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HOLIDAY TRAVELERS CAN PACK THEIR BAGS AND ENJOY THEIR TRIPS AS CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MINTZ ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF NEW YORK CITY AIRLINE SCALES ENFORCEMENT SWEEP
DCA Inspects Every Airline Luggage Scale in New York City; Finds Initial 92 Percent Compliance and Issues 57 Stop-Use Orders for Failing Scales
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today
announced results of the Department’s 3-week enforcement sweep of every airline
luggage scale used at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia
Airport (LGA) to ensure that scales are accurately calibrated and protect
holiday travelers from luggage overcharges. DCA found 92 percent compliance in
its initial inspections and issued 57 Stop-Use Orders to airlines for failing
scales. Upon re-inspection of condemned scales after their recalibration by the
airlines, overall compliance rose to over 99.7 percent. According to the U.S.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics, airlines collected nearly $670 million in
baggage fees in the second quarter of 2009 alone.
“If airlines are going to charge consumers for checking their luggage and
charge them even more if their luggage is overweight, then their scales better
be working properly,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz.
“Consumer Affairs inspectors are checking each and every scale in New York
City’s airports, condemning faulty scales on the spot, and then going back to
re-inspect them to make sure they’ve been fixed. We’d like to thank the Port
Authority, as well as the staff at both JFK and La Guardia Airports, for their
cooperation and assistance with our investigation.”
The Department of Consumer Affairs conducted an investigation of all 741
scales used by airlines operating in New York City airports to ensure that
airlines are not wrongly charging holiday travelers for excess baggage weight.
In the first round of inspections, 92 percent of 608 luggage scales at JFK
passed the Department’s inspections, leading DCA to issue Stop-Use Orders for 48
faulty scales. The number of scales which passed DCA’s initial inspection is up
nearly 6 percent from last year, when only 88 percent of airline scales at JFK
and LGA passed. At LGA, 93 percent of the 133 luggage scales passed the
Department’s accuracy test. DCA issued an additional 9 Stop-Use Orders to
airlines for failing scales at LGA.
When scales do not read accurately, DCA issues Stop-Use Orders and a
certificate of failed inspection for each failed scale, and requires the
airlines to recalibrate the broken scales within five business days. Upon
re-inspection, all of the 48 faulty scales at JFK were properly recalibrated.
However, two of the nine faulty scales at LGA were still reading inaccurately
and were condemned. The overall compliance after re-inspection was 99.7
DCA enforces the City’s Weights and Measures Laws and inspects more than
11,000 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 inaccurately by more than 1 pound. Overall, DCA inspectors report that New
York City scales have achieved a 99 percent rate of accuracy.
DCA also 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 71,000 businesses in 57 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.
DCA’s OFE administers a citywide network of Financial Empowerment Centers and
other products and services that help these New Yorkers 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.
Editor Note: High resolution jpegs are
available upon request.