Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Dinowitz Bill to Protect Consumers From Fees on Gift Cards and Certificates Passes Assembly

       Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz announced that his bill to prevent fees from being assessed on gift cards and certificates has passed unanimously in the State Assembly (A.7610). “Too often have consumers either purchased or been given a gift card, only to later find out that there is little to no money left to spend due to exorbitant fees assessed on the card due to inactivity,” Assemblyman Dinowitz said.

Current New York State law requires notice of expiration dates as well as any fees that will be charged along with other terms and conditions that must be clearly and conspicuously stated on the card, package, or accompanying printed document. Fees are currently not allowed to be assessed prior to the thirteenth month of dormancy, but New York State does not specify how much of a fee can be assessed, offering consumers little to no protection. Consumers purchase gift cards just like other products sold that have no fees assessed after the initial purchase.

“Businesses selling gift cards have already made the profit of selling it, so there is no reason that a consumer should be penalized with fees for not using it within a specific time frame,” said Mr. Dinowitz, who chairs the Assembly’s Consumer Affairs Committee. “It is simply unconscionable that a consumer who pays for a gift card in full should lose their investment because of the amount of time passed before spending the funds.”

If the legislation becomes law New York will be joining twenty other states that have passed similar legislation preventing any fees on gift cards and certificates, with some only allowing a fee at the time of purchase.

Assemblyman Dinowitz Announces
New York State Mobility and Opportunity for Vulnerable Employees (MOVE) Act
        Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz introduced a bill to stop employers from requiring low-wage employees to sign non-compete agreements, preventing them from seeking higher paying jobs. The bill, known as the Mobility and Opportunity for Vulnerable Employees (MOVE) Act, will ban the use of non-compete agreements for employees making less than $15 an hour, or $31,200 annually (A.8108). This legislation is modeled after recently introduced federal legislation by Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota).

“Requiring low-wage workers to sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment is a practice that must end immediately,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. “Practices like these by employers hinder workers’ ability to move up in the world by using their experience to find better paying jobs; the MOVE Act will help remove barriers for those currently stuck in their low-wage jobs so they can work toward a better life for themselves and their families.”

Additionally, the bill requires that any company using non-compete agreements for employees not defined as “low-wage,” must disclose the use of such an agreement at the beginning of the hiring process.

“By removing these barriers we will be a taking a big step forward in making sure that those workers who need it most are being protected,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. “Ensuring the ability of low-wage workers to work hard and climb out of poverty is a paramount issue.”

Though similar legislation has been proposed in Congress, Assemblyman Dinowitz asserted that “New Yorkers just can’t wait for the gridlock in Congress to subside to protect low-wage workers.”

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