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News from DCA - Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tali Aronsky/Elizabeth Miller (DCA): (212) 487-4283


CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MINTZ ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF AIRPORT SCALES ENFORCEMENT SWEEP TO REASSURE NEW YORKERS PREPARING FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL RUSH

DCA Inspects All 810 Luggage Scales at JFK and LaGuardia Airports

City Issues More Than 100 Stop-Use Orders for Failing Scales

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced results of a month-long enforcement sweep of every airport scale at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to ensure passengers are fairly charged for checked baggage in the face of increasing airline luggage fees and the upcoming holiday travel rush. The initial investigation led the Department to issue more than 100 Stop-Use Orders for failing airport scales.

"If airlines are going to start charging travelers left and right for their luggage, their scales better be perfect," said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. "Here in New York City's airports, Consumer Affairs is checking each and every scale, condemning faulty scales on the spot."

To ensure airlines do not overcharge holiday travelers for excess baggage weight, the Department of Consumer Affairs conducted an investigation of all 810 scales used in New York City Airports. In the first round of inspections, 14 percent of airport scales at JFK failed to pass the Department's inspections, leading DCA to issue a Stop-Use Order on 97 faulty scales at JFK. At LGA, 96 percent of its airport scales passed the Department's accuracy test, with only five of its 140 scales failing. For each failed scale, DCA issued airlines with Stop-Use Orders and a certificate of failed inspection, requiring them to recalibrate the broken scales within five business days.

Upon re-inspection, the five inaccurate scales at LGA passed, making LGA scales 100 percent accurate. However, re-inspections at JFK led Consumer Affairs to issue violations and condemn 10 scales, which were not properly recalibrated, yet continued to be used. The remaining 87 failing scales at JFK passed their re-inspection.

DCA enforces the City's Weights and Measures Law and inspects nearly 6,000 scales each year in grocery stores, bodegas, and the City's airports. According to the New York City Weights and Measures Law, airport scales cannot read more than 1 pound inaccurate. New York City scales boast a 99 percent accuracy rate.

DCA enforces the Consumer Protection Law and other related business laws throughout New York City. Ensuring a fair and vibrant marketplace for consumers and businesses alike, DCA licenses more than 60,000 businesses in 55 different categories. Through targeted outreach, partnerships with community and trade organizations, and informational materials, DCA educates consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at www.nyc.gov/consumers.

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Editor Note : High resolution jpegs are available upon request.

DCA-Approved Scale Seal

DCA-Condemned Scale Seal