules.  The penalties for violations of these rules are provided by Section 17-176.1(f) of Title 17 of the New York City Administrative Code.  

Second, DCA amends the penalty schedule for electronic or home appliance service dealers located at Section 6-31 of Subchapter B of Chapter 6 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York.  Recently, DCA amended Section 2-253 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York to eliminate a violation relating to electronic and home appliance service dealers, which was set forth as 6 RCNY § 253(a)(3).  DCA now updates the penalty schedule to incorporate this recent change by deleting the reference to that repealed provision and updating the penalty schedule to reflect the renumbering of the required notice provision.

Third, DCA amends the penalty schedule for the consumer protection law located at Section 6-47 of Subchapter B of Chapter 6 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York.  This penalty schedule will now contain an entry for violations of Part 7 of Subchapter A of Chapter 5 of the Rules of the City of New York relating to sales and discounts – namely, 6 RCNY § 5-87 through 6 RCNY § 5-103.  The penalties for such violations are contained in Section 20-703(a) of the New York City Administrative Code.

Fourth, DCA amends the penalty schedule for public safety violations located at Section 6-61 of Subchapter B of Chapter 6 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York.  This penalty schedule will now contain an entry for violations of Section 10-117(d) of the Administrative Code, which prohibits displaying aerosol spray paint cans, broad tipped indelible markers or etching acid.  The penalties for such violations are contained in Section 10-117(g), and DCA’s authority to enforce is contained in Section 10-117(h).

Finally, Local Law 142 of 2013 amended Title 16 of the New York City Administrative Code to restrict the sale of certain expanded polystyrene items.  Local Law 142 grants to the Department, among others, the power to enforce these restrictions.  To implement Local Law 142, DCA adds a new rule, Section 6-70, to Subchapter B, Chapter 6, of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York, to establish fixed penalties for violations of this law. 

Effective Date: 
Wed, 02/13/2019

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) is revising its rules to establish the community district caps required by Local Laws 144 and 146 of 2017, and to create procedures to accept applications for Tobacco Retail Dealer (“TRD”) and Electronic Cigarette Retail Dealer (“ERD”) licenses under the community district caps. Local Law 144 of 2017 requires that ERD licenses be capped at half the number of such licenses that have been issued on August 23, 2018, by community district. Local Law 146 of 2017 reduces the number of TRDs by capping the TRD licenses in each community district at half of the number of licenses that have been issued as of February 24, 2018. No new ERD or TRD licenses will be issued in a community district until the total number of licenses decreases through attrition below the respective caps.

Effective Date: 
Mon, 02/11/2019

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, February 4, 2019
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rules

DCA proposes to add a new Section 5-259 to Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York to establish a template “Terms and Conditions” document, pursuant to Section 181(3) of the New York General Business Law, which an employment agency would be required to provide to its customers. The “Terms and Conditions” document must accompany each contract and summarize the important terms and conditions contained in the contract in plain and commonly understood terms.

DCA also proposes amendments to Section 5-250 requiring employment agencies to post certain signs, as required by Section 188 of the New York General Business Law. 

DCA proposes to amend Section 5-248 to prohibit employment agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Working with the City’s rulemaking agencies, the Law Department, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Operations conducted a retrospective rules review of the City’s existing rules, identifying rules that should be repealed or modified to reduce regulatory burdens, increase equity, support small businesses, and simplify and update content to help support public understanding and compliance. This proposed amendment to Section 5-248 was identified through this initiative.

Section 189(3) of the New York General Business Law grants DCA the authority to create administrative rules to effectuate the purposes of Article 11 of the General Business Law. Section 20-104(b)(7) of the New York City Administrative Code grants DCA the power to create rules to ensure that licensed businesses do not discriminate on the basis of sex, among other things. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex. See Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., 883 F.3d 100, 108 (2d Cir. 2018) (en banc).

DCA proposes to amend Section 6-03(b) to add to the list of provisions of Title 6 of the Rules for which the opportunity to cure a first-time violation is available.  Specifically, DCA proposes to add three employment agency related violations to the list: Sections 5-250 and 5-251, and Section 188 of the New York General Business Law. Section 189(5) of the New York General Business Law grants to DCA the discretion to make certain violations curable. 

Finally, DCA proposes to amend the employment agency penalty schedule in Section 6-59.  DCA proposes to indicate that first-time violations of certain provisions are curable.  DCA also proposes to change the maximum penalty for most employment agency violations pursuant to Section 189(5) of the New York General Business Law (NYGBL).  Conforming the penalties to NYGBL Section 189(5) will double first violations and first default amounts, and will increase by ten times the current amount for all subsequent violations and defaults.

 

Keywords:
Subject: 

.Amendment of Rules Governing Employment Agencies

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

Casey Adams, 212-436-0095, cadams@dca.nyc.gov.

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