I am a big fan of the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB) and how they’ve handled consumer complaints about the banking industry and other financial industries.
But The New York Daily News reports there’s a similar organization called the Consumer Affairs Department on the city level in New York. The city’s Consumer Affairs Department isn’t about consumer protection…it’s all about the gouge.
Case in point: The paper found there was a discount store in Queens had that had little toy guns they were selling for 99 cents. They had 14 of them on the shelves.
Apparently, there’s a city regulation that says the barrels of all toys gun for sale have to be plugged up. Well, these toy guns weren’t plugged. So the store was fined $1,000 per 99 cent gun! The newspaper found example after example of similarly egregious fining at other stores all across the city.
All told, the fines generate $14 million a year for the city. This is not about consumer protection nor is it about encouraging small business. This is strictly about getting the fines and writing the violations.
What a shame.