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News from DCA - Current Press Releases

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS CHARGES NINE USED CAR DEALERS WITH USING ILLEGAL SALES TACTICS TO DECEIVE AND PRESSURE CONSUMERS TO PAY MORE THAN ADVERTISED PRICES
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced charges against nine used car dealerships for using deceptive advertising to lure consumers into their businesses and then using high pressure sales tactics to get them to sign contracts with thousands of dollars in unwanted add-ons and forcing financing through the dealership. DCA seeks more than $950,000 in consumer restitution and fines and the revocation of the dealerships’ licenses. The nine dealerships, which are located in Brooklyn and Queens, include Planet Automotive, Inc., six locations of Giuffre Motor Car Co., LLC’s, Northern Auto Traders, LLC, and Auto Palace, Inc.




Friday, April 19, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS RELEASES REPORT REVEALING BANKING NEEDS OF THREE OF NEW YORK CITY’S GROWING IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment today, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), released the Immigrant Financial Services Study Research Brief, which surveyed more than 1,300 immigrants from China, Ecuador and Mexico to deepen the City’s understanding of the financial service needs and behaviors of New York City’s diverse and vibrant immigrant community. It revealed that, while all three groups have savings, some have a longer pathway to banking than others, in part due to misperceptions about the process of opening a banking account and access to financial institutions. The Study is part of MOIA’s One NYC One Nation initiative to strengthen immigrant communities and was made possible by generous support from Citi Community Development and New York Community Trust.




Thursday, April 11, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND CENTER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCE NEW RESEARCH CONFIRMING SAVEUSA’S INCENTIVE ENCOURAGES LOW-INCOME NEW YORKERS TO SAVE AT TAX TIME
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) Executive Director Kristin Morse today announced that low-income New Yorkers have accumulated more than $1 million in savings over the last three years by participating in the SaveUSA tax-time savings program. SaveUSA is a unique tax-time savings program that offers participants a 50 percent match up to $500 if they deposit at least $200 of their tax refund into a savings account and maintain the initial deposit for one year. With an average annual household income of just under $18,000, there have been nearly 1,700 SaveUSA participants in New York City. In 2013, 76 percent of 2012 account holders received the match, totaling more than $620,000 in combined savings plus match. This and other results of SaveUSA confirm that low-income households can and will save money when given the right opportunity were announced as a report issued by the research firm MDRC. Commissioner Mintz and Executive Director Morse also remind New Yorkers that Tax Day is Monday, April 15th and the City’s tax preparation services will be available throughout the weekend.




Thursday, April 4, 2013
DCA COMISSIONER MINTZ KICKS OFF TENTH BUSINESS EDUCATION DAY IN CORONA, QUEENS AND STAFF TRAVEL TO 34 COMMUNITIES CITYWIDE TO EDUCATE MORE THAN 2,000 BUSINESSES ABOUT HOW TO AVOID VIOLATIONS
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) today visited more than 2,000 businesses in 34 communities as part of its tenth Business Education Day. Throughout all five boroughs, more than 100 DCA staff, elected officials, representatives from City agencies, business improvement districts, and local community associations educated businesses about key consumer protection laws and licensing requirements. DCA also shared information about its improved online Business Toolbox, which features the City’s first online live chat option and for the first time makes public the checklists that DCA inspectors use to inspect almost 30 different types of businesses. The Commissioner was joined in Corona by Council Member Julissa Ferreras and representatives from Small Business Services and Senator Jose Peralta’s office.




Tuesday, April 2, 2013
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CFPB DIRECTOR CORDRAY ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO REPLICATE LOCAL CONSUMER PROTECTION AND FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT MODELS BASED ON NEW YORK CITY’S DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray today announced a partnership between New York City, the CFPB, and the Mayor’s Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) partners to help cities around the country enhance their local consumer protection and financial empowerment abilities. Building on its experience in nationally replicating the City’s Financial Empowerment Centers, the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund will work with the CFPB to help other cities leverage their enforcement and public awareness abilities to protect and empower consumers in the financial services marketplace, as well as to serve as key partners to inform and enhance the work of the CFPB on the federal level. The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund is the technical assistance and funding arm of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition, which was co-founded by Mayor Bloomberg, a group of municipal governments dedicated to using municipal powers and opportunities to help their residents with low incomes achieve financial stability. The partnership will leverage the City’s Department of Consumer Affairs, which enforces local consumer protection laws through licensing and other regulatory powers, and empowers consumers with low incomes through professional financial counseling, safe banking, and asset building programming. The Mayor and Director Cordray were joined at the announcement by New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz.




