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News from DCA - Current Press Releases

Monday, October 3, 2011
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS CHARGES MIDTOWN ELECTRONICS STORE LAFNAC DIGITAL COMPUTERS WITH DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced charges against Midtown electronic store, Lafnac Digital Computers, Ltd. (5 West 42nd Street), including deceptive trade practices and unlicensed activity. Since Lafnac opened in 2002, DCA received and mediated more than 100 consumer complaints regarding its sales practices. Most of the complaints were filed by international tourists who reported Lafnac making false promises about products and prices, luring them into making purchases. These practices are in violation of the City’s Consumer Protection Law, Truth-in-Pricing Law and the Rules of the City of New York. Lafnac, which sold computers, cameras and cell phones, also deceptively evaded the City’s licensing law by attempting to make use of an exemption loophole.




Thursday, September 15, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, SPEAKER QUINN, DEPUTY MAYOR GIBBS AND HEALTH COMMISSIONER FARLEY ANNOUNCE NUMBER OF CITY SMOKERS HAS HIT AN ALL-TIME LOW AT 14 PERCENT
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley today announced that New York City’s adult smoking rate has reached an all-time low with only 14 out of 100 New Yorkers still smoking. This marks a decrease in the number of New Yorkers who smoke by 35 percent since 2002, when the Health Department began its efforts to reduce tobacco use. This translates to approximately 450,000 fewer adult smokers in New York City, with some of the steepest declines registered among Staten Islanders and teens city-wide. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Farley were joined at the Health Department’s new Long Island City headquarters for today’s announcement by Senator Michael Gianaris, Council Member Gale Brewer and a New Yorker who has successfully quit smoking through the City’s efforts.




Tuesday, August 30, 2011
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS ISSUES BACK-TO-SCHOOL SHOPPING TIPS TO “PROTECT YOUR MONEY”
With the new school year starting next week Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz has issued “protect your money” pointers for families shopping for their kids’ back-to-school needs.




Thursday, August 18, 2011
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MINTZ ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF SECOND YEARLONG CRACKDOWN ON SUPERMARKETS: LOW COMPLIANCE SINKS EVEN LOWER
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced that, following a commitment last August the agency doubled the number of supermarket inspections in response to low industry-wide compliance, and found that compliance declined from last year’s low of 48 percent down to only 41 percent. Last year, DCA announced that its inspection of 983 supermarkets throughout the five boroughs resulted in having to issue violations in 516 of those inspections. Making good on the Commissioner’s promise, DCA inspectors this year conducted 1,980 supermarket inspections and had to issue violations in 1,162 of those inspections, with total fines assessed of close to a million dollars. Inspectors check for accurate pricing, proper taxing of products, and accuracy of scales and scanners, all of which affect New Yorkers’ wallets at the check-out counter.




Tuesday, August 9, 2011
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (DCA) LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO DEBT SETTLEMENT COMPANIES
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz announced today that DCA is issuing subpoenas to 15 debt settlement companies, all of which were the subjects of complaints by New Yorkers and/or are based in the New York City area. The subpoenas are targeted to reveal the extent to which these companies have fraudulently lured New York City consumers with illegal advertising claims and charged them additional upfront fees, and to examine to what extent anyone has actually been helped, rather than harmed, by their “settlement” services. DCA identified these companies after examining consumer complaints filed with DCA and other consumer protection partners, as well as by companies’ local and online advertisements that make such promises as to “cut your debt in half.” This investigation is the next step in DCA’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from the predatory practices of debt collectors, process servers and other key industries, and follows Commissioner Mintz’s announcement in March that the debt settlement industry represented the single greatest consumer fraud of the year.




Wednesday, July 27, 2011
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS LAUNCHES #NICKELED&DIMED ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK, DEPUTIZING NEW YORKERS TO ACT AS “SECRET SHOPPERS” FOR SUPERMARKET OVERCHARGES
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced #nickeled&dimed, a new outreach initiative to educate New Yorkers about their rights at the supermarket and deputize them to act as “secret shoppers” and report if they experience overcharges at the supermarket. New Yorkers can tweet their stories to @NYCDCA using the hashtag #nickeled&dimed and post to DCA’s Facebook page. This outreach initiative is part of the Department’s two-year intensive crackdown on extensive illegal pricing practices at City supermarkets.




Monday, June 27, 2011
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MINTZ ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF THE 2011 PROTECT YOUR MONEY CAMPAIGN
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced the launch of the 2011 Protect Your Money campaign, a public awareness campaign to warn New Yorkers about scams to avoid and let them know about free help that is available by calling 311. The campaign highlights the successes of real New Yorkers who sought help from the City to deal with a debt settlement scam, a home improvement contractor who refused to finish the job, opening a bank account instead of using check cashers, and foreclosure prevention counseling that helped a New Yorker keep her home. Advertisements are in 3,000 subway cars and will also be featured in major daily and community newspapers and phone kiosks.




Thursday, June 9, 2011
NYC DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND MAYOR’S OFFICE OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS JOIN THE DEPARTMENTS OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND JUSTICE ALONG WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO ANNOUNCE MULTI-AGENCY EFFORT
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama joined the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to announce a nationwide initiative to combat Immigration Services Scams. As part of today’s initiative DCA announced recent enforcement efforts to protect immigrants from immigration service providers who break the law. Immigrant service providers are authorized to only offer clerical services and must follow local laws that prevent them from falsely claiming to be able to provide legal services and from using contracts that don’t clearly define the contract requirements that ensure consumers know precisely what services are being provided.




Wednesday, May 18, 2011
CITY TO HOLD 4TH ANNUAL FREE SHRED FEST MAY 22ND TO HELP NEW YORKERS PROTECT THEIR IDENTITIES
The Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, the Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator and Chief Advisor to the Mayor for Policy and Strategic Planning John Feinblatt, Council Member and Consumer Affairs Committee Chair Daniel Garodnick and representatives from the Municipal Credit Union, Staples and shredding companies today announced that the City’s 4th annual Shred Fest, a free paper-shredding event to increase public awareness of identity theft prevention, will be held Sunday, May 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. New Yorkers can shred personal documents for free at 16 locations throughout the five boroughs. Complimentary personal paper shredders, donated by Staples®, will be given to the first four people to arrive at each location. Documents will be shredded in industrial shredders mounted with TV monitors so consumers can verify for themselves that their materials are being shredded securely. The event is hosted in partnership with Department of Parks & Recreation and the Department of Sanitation.




Thursday, May 12, 2011
THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS (DCLA), THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (DCA) OFFICE OF FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT (OFE), AND BEDFORD STUYVESANT RESTORATION CORPORATION HOST “THE ART OF MONEY"
On Saturday, May 14, 2011, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), in partnership with the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration), will host the third “The Art of Money: Personal Financial Resources for Artists” event. The program will take place from noon to 5PM at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, 1368 Fulton Street (at New York Avenue), followed by a Networking Reception from 5PM-7PM at the Skylight Gallery on Restoration’s third floor. The event will offer free financial workshops tailored to more than 200 artists and independent workers in all fields, as well as one-on-one financial counseling sessions at the NYC Financial Empowerment Center at Restoration, and an exhibitor fair featuring arts service organizations from across New York City. All activities will take place on Restoration’s campus.



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