Experienced DCA Defense Lawyer
Hinch Newman is the go-to resource if the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is investigating your company or has initiated an enforcement action as a result of an alleged violation of the City's consumer protection laws. As recent events have illustrated, the DCA has taken an increasingly aggressive investigative posture toward businesses operating within New York City.
The Department possesses broad statutory powers to investigate and take action against businesses on behalf of consumers. Settlements reached in DCA's Adjudication Division have the force of a final order. Failure to obey the terms of these agreements may result in additional sanctions, including fines and license suspension or revocation. DCA also brings cases in state court.
We are a NYC Department of Consumer Affairs investigation and defense law firm that possesses extraordinary perspective gained from many years of defending DCA investigations on behalf of a diverse base of clients. The firm's concentrated experience with DCA consumer protection matters distinguishes us from other firms and leads to superior results for those that we represent.
Knowledge of Agency Inner Workings
In the high-stakes area of government regulation, there is no substitute for experience. Our cumulative knowledge of the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs’ inner workings is invaluable to our clients.
We serve as zealous advocates on behalf of our clients in all aspects of defending DCA investigations and enforcement actions, including, without limitation, sit-downs with regulators, responding to requests for information, producing responsive documents, negotiating favorable settlements and, when necessary, administrative hearings.
Our representative experience defending and favorably resolving a wide variety of DCA investigations on behalf of prominent New York based businesses, coupled with the strong working relationships we have built with the DCA decision-makers and staff attorneys that lead such inquiries, are a distinct benefit to our clients.
We also regularly counsel clients on the design and implementation of comprehensive compliance strategies and preventative controls.
A Firm That Knows the Rules
The NYC DCA enforces, without limitation, the New York City Administrative Code and the Rules of the City of New York. If you or your business are the subject of a NYC Department of Consumer Affairs investigation or enforcement matter, you need a consumer protection defense attorney that possesses familiarity with the laws that govern businesses in New York City and years of practical experience successfully resolving agency inquiries and related consumer complaints.
The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) is the New York City's central independent administrative law court. The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Division is independent from the agencies that issue the summons and is the nation's largest administrative tribunal.
OATH is responsible for holding hearings on summonses issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs. There are different ways someone can respond to a summons that is filed at OATH. OATH has a Trials Division, which handles complex administrative law matters, and a Hearings Division, which handles hearings on summonses.
OATH's Trials Division adjudicates matters that are similar to civil trials, without a jury. There are streamlined procedural rules and pre-trial discovery is available. Administrative trials do not require strict adherence to the rules of evidence or the rules of civil procedure. However, OATH does rely upon both to reasonably ensure the essential elements of a fair trial are afforded to litigants.
The OATH Hearings Division is the division of OATH holds hearings on summonses issued by a variety of agencies, including the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, formerly known as the Department of Consumer Affairs.
You can find more information about OATH, including its procedural rules, by consulting a NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) attorney and by reading, here.
NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Lawyer
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs recently changed its name to the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. NYC DCWP lawyers will have a new mandate to better protect consumers and workers. It its expanded role, NYC DWP attorneys at the agency will also enforce paid sick leave laws, intervene when a for-hire worker is mistreated or a freelancer's pay is delayed, and regulate the marketplace, including consumers, business and workers.
If you have been charged with violating the consumer protection laws and rules that the DCA enforces, please submit your matter using our Free Online Case Submission Form or phone us for a free consultation.
The following are examples of recent New York City Department of Consumer Affairs investigations and enforcement matters we have handled to successful resolution:
- Represented a leading health and fitness chain in an investigation by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs to determine whether there had been multiple violations of the Consumer Protection Law, the Administrative Code of the City of New York and the Rules of the City of New York relating to claims of false advertising in conjunction with promotional marketing programs. The firm successfully negotiated an extremely favorable settlement where respondent paid only a small fraction of the damages alleged by the DCA. The matter was resolved amicably without any resulting litigation or admission of culpability.
- Represented a nationally licensed and recognized collections agency in an investigation by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs to determine whether there had been multiple violations of the License Enforcement Law and Rules, the Debt Collection Agencies Law and Rules, the Consumer Protection Law and Rules, the New York City Administrative Code and the Rules of the City of New York relating to claims of violating collection letter requirements. Allegations included the failure to send written confirmations of debt payment schedules/settlement agreements and failing to disclose prior settlement agreements in conjunction with a license renewal application. The firm successfully negotiated extremely favorable settlement terms where respondent paid only a small proportion of the damages alleged by the DCA. The matter was resolved quietly and amicably without any resulting litigation or admission of culpability.
- Successfully defended full-service pharmacy located in New York City against highly-publicized consumer, New York State Office of the Attorney General and NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (n/k/a NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection) charges alleging the advertising or offering for sale certain necessary consumer protection goods during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at unconscionably excessive prices. The New York AG alleged violation of section 396-r of the New York General Business Law and the Rules of the City of New York (6 RCNY §5-38). The NYC DCA alleged violation of 6 RCNY §§ 5-38 and 5-42, also mandating compliance with NYC Administrative Code § 20-700, et seq. proscribing unfair, deceptive or unconscionable trade practices. The firm successfully resolved the NY OAG matter with no monetary settlement while avoiding the initiation of enforcement proceedings. The firm also successfully resolved the NYC DCA investigation by negotiating extremely favorable settlement terms where respondent paid only a small fraction of the damages alleged by the DCA. All matters were resolved quietly and amicably without any resulting litigation, finding of liability or any admission of culpability.
- Successfully defended numerous home improvement contractors and home improvement salespersons against multiple consumer and Departmental-based charges alleging violations of New York Administrative Code relating to the failure to perform work and the Rules of the City of New York relating to contract violations. The firm negotiated extremely favorable settlement terms, resulting in negligible payments and releases of liability. All charges and licensure inquiries were subsequently dropped and released without any admissions of culpability.
- Successfully defended home improvement contractor and home improvement salesperson against Departmental-based charges alleging violations of New York Administrative Code relating to unlicensed home improvement activity. The firm negotiated extremely favorable settlement terms where respondents paid only a miniscule proportion of the statutorily provided damages. All charges and licensure inquiries were subsequently dropped and released without any admissions of culpability.