1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. General Obligations
  4. Article 5: Creation, Definition and Enforcement of Contractual Obligations
  5. Title 7: Requirements of Writing, Execution or Acknowledgment for Effectiveness or Enforceability


Section 5-702 Requirements for use of plain language in consumer transactions

General Obligations (GOB)

Requirements for use of plain language in consumer transactions. a. Every written agreement entered into after November first, nineteen hundred seventy-eight, for the lease of space to be occupied for residential purposes, for the lease of personal property to be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes or to which a consumer is a party and the money, property or service which is the subject of the transaction is primarily for personal, family or household purposes must be:

  1. Written in a clear and coherent manner using words with common and every day meanings;

  2. Appropriately divided and captioned by its various sections.

  Any creditor, seller or lessor who fails to comply with this subdivision shall be liable to a consumer who is a party to a written agreement governed by this subdivision in an amount equal to any actual damages sustained plus a penalty of fifty dollars. The total class action penalty against any such creditor, seller or lessor shall not exceed ten thousand dollars in any class action or series of class actions arising out of the use by a creditor, seller or lessor of an agreement which fails to comply with this subdivision. No action under this subdivision may be brought after both parties to the agreement have fully performed their obligation under such agreement, nor shall any creditor, seller or lessor who attempts in good faith to comply with this subdivision be liable for such penalties. This subdivision shall not apply to a good faith attempt to describe the constant yield or other method of determining the lease charge and depreciation portions of each base rental payment under a lease of personal property. It also shall not apply to agreements involving amounts in excess of one hundred thousand dollars nor prohibit the use of words or phrases or forms of agreement required by state or federal law, rule or regulation or by a governmental instrumentality.

  b. A violation of the provisions of subdivision a of this section shall not render any such agreement void or voidable nor shall it constitute:

  1. A defense to any action or proceeding to enforce such agreement; or

  2. A defense to any action or proceeding for breach of such agreement.

  c. In addition to the above, whenever the attorney general finds that there has been a violation of this section, he may proceed as provided in subdivision twelve of section sixty-three of the executive law.