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News from DCA - Press Release

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Abigail Lootens / Tabitha Manickawasagar


DCA Inspects Every Airline Luggage Scale in New York City; Finds Initial 96 Percent Compliance and Issues 28 Stop-Use Condemnation Orders for Failing Scales

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced the results of the Department’s three-day enforcement sweep of every airline luggage scale used at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to protect travelers from luggage overcharges. DCA found an overall compliance of 96 percent in its initial inspections and issued 28 Stop-Use condemnation orders to airlines for non-compliant scales. Airlines were instructed to recalibrate condemned scales for DCA re-inspection, which then resulted in overall compliance achieving more than 99 percent. 

“With weight restrictions for carry-on baggage and fees for checked baggage, New York fliers need to know that their luggage is being weighed accurately at the City’s two major airports,” said DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “Our inspectors have inspected every scale at both LaGuardia and JFK airports to ensure that they are accurate or are taken out of service until they’ve been fixed.  I commend the airlines on their high compliance rate and thank the Transportation Security Administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as the staff at both JFK and LaGuardia Airports, for their cooperation and assistance with the City’s investigation.”

The Department of Consumer Affairs conducted an investigation of all 733 scales currently used by airlines operating in New York City airports to ensure that airlines are not wrongly charging travelers for excess baggage weight. In the first round of inspections, 96 percent of 586 luggage scales at JFK and 147 luggage scales at LGA passed the Department’s inspections, leading DCA to issue Stop-Use Orders for 23 faulty scales at JFK and five at LGA.

According to the New York City Weights and Measures Law, airport scales cannot read inaccurately by more than one pound. 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 but three faulty scales at JFK were properly recalibrated. One of the six faulty scales at LGA was still reading inaccurately and remained condemned. The overall compliance after re-inspection was 99 percent. No airline was found to have illegally operated a condemned scale.

DCA also inspected 168 retail stores in the terminal areas beyond security checkpoints. Inspectors focused on refund policy disclosure, electronic store licensing compliance, and general price labeling requirements, issuing 109 violations.

DCA enforces the City’s Weights and Measures Laws and inspects more than 17,000 scales each year in grocery stores, bodegas, laundries, delis, the City’s airports, and other businesses across the five boroughs. Overall, DCA inspectors report that all scales across the City have achieved a 99 percent rate of accuracy.

DCA enforces the Consumer Protection Law and other related business laws throughout New York City. Empowering consumers and businesses to ensure a fair and vibrant marketplace, DCA licenses more than 79,000 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. The DCA Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) was launched by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the end of 2006 as the first local government initiative in the country with the specific mission to educate, empower, and protect individuals and families with low incomes. OFE creates innovative programs, products, and services for New Yorkers so they can build assets and make the most of their financial resources. Our goal is to increase access to high-quality, low-cost financial education and counseling; connect individuals to safe and affordable mainstream banking and products and services; improve access to income-boosting tax credits, savings, and other asset building opportunities; and enforce and improve consumer financial protections to safeguard financial stability.  For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at

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