Monday, March 18, 2013
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES NEW LEGISLATION TO FURTHER REDUCE SMOKING RATE
Mayor Michel R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley, Finance Commissioner David Frankel and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced new legislation that builds on New York City’s success in reducing smoking rates over the last decade. The “Tobacco Product Display Restriction” bill would make New York City the first in the nation to keep tobacco products out of sight in retail stores, with the goal of further reducing the youth smoking rate. The second bill, “Sensible Tobacco Enforcement,” is comprised of policies that will combat illegal cigarette smuggling. Under the new legislation, sellers would be required to keep tobacco products out of sight, except during a purchase by an adult consumer or during restocking: tobacco products would be required to be kept in cabinets, drawers, under the counter, behind a curtain or in any other concealed location. The bills do not impact advertising for sellers. The bills will be introduced at the request of the Mayor by Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Chair of the Health Committee, on Wednesday. The Mayor made the announcement at Queens Hospital Center where he was joined by Council Member James Gennaro, Council Member Stephen Levin, President of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Matt Myers, Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for American Lung Association of the Northeast Michael Seilback, Senior Director of Government Relations New York City, New York State and Vermont American Heart Association Robin Vitale, Deputy Director NYC Coalition for Smoke Free City Deirdre Sully, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Regional Advocacy Director Michele Bonan and Executive Director of Queens Hospital Center Julius Wool.




Friday, March 15, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MINTZ AND CENTER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MORSE REMIND NEW YORKERS TO FILE TAXES FOR FREE OR LOW COST AND CLAIM THEIR TAX CREDITS
With one month left until the April 15th tax deadline, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) Executive Director Kristin Morse encourage New Yorkers who made $57,000 or less to file their taxes using the City’s free or low cost filing options and claim important tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the NYC Child Care Tax Credit. The City has also partnered with H&R Block to allow New Yorkers who live in Hurricane Sandy-affected zip codes and suffered the loss of their homes, household items, or vehicles to file the casualty loss form (Form 4684), which may reduce taxable income, for free at any H&R Block location in the City. City partners also opened Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in Far Rockaway and Red Hook.




Tuesday, March 5, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (DCA) NAMES DEBT COLLECTORS TOP COMPLAINT FOR THE FIFTH YEAR IN A ROW
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) today announced debt collectors were the agency’s top complaint for the fifth year in a row. In 2012, DCA received more than 650 complaints about debt collectors and was able to erase more than $1.12 million in wrongful debt collection. In the past five years, more than 4,000 New Yorkers have filed complaints about debt collectors, often about debts they don’t actually owe. DCA made the announcement at a press conference with the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau and other Federal and State agencies and organizations in order to alert New York area consumers to the top consumer complaints of the past year and to educate them on how to avoid becoming victims of these and other scams in 2013.




Monday, March 4, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS NAMES 'REMIND ME' APP WINNER OF THE 2013 FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT HACKATHON
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced Remind Me as the winner of DCA's first hackathon, where 25 participants created apps this past weekend at the DUMBO Loft. Remind Me automatically calls Financial Empowerment Center clients to remind them of their appointment and gives them the option to reschedule or cancel and get information like directions and what to bring. The app will be used by DCA to help New Yorkers manage their money and support the work of the Financial Empowerment Centers.




Wednesday, February 20, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS ANNOUNCES THE CITY’S FIRST ONLINE LIVE CHAT FOR BUSINESSES AND RELEASES INSPECTOR CHECKLISTS TO HELP BUSINESSES AVOID VIOLATIONS
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced Good for Customers, Great for Business, a business outreach campaign that features the City’s first online live chat option, which enables New York businesses to easily ask questions during business hours without having to visit DCA’s Licensing Center or take time away from their customers to call in a question. The campaign also highlights an updated 10 Things Every Business Should Know guide and an improved online Business Toolbox, which for the first time, makes public the checklists that DCA inspectors use to inspect almost 30 different types of businesses. To market the new resources, advertisements are running on 2,000 subway cars, bus shelters, telephone kiosks, newspapers and online.



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