NYC Council to Raise Consumer Affairs Fines for First Time in 52 Years

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 30, 2021
consumer

For the first time in more than half a century, the New York City Council voted to increase the fines on local businesses for price gouging and false advertising, Crain's New York Business reported. The bill raises the fines of most violations from a $50-$350 threshold to a $350-$2,500 threshold to account for inflation since the first time the penalties were enacted. Businesses would also face a $3,500 fine if found to have committed the same violation three times. Further, the bill would slightly expand the scope of the two violations to include online deception or failure to provide proper translation documents for transactions conducted in a language other than English. 

Support was not universal in the City Council. Council members who had earlier supported an opposite measure, reducing fines and penalties on small businesses for first-time offenses, said that now is not the time to be looking to increase costs, as the city is still experiencing an economic downturn. One president of an association representing bodega owners expressed skepticism that the new fines would be applied without errors, meaning that they believe it inevitable that at least some businesses in the city will have to suffer bureaucratic headaches needlessly. 

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