For Immediate Release:
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Settles With Van Leeuwen Ice Cream as Company Agrees To Comply With the Cashless Ban Law at All NYC Locations
NEW YORK, NY
– New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga today announced that DCWP has entered into a settlement agreement
with Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, requiring the company to comply with the City’s Cashless Ban Law
. Van Leeuwen, which has 19 locations in New York City, had repeatedly refused to comply with the Cashless Ban Law since it went into effect in November 2020. In response to dozens of consumer complaints, DCWP brought more than 90 cases at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) against Van Leeuwen for violations of the Cashless Ban Law. DCWP was preparing to pursue a court order to force the ice cream company to comply, which prompted Van Leeuwen to finally and immediately comply with the Cashless Ban Law at all New York City locations, and to pay $33,000 in outstanding civil penalties.
“Cash is king, which is why the Cashless Ban Law was passed to protect the unbanked and underbanked in our city,” said Mayor Adams. “We will not allow any business to take advantage of this vulnerable population or penalize customers just for wanting to use cash to pay for things. This agreement will not only ensure that those who patronize Van Leeuwen will now have the option of paying in cash, but, more importantly, it sends a clear message that those who repeatedly violate this law will be held accountable.”
“No New Yorker should be discriminated against because they can only—or want to— pay with cash,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “While DCWP takes an education-first approach to enforcing the City’s laws, systemic and flagrant defiance will not be tolerated. This is more than just an issue of compliance with the law, it’s also an issue of equity and treating all New Yorkers fairly.”
Under the Cashless Ban Law, businesses in New York City must accept cash unless they have a machine that converts cash into prepaid cards. Cashless businesses discriminate against New Yorkers who lack bank accounts, which DCWP research
shows is more than 300,000 households in New York City. Enforcement of the Cashless Ban Law is based on complaints, and DCWP had received more complaints about Van Leeuwen for this unlawful behavior than about any other business in the city.
Consumers are encouraged to file a complaint about violations at nyc.gov/dcwp
or by calling 311.
NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 51,000 businesses in more than 40 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Michael Lanza | Sheyla Navarro
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection