December 21, 2023
DCWP has put more than $315 million into the pockets of New Yorkers since the start of the Adams Administration
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga today celebrated the end of the year by looking back at DCWP’s work to protect and enhance the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities in 2023. Since the beginning of the Adams Administration, DCWP has put more than $315 million into the pockets of New Yorkers through consumer and worker restitution, debt relief, and financial empowerment programs.
“From protecting consumers from the dangers of uncertified lithium-ion batteries, to providing a dignified pay rate for our city’s restaurant delivery workers, I am proud of the work that DCWP and our sister agencies have done this year to support working New Yorkers,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “Thank you to Mayor Adams for pushing us to work creatively and collaboratively to get stuff done for our fellow New Yorkers. Let’s make next year even better!”
DCWP Highlights from 2023 include:
Empowering and Educating Consumers in the Marketplace: From filing more than 84,000 tax returns through NYC Free Tax Prep to filing lawsuits against businesses seeking to prey on consumers, DCWP strives to enhance the daily economic lives of all New Yorkers. In addition to expanding access to NYC Financial Empowerment Centers, which have helped New Yorkers reduce their debt by more than $100 million since 2008, DCWP also provides consumers with tips and educational resources to help them make the most of their hard-earned money.
Supporting our City’s Growing Self-Employed Population: In July, Mayor Adams, DCWP, and the Law Department announced a settlement with L’Officiel USA securing more than $275,000 in worker relief over the company’s widespread failure to pay freelancers on time or fully, in violation of the city’s “Freelance Isn’t Free Act.” DCWP also recently launched the expansion of NYC Free Tax Prep services for Self-Employed Filers, which provides free tax preparation services for gig workers, freelancers and small business owners who often face barriers to filing taxes and managing financial recordkeeping.
Protecting Consumers from Uncertified Lithium-Ion Batteries: In September, DCWP began enforcing a new law requiring that all lithium-ion batteries and the micromobility devices that use them that are sold, leased, or rented in NYC must be certified by an accredited testing laboratory. Since the start of enforcement, DCWP has issued nearly 100 summonses to brick-and-mortar and online retailers for violating the law.
Building a Culture of Compliance with the City’s Laws: DCWP kicked off its annual series of Business Education Days this year in the Bronx with Council Member Velázquez. In 2023, DCWP conducted 20 Business Education Day events around the five boroughs, visiting more than 1,000 local businesses to answer questions and inform business owners about what they need to know to comply with the city’s business laws, which cover consumer and workplace protection, licensing, weights and measures, and more. DCWP also conducted more than 1,200 educational inspections for new businesses opening in NYC to help them understand the laws DCWP enforces through the Visiting Inspectors Program.
Defending New Yorkers’ Rights in the Workplace: From getting wrongfully terminated workers reinstated to their positions to securing millions of dollars in worker relief, DCWP held businesses accountable for violating the city’s workplace laws. In 2023, DCWP received more than 570 complaints about potential workplace violations, closed more than 240 investigations, and secured almost $10 million in restitution and civil penalties for nearly 6,000 workers across all workplace cases. DCWP also empowered workers to understand their rights in their workplaces by conducting education and outreach, like the inaugural Paid Care Open House launched this year.
Providing a Dignified Pay Rate for Restaurant Delivery Workers: In November, the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court rejected the delivery apps’ challenge, allowing enforcement of the nation’s first Minimum Pay Rate for app-based restaurant delivery workers to begin. Delivery apps, like Uber, DoorDash, and Grubhub, must now pay delivery workers a dignified rate of at least $17.96 per hour, not including tips.
Safeguarding NYC’s Youth from the Dangers of Illegal Tobacco and E-Cigarettes: Since the beginning of the year, DCWP shut down over 50 unlicensed smoke shops and other businesses illegally selling tobacco and electronic cigarettes, collecting more than $1.2 million in penalties owed to the city. DCWP has prioritized closing dedicated smoke shops that have a history of violating NYC laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco and electronic cigarettes to minors and the sale of illegal flavored products, as well as those that have been suspected of selling cannabis without a state license. Additionally, DCWP conducts routine enforcement of all tobacco and electronic cigarette retailers. In total, DCWP has collected more than $4 million in penalties from these businesses in 2023.
The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 45,000 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.