The Department of Consumer Affairs has implemented a set of sweeping reforms to ease the burden on small business owners and a plan to meet Mayor Bill de Blasio's "fine reduction goal" of 21% -- or approximately $5 million -- the DCA announced Wednesday.
Key changes include issuing only one violation for any piece of information missing from a sign, receipt or record book as opposed to issuing multiple violations for each missing piece. In many instances of signage violations, first-time offenders will be given warnings instead of fines and first-timers who can prove they have remedied a violation (such as failing to post a refund policy) within 30 days will have fines dismissed.
The DCA has also provided checklists at nyc.gov/BusinessToolbox so businesses owners will know what inspectors are likely to examine when they visit. Merchants will be able to request that inspections be conducted in the language of their choice. Translation services have also been expanded. Outreach efforts include "business education days," open houses and an online live chat option. Beginning July 21, an inspector will be in the licensing center to answer questions about rules and regulations.
While lessening "onerous fines on small businesses" the agency said it will continue to regulate and fine businesses that raise health concerns, flout rules, engage in predatory behavior or damage public wellbeing.