Presentation on theme: "SUFFOLK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, LICENSING & CONSUMER AFFAIRS Steven Bellone, County Executive Samuel Chu, Commissioner."— Presentation transcript:
1 SUFFOLK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, LICENSING & CONSUMER AFFAIRS Steven Bellone, County Executive Samuel Chu, Commissioner
2 Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs The Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs promotes the health, safety and economic well-being of both the business community and public alike.Quality job training, job development, placement and supportive services are provided for the unemployed, underemployed and public assistance population of Suffolk County, and the business community is supported with economic and labor market data, recruitment services and hiring incentives.Occupational licensing, industry and local law regulation and enforcement serves industry and the consumer, promoting high standards of integrity and ensuring equity in the marketplace.
3 Consumer AffairsThe Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs (SCLLC) is dedicated to resolving complaints, enforcing the County Code, educating the public and obtaining restitution for Suffolk consumers.SCLLC licenses businesses in various occupations and tests scales in supermarkets and other food stores.Consumers and trades people may write, call or visit our office in Hauppauge to obtain information about home improvement and other types of occupational licenses, or directly from our web site at They can verify whether a contractor is properly licensed, read consumer tips and even see a “Wall of Shame” of the County’s unlicensed contractors.
4 Directory ADMINISTRATION BUREAU DIRECTORS INVESTIGATORS Samuel Chu, CommissionerVanessa Pugh, Chief Deputy CommissionerBarbara Stoothoff, Deputy CommissionerBUREAU DIRECTORSKathleen Rivers, Investigations ManagerJoan Taylor, Director, Bureau of LicensingDanielle Grucci – Petersen, Director, Complaints BureauJoseph Wood, Assistant Director of Weights & MeasuresINVESTIGATORSPeter Blumenauer, Plumbing InvestigatorChristopher Carson, Item Pricing and TLCMatt Cereola, InvestigatorErwin Finn, Home Improvement InvestigatorWilliam Geiss, Electrical InvestigatorClaudette Lea, InvestigatorJay Selleck, Home Improvement InvestigatorGreg Spencer, Home Improvement Investigator
5 Licensing • Oversee 16,827 occupational licenses • 2,024 Master Electricians, 581 Restricted Electricians,10 Electrical Inspectors• Distribute, Accept, Review, & Process Applications & Renewals• Collect & receipt all fees• Conduct background and judgment checks• Take photos for identification cards• Issue new licenses by appointment• Accept complaints that are submitted in person
6 Licenses & Certification LicensingLicenses & CertificationAppliance RepairmenMaster ElectricianAppliance JourneymenMaster PlumberBackflow TestersPet CemeteryCommercial PaintersPolygraph ExaminerDry CleanersPrecious Metals DealerElectrical InspectorsRestricted ElectricianExpeditorsRestricted PlumberFire Fighter SolicitorsDealer in Second Hand ArticlesHome Improvement ContractorsSign HangersHome Furnishings RetailSwimming Pool MaintenanceHome SalesTax GrievanceCommercial/Residential Liquid WasteVCR Repair
7 Licensing• Print out ID cards & certificates for all renewals and new issues • Child support compliance/incompliance • Phone calls with regard to licensing • Keep license statistics • Prepare applications for the boards • Administer Home Improvement, Chimney & Tax Grievance examinations. • Update and oversee insurance requirements • Liaison to the SCPD with regard to Precious Metals and Second Hand Dealers licenses
8 Electrical Licensing Board Mission StatementThe Board shall determine the fitness of applicants for each particular license and shall investigate and report on all proposed suspensions or revocations of licenses as provided in the applicable provisions of Chapter 563 of the Suffolk County Code.The Board shall hold meetings at regular intervals, authorize the Director of Consumer Affairs to issue certificates of competency and licenses, keep records of licenses issued and available for public inspection, and formulate recommendations to the County Legislature for adoption or amendment.The Board shall be composed of individuals having a personal knowledge of and interest in the occupation to be licensed, such as representatives of labor, management, trade or professional associations and appropriate representatives of government.Pursuant to Legislative Amendment dated June 3, 2014, the Appliance Repair Board shall merge with the Electrical Licensing Board and four new Board members will be appointed.Board MembersRussell J. Calemmo, Board ChairRobert Kohlmeyer Michael S. Towers Michael C. DalyD. Jerry Flaherty Kevin M. Harvey Frank A. DiFazio
9 Consumer ComplaintsEnforces numerous sections of the County Code and New York State law designed to protect consumers. Receives in excess of 1,300 complaints a year covering a wide range of consumer activity. The most frequent complaints are in the areas of home repair, home furnishings, second hand dealer purchases, mail order, credit card and billing disputes, gasoline pricing and various retail store purchases.Helps consumers choose a contractor wisely by providing information over the telephone verifying whether a contractor is licensed; if there have been any complaints or violations within the past five years.If the consumer wants a detailed complaint or license history, they may request it in writing. Investigators often visit homes to examine defective merchandise and will contact vendors or go to their place of business to help resolve disputes. Investigators also conduct surveillance activities to check deceptive advertising claims. Armed with the power to fine unscrupulous businesses, the Bureau has an excellent track record in resolving consumer complaints and protecting the public.
