senate Bill S5874

Relates to the posting of prices of groceries

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 24 / Aug / 2011
    • REFERRED TO RULES
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION

Summary

Relates to the posting of prices of groceries; requires all establishments to clearly post the price of products; provides for a penalty for those establishments that fail to post prices, or charge consumers a larger amount than posted.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S5874
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Consumer Protection
Law Section:
General Business Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง349-e, Gen Bus L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5874

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the general business law, in relation to posting the cost of
products

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To establish violations for venues that fail to properly charge
consumers at point of sale consistent with the price listed at the
product display in the venue.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Subdivision 1: Defines venues that will be subject to this law and the
manner in which pricing must be displayed.

Subdivision 2: Establishes that charging a consumer in excess of the
marked price constitutes a violation.

Subdivision 3: Failure to properly display price as established in
section 1 will constitute a violation.

Subdivision 4: Defines consumers redress to a violation of
subdivision 2.

Subdivision 5: Establishes that failure to display pricing will result
in, at a minimum, a fine of five hundred for the first violation, one
thousand for a second violation and two thousand five hundred dollars
for subsequent violations.

Subdivision 6: Establishes that each day an applicable venue is in
breach of subdivision 1 or 2 will constitute a separate violation.

Subdivision 7: None of the following subdivisions will apply when a
violation is incurred by human error that is subsequently remedied at
the point of sale.

JUSTIFICATION:
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) found that
compliance declined from last year's low of 48 percent down to only
41 percent. Last year, DCA announced that its inspection of 983
supermarkets throughout the five boroughs resulted in having to issue
violations in 516 of those inspections. DCA inspectors this year
conducted 1,980 supermarket inspections and had to issue violations
in 1,162 of those inspections, with total fines assessed of
close to a million dollars. Inspectors check for accurate pricing,
proper taxing of products, and accuracy of scales and scanners, all of
which affect New Yorkers' wallets at the check-out counter.

This year doubling the number of inspections and thus doubling that
'cost of doing business' still was not enough to get the City's
supermarkets to get it right at their check-out counters. Public
pressure hasn't worked, doubling enforcement activity hasn't worked,
and so there is an impetus for this bill, which would both give
overcharged consumers ten times the amount they were overcharged and
that item for free, and also triple current fines."


In the past year's inspections the most common violations were for
failure to mark proper quantities and provide required accountability
information on food packaged in the store, adding tax to items that
are not taxable, charging the wrong prices at check-out scanners,
failing to affix price tags on individual items, and maintaining
inaccurate scales or failing to make scales available to customers
for products sold by weight.

Under this Act, every time a consumer is overcharged, they would get
both ten times the amount of the overcharge and that item for free.
Both Connecticut and Michigan have similar, successful laws on their
books, and customer payback is a standard industry best practice.
Second, the Act would triple existing fines.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
No prior bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect 90 days after it shall have become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  5874

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             August 24, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  ADAMS  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules

AN ACT to amend the general business law, in  relation  to  posting  the
  cost of products

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section
349-e to read as follows:
  S 349-E. POSTING OF THE COST OF PRODUCTS. 1. EVERY ESTABLISHMENT  THAT
REGULARLY  AND  CUSTOMARILY OFFERS FOOD PRODUCTS FOR SALE IN A BONA FIDE
MANNER FOR THE CONSUMPTION OFF THE PREMISES SHALL ENSURE THAT EACH  SUCH
PRODUCT  IS  CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE COST OF SUCH PRODUCT, EITHER ON THE
SHELF DIRECTLY ABOVE OR BELOW THE PRODUCT OR ON THE PRODUCT ITSELF.
  2. ANY ESTABLISHMENT THAT CHARGES A CONSUMER AN AMOUNT  IN  EXCESS  OF
THE PRICE MARKED ON THE PRODUCT SHALL BE IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.
  3.  ANY  ESTABLISHMENT  THAT  FAILS  TO  HAVE THE PRICE OF THE PRODUCT
CLEARLY MARKED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION  SHALL
BE IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.
  4.  ANY CONSUMER WHO IS A VICTIM OF A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION PURSU-
ANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL  BE  ENTITLED  TO  RECEIVE,
FROM  THE ESTABLISHMENT, THE PRODUCT FREE OF CHARGE PLUS AN AMOUNT EQUAL
TO TEN TIMES THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY CHARGED FOR THE PRODUCT.
  5. ANY ESTABLISHMENT WHO VIOLATES THIS SECTION PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION
THREE OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A MINIMUM FINE OF FIVE HUNDRED
DOLLARS FOR A FIRST VIOLATION, A MINIMUM FINE OF  ONE  THOUSAND  DOLLARS
FOR  A SECOND VIOLATION, AND A MINIMUM FINE OF TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED
DOLLARS FOR EACH SUBSEQUENT VIOLATION.
  6. EACH DAY SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT VIOLATION.
  7. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY ESTABLISHMENT WHEN AN  EMPLOYEE
MAKES  A  KEYSTROKE  ERROR  WHEN ENTERING THE PRICE TO BE CHARGED TO THE

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13360-01-1

S. 5874                             2

CONSUMER AND THEN IMMEDIATELY CORRECTS THE ERROR BEFORE SEEKING  PAYMENT
FROM THE CONSUMER.
  S  2.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law.

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