[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady: Art. I, 6-10-1974 by L.L. No. 4-1974. Section 260-3B amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
Office of Consumer Protection — See Ch. 109.
Article I Unfair Trade Practices
[Adopted 6-10-1974 by L.L No. 4-1974]
Editor's Note: Former Art. I, Weights and Measures, adopted 6-1-1971 as part of L.L. No. 4-1971, as amended, was repealed 4-3-1989 by Ord. No. 89-43, which ordinance also provided for the renumbering of former §§ 260-11 through 260-13 as §§ 260-1 through 260-3, respectively, and former § 260-3 as § 260-4.
No person shall engage in any deceptive or unconscionable trade practice in the sale, lease, rental or in the offering for sale, lease or rental of any consumer goods or services.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
- The Office of Consumer Protection and its representatives.[Amended 4-3-1989 by Ord. No. 89-43]
- A purchaser, lessee or recipient or prospective purchaser, lessee or recipient of consumer goods or services.
- CONSUMER GOODS AND SERVICES
- Goods and services which are primarily for personal, household or family purposes.
- DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICE
- Any false, falsely disparaging or misleading oral or written statement, visual description or other representation of any kind, which has the capacity, tendency or effect of deceiving or misleading consumers and is made in connection with the sale, lease or rental of consumer goods or services. "Deceptive trade practices" include, but are not limited to:
- A. Representations that:
- B. Goods or services have sponsorship, approval, accessories, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits or quantities that they do not have.
- C. The merchant has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation or connection that he does not have.
- D. Goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed or secondhand.
- E. Goods or services are of particular standard, quality, grade, style or model, if they are of another.
- F. The use, in any oral or written representation, of exaggeration, innuendo or ambiguity as to a material fact.
- G. Failure to state a material fact if such use or failure deceives or tends to deceive.
- H. Disparaging the goods, services or business of another by false or misleading representation of material facts.
- I. Offering goods or services without the intent to sell them.
- J. Offering goods or services without the intent to supply reasonably expectable demand, unless the offer discloses the limitation.
- K. Making false or misleading representations of fact concerning the reason for, existence of or amounts of price reductions or the price in comparison to prices of competitors or one's own price at a past or future time.
- L. Falsely stating that a consumer transaction involves consumer rights, remedies or obligations.
- M. Falsely stating that services, replacements or repairs are needed.
- N. Falsely stating the reasons for offering or supplying goods or services at sale or discount prices.
- A manufacturer, supplier, seller, lessor or other person, firm or corporation who makes available to consumers, either directly or indirectly, goods or services.
- An individual, merchant, partnership, firm or corporation.
- UNCONSCIONABLE TRADE PRACTICE
- Any fact or practice is unconscionable if it takes unfair advantage of the lack of knowledge, ability, experience or capacity of a consumer, which results in a gross disparity in the rights of a consumer as against the merchant or results in a gross disparity between the value received by a consumer and the price paid by the consumer. "Unconscionable trade practices" include, but are not limited to:
- A. It shall be deemed an unconscionable and a deceptive trade practice for any person, firm, partnership or corporation to violate any provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York or the General Business Law of the State of New York.
- B. It shall be deemed an "unconscionable trade practice" for totaling devices to contain offerings of sale or matter on or about said devices, thereby obstructing the clear view of sales being totaled before the purchaser. A purchaser having sales totaled must be given a clear, unobstructed view of said sales being totaled.
- C. It shall be deemed an "unconscionable trade practice" for any person, firm, partnership or corporation who engages in the rental or lease of powers of mechanical equipment to fail to warn the customer, in writing, of the potential danger resulting from the careless use of the equipment or lack of knowledge as to how such equipment is operated. Said person, firm, partnership or corporation must also, at the time of rental or lease, instruct the customer as to the operation of the subject equipment.
- D. It shall be deemed an unconscionable and deceptive trade practice to advertise prices except as follows:
- E. When the price is advertised in dollar amounts and fractions thereof, said numbers indicating the fractional amounts must be at least 1/2 the size of the numbers indicating the full dollar amount.
- F. The price advertised must be clearly and conspicuously related to a specific consumer good or service.
- G. Any limitations or conditions on offers must be clearly and conspicuously made in such advertisement.
- H. It shall be deemed an "unconscionable trade practice" for any person, firm, partnership or corporation to charge a fee for the issuance of any rain check as required by § 260-4 of this article.[Amended 4-3-1989 by Ord. No. 89-43]
The Office of Consumer Protection is hereby empowered and directed to enforce the provisions of this Article.
[Amended 4-3-1989 by Ord. No. 89-43]
The violation of any provision of this article or any rule or regulation hereunder shall render the violation a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding $150 or imprisonment not exceeding 150 days, or both, or render the violator liable for the payment to the city of a civil penalty recoverable in a civil action in the sum of not more than $500 for each such violation.
[Amended 6-9-1980 by L.L. No. 3-1980; 6-2-1986 by L.L. No. 3-1986]
Whenever any person has engaged in any acts or practices which constitute repeated, persistent or multiple violations of any provisions of this article or any rule or regulation hereunder, the Corporation Counsel, upon the information and request of the Office of Consumer Protection, may make application to the Supreme Court for a temporary or permanent injunction, restraining order or other equitable relief.
[Added 2-7-1972 by L.L. No. 2-1972; amended 4-3-1989 by Ord. No. 89-43]
Any person, firm or corporation advertising for sale, at retail and/or at wholesale, an article not available for sale during any day of an advertised period shall, on the demand of a purchaser unable to buy the advertised article during the offered period, issue a rain check, which shall be so redeemable as to permit the holder thereof to purchase the advertised article at the advertised price within 20 days of the last original offering date.
The twenty-day redeemable period may be modified with the consent of both the purchaser and the vendor.
The article advertised has to be conspicuously and readily available to consumers in all of the advertiser's stores throughout the circulation or coverage area of the medium which disseminates the advertising. If not readily available, clear and adequate notice shall be provided that the items are in stock and may be obtained upon request.