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News from DCA - Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tali Aronsky/Elizabeth Miller
Department of Consumer Affairs
(212) 487-4283


DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS KEEPS CLOSE WATCH OVER GAS STATION ACCURACY

Commissioner Mintz Assures New Yorkers Will Get Every Drop They Pay For This Summer

With the summer driving season getting underway, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced a 98 percent compliance rate for the City’s gas pumps. Under the City’s Weights and Measures law, DCA tests all gas pumps for accuracy to ensure that New York City consumers are getting every drop of gas that they pay for. In the past year, DCA has performed more than 1,800 gas station inspections, checking more than 12,000 individual gas pumps throughout the five boroughs. During its inspections of the City’s gas stations over the past year, the Department condemned 227 gas pumps for inaccurately dispensing fuel. On average, DCA’s gas squad inspects each gas station in the City approximately twice a year.

“The cost of gasoline may be out of our control, but making sure that New Yorkers get what they pay for isn’t,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “Consumer Affairs inspectors are out there every day making sure that gas pumps are working properly, and with such high compliance rates, gas station owners have clearly gotten the message.”

DCA inspectors check gas pumps for dispensing accuracy, ensuring that consumers get all the fuel they pay for at the pump. The Department checks gas octane levels and water content to ensure gas is up to standard. Inspectors also check fill ports to ensure they are properly marked, in addition to checking that proper signage is posted, including that the unit price on the pump matches the price posted in the station’s main signage.

Any gas pump that fails to dispense accurately is immediately condemned by DCA inspectors and must be fixed before it can be put back into service. Additionally, pumps that fail inspection are routed for follow up inspections.

DCA also performs inspections based upon consumer complaints. New York City consumers can call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/consumers to file a complaint. In FY09, the Department received 1,329 complaints, compared to 948 the previous year. The most common consumer complaints concern is overcharge.

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, DCA licenses more than 70,000 businesses in 55 different industries. Through targeted outreach, partnerships with community and trade organizations, and informational materials, DCA educates consumers and businesses alike about their rights and responsibilities. DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment is the first municipal office of its kind in the nation with a mission to educate, empower and protect New Yorkers with low incomes, to help them make the best use of their financial resources to move forward economically. For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at www.nyc.gov/consumers.