10 Laws Enforced by the Complaint Bureau: Consumer ComplaintsLaws Enforced by the Complaint Bureau:Suffolk County Code• Chapter 299 (Pet Dealers)• Chapter 427 (Dry Cleaners)• Chapter 365 (Caterers)• Chapter 387 (Deceptive and Unconscionable/Unfair trade practices)• Chapter 563, Article IX (Home Furnishings)• Chapter 700 (Restaurants—Disclosure of Prices)• Chapter704 (Retail Sales)—subcategories include:Swimming Pool Sales (Pool Alarm Law), Art. III,Drop Crib Law, Art. IV,Layaway Law, Art. VIII,• Chapter 779, Tax Grievance Companies• Chapter 783, Tax Refunds (Tax Preparer-regulation for “instant refunds” and charges)New 911 Phone Law (Resolution )The Department also enforces NYS General Business Laws such as the NYS Refund Policy (NYSGBL 218-a) along with additional state and county laws not listed above.
11 2014 Statistics as of September 30, 2014 Consumer ComplaintsComplaint Bureau2013 TOTAL Statistics2014 Statistics as of September 30, 2014TOTAL Number of Cases Received & Assigned (Complaint & Licensing Bureaus)13011133Number of Electrical Complaints3624Number of Phone Calls Received (Complaint Bureau only)27,14124,258Amount Saved for Consumers (Complaint & Licensing Bureaus)$383,613.21$382,846.39s Received10581169Total number of “Superstorm Sandy” Complaints since the storm
12 Consumer Complaints Complaints by Jurisdiction Complaints Filed for the period of January 1, 2013 –November 3, 2014Township/JurisdictionComplaints by Vendor LocationALL Types of BusinessesComplaints by Vendor Location Electrical (ONLY) ComplaintsBrookhaven71218Babylon3045Islip27710Huntington179Smithtown1476Southampton45Riverhead302Southold11East Hampton9Shelter Island*Please note that any complaint filed by Consumers not within the County of Suffolk will not be listed above.
13 Consumer ComplaintsComplaints Filed for the period of January 1, 2013 –November 3, 2014Township/JurisdictionComplaints by Consumer LocationALL Types of BusinessesComplaints by Consumer Location Electrical (ONLY) ComplaintsBrookhaven70315Huntington3177Babylon30012Islip2339Smithtown2086Southampton592Riverhead291Southold27East Hampton19Shelter Island*Please note that any complaint filed against a Vendor not within the County of Suffolk will not be listed above.
14 (Home Improvement, Electrical, Plumbing) Investigations(Home Improvement, Electrical, Plumbing)Currently investigating 475 Open Consumer Complaints, 14% or 65 are Electrical related.Perform two to three days per week of Licensing Enforcement Patrol throughout Suffolk County, seeking unlicensed contractors.Issue Violations pertaining to both incoming Complaints and Licensing Enforcement Patrol.Mediate complaints on behalf of consumers; conduct Field Investigations at consumer site.
15 Review and refer cases to Suffolk County Attorney for collections or Suffolk County District Attorney for prosecutorial consideration.$768,000 recovered for Consumers by Investigations and Complaint Units.Licensing Enforcement Patrol has contributed to the 110% increase in licensing violations issued since January 2013.Licensing Enforcement Patrol has contributed to the steady increase in licenses issued since January 2013.Held 581 Violation Hearings, resulting in $240,000 in revenue - a 21% increase from 2012.
16 Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) Suffolk County Taxi & Limousine Commission (SCTLC) resulted from numerous requests from both consumers and industry, especially limousine companies, that face stiff penalties and fines if caught operating in Nassau or New York City, and consumers, who have been either “ripped” off by “gypsy” operators or got into a livery car and did not feel safe.On July 9, 2014, Suffolk County Local Law 571 was passed and provides a means for both consumer and legitimate operator protection.By way of Reciprocity, the law also provides Suffolk-based limousine operators the ability to legally travel to destinations in Nassau, all five New York City Boroughs, and Westchester County.
17 Item PricingItem Pricing Law offers retail establishments the opportunity to request a “waiver” from tagging prices on all individual sale items. Instead, retail establishment may identify price via UPC Code.Item Pricing Law’s purpose is to ensure consumers are not overcharged at check-out by paying a higher than advertised price.Our investigators accomplish this task by physically sampling between item in each store, then scanning these items for accuracy.
18 Weights and MeasuresEnforces Article 16 of the N.Y.S. Agriculture and Markets Law and various local laws requiring the inspection and testing of every scale and measuring device used for commercial purposes in the County, encompassing everything from food, to bolts of cloth, to gas pumps, to #2 home heating oil deliveries.Weights and Measures seal on a scale at supermarkets, delis, butcher shops, fish stores and anywhere else food is sold to the public by weight means that inspectors tested the scale for accuracy.Inspectors make sure that you pay only for the food, and not the weight of the container. Packaged goods are examined to make sure that the count, weight or measure on the label matches the contents of the package.
19 Weights and MeasuresAll gasoline stations and distributors must register with the Bureau. Gas pumps are tested routinely for accuracy and the quality of gasoline is tested for octane level and water contamination. The Bureau’s authority extends to the inspection of fuel oil meters and LPG meters, and the sale of fuel oil, coal, firewood or any other commodity sold by weight or measure.The Bureau also licenses and inspects all precious metal dealers, insuring the accuracy of scales used for the buying and selling of gold and other valuable metals used in jewelry.
20 Home Improvement Contractors Working out of unmarked vehicles