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News from DCA - Current Press Releases

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS CONDUCTS SUPERMARKET SWEEP OF MORE THAN 700 STORES: ONE OUT OF TWO FAIL INSPECTION
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced that DCA’s investigations of supermarkets throughout New York City resulted in a compliance rate of only 48 percent. In the five New York City neighborhoods with the highest poverty levels, all of which are in the Bronx, the compliance rate was only 36 percent.




Wednesday, August 4, 2010
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS PROVIDES NEW YORKERS WITH PRACTICAL TIPS FOR SMART BACK-TO-SCHOOL SHOPPING
With the new school year rapidly approaching, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz has issued “protect your money” pointers for families shopping for their kids’ back-to-school needs.




Wednesday, August 4, 2010
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MINTZ LAUNCHES AN INVESTIGATION OF METROPOLITAN NY TOWING, AUTO BODY & SALVAGE ASSOCIATION
Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz announced today the opening of the Department’s investigation of the Metropolitan NY Towing, Auto Body & Salvage Association (“Metro Tow Association”) in light of evidence that the Association had repeatedly engaged in fraudulent or illegal activity. The scope of the investigation includes whether Metro Tow Association has counseled its members to provide false information to the Department, facilitated false submissions, and engaged in other fraudulent or illegal activities.




Tuesday, August 3, 2010
FIRST DEPUTY MAYOR PATRICIA E. HARRIS AND DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JONATHAN MINTZ ANNOUNCE THAT NEW YORKERS CAN NOW ACCESS EVERY DCA LICENSING SERVICE ONLINE
First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced that New York business owners in all 55 of the industries DCA licenses can now access licensing services online at nyc.gov/consumers.




Thursday, July 29, 2010
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCE NYC FIRST ACCOUNT, A SAFE BANK ACCOUNT FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS, TO HELP BREAK THE UNBANKED CYCLE
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav today announced the NYC First Account, a safe bank account designed to encourage young New Yorkers to open a bank account as they enter the workforce for the first time. The account is available to all DYCD Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) participants between the ages of 18 and 24. The NYC First Account is the next step in DCA's efforts to develop safe banking products and encourage New Yorkers to become banked.




Tuesday, June 8, 2010
CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JONATHAN MINTZ ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF THE CITY’S FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT CENTERS SERVICES TO INCLUDE COUNSELING IN CHINESE, HOMEOWNERSHIP AND FORECLOSURE PREVENTION COUNSEL
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced three new Financial Empowerment Centers which will offer free, one-on-one professional financial counseling to New York City residents. The new Financial Empowerment Centers, which are administered by DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) in partnership with Credit Where Credit Is Due (CWCID), Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City (NHS), offer specialized counseling to homeowners in need and, at AAFE, expand financial counseling services to Mandarin and Cantonese speaking New Yorkers. The new centers are made possible through a partnership with NeighborWorks America. The City’s network of Financial Empowerment Centers help clients with money management, budgeting, credit counseling, negotiating with creditors, finding affordable banking services, debt management, government benefit screenings and referrals to other services and organizations.




Monday, May 24, 2010
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS ANNOUNCES SOUNDBITE COMMUNICATIONS AGREES NOT TO SELL TEXT MESSAGING SERVICES FOR OVERDRAFT ENROLLMENT
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced that SoundBite Communications will not sell services that include the use of text messages as a method to obtain consent to enroll consumers into overdraft protection services. The Department called upon banks and marketing firms such as SoundBite not to undermine new federal regulations with illegal or aggressive solicitations to enroll New Yorkers into overdraft protection earlier this year. SoundBite agreed its platform will only use direct mail, telephone, or e-mail and Web-based electronic communications to provide overdraft notices and obtain customer enrollments. SoundBite Communications promotes its “text message solution” to financial institutions, which must obtain the consent of customers before enrolling them into overdraft services, per new federal regulations going into effect beginning July 1. SoundBite agreed that these new federal regulations, which make the current practice of automatic overdraft enrollment illegal, do not allow financial institutions to provide notice or obtain consent via text messages.




Friday, May 21, 2010
CITY TO HOLD 3RD ANNUAL SHRED FEST MAY 23RD TO HELP NEW YORKERS PROTECT THEIR IDENTITIES
The Department of Consumer Affairs and the Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator, in partnership with Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Sanitation, today announced that the City’s 3rd annual Shred Fest, a free paper-shredding event to increase public awareness of identity theft prevention, will be held Sunday, May 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. New Yorkers can shred personal documents at 11 locations throughout the five boroughs. Documents will be shredded in industrial shredders mounted with TV monitors so consumers can verify for themselves that their materials are being shredded securely. Stapled documents can be shredded, however, documents bound with metal binder clips cannot. In 2008, the state of New York reported more than 22,000 identity theft complaints. Shredding documents that contain personal identifying information before throwing them away is one of the most important ways consumers can prevent identity theft.




Monday, May 17, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG and CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MINTZ ANNOUNCE NEW DEBT COLLECTION REGULATIONS TO PROTECT NEW YORKERS FROM BEING HARASSED FOR DEBTS THEY DO NOT OWE
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced new debt collection regulations designed to prevent New Yorkers from being harassed about debts they don’t owe – a problem that has grown since the onset of the national recession in late 2007. Collectors, armed with a list of debtors, routinely attempt to collect from anyone in the five boroughs with the same name as a person on the list, regardless of whether the debt belongs to that person. Under the new regulations, any debt collection agency attempting to collect a debt from a New Yorker must provide proof the debt is owed at the consumer’s request.
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Friday, May 14, 2010
CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JONATHAN MINTZ ADDRESSES NEW YORK STATE CHECK-CASHING INDUSTRY BY CALLING FOR IT TO EXPLORE WEALTH BUILDING PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The following is the text of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz’s remarks as prepared for delivery at the Financial Service Centers of New York 18th Annual Conference & Exposition
“Thank you for inviting me to join you today. I’m here today to talk about the Bloomberg Administration’s approach to meeting the financial services needs of consumers with low incomes – a market that you all have long recognized for its potential, and that the many banks have long ignored. There are over 825,000 adults in New York City who live in households where no one has a checking or savings account – and hundreds of thousands of others have banks accounts but primarily rely on check cashers like yourselves and other non-banks to conduct their core financial transactions.



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