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SUFFOLK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, LICENSING & CONSUMER AFFAIRS Steven Bellone, County Executive Samuel Chu, Commissioner.

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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 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. Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs

3 The 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 www.suffolkcountyny.gov. 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 Samuel Chu, Commissioner853-6500 Vanessa Pugh, Chief Deputy Commissioner853-4620 Barbara Stoothoff, Deputy Commissioner853-6616 Kathleen Rivers, Investigations Manager853-6708 Joan Taylor, Director, Bureau of Licensing853-4598 Danielle Grucci – Petersen, Director, Complaints Bureau853-4615 Joseph Wood, Assistant Director of Weights & Measures853-5730 Peter Blumenauer, Plumbing Investigator853-5747 Christopher Carson, Item Pricing and TLC853-6525 Matt Cereola, Investigator853-6590 Erwin Finn, Home Improvement Investigator853-3650 William Geiss, Electrical Investigator853-4573 Claudette Lea, Investigator853-4614 Jay Selleck, Home Improvement Investigator853-5776 Greg Spencer, Home Improvement Investigator853-4187 Directory BUREAU DIRECTORS INVESTIGATORS ADMINISTRATION

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 Appliance RepairmenMaster Electrician Appliance JourneymenMaster Plumber Backflow TestersPet Cemetery Commercial PaintersPolygraph Examiner Dry CleanersPrecious Metals Dealer Electrical InspectorsRestricted Electrician ExpeditorsRestricted Plumber Fire Fighter SolicitorsDealer in Second Hand Articles Home Improvement ContractorsSign Hangers Home Furnishings RetailSwimming Pool Maintenance Home SalesTax Grievance Commercial/Residential Liquid Waste VCR Repair Licensing Licenses & Certification

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 Statement The 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 Members Russell J. Calemmo, Board Chair Robert KohlmeyerMichael S. Towers Michael C. Daly D. Jerry FlahertyKevin M. HarveyFrank A. DiFazio

9 Consumer Complaints Enforces 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: 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, 704-16 Drop Crib Law, Art. IV, 704-24 Layaway Law, Art. VIII, 704-56 Chapter 779, Tax Grievance Companies Chapter 783, Tax Refunds (Tax Preparer-regulation for “instant refunds” and charges) New 911 Phone Law (Resolution 618-2014) The Department also enforces NYS General Business Laws such as the NYS Refund Policy (NYS GBL 218-a) along with additional state and county laws not listed above. Consumer Complaints

11 Complaint Bureau2013 TOTAL Statistics2014 Statistics as of September 30, 2014 TOTAL Number of Cases Received & Assigned (Complaint & Licensing Bureaus) 1301 1133 Number of Electrical Complaints3624 Number of Phone Calls Received (Complaint Bureau only) 27,14124,258 Amount Saved for Consumers (Complaint & Licensing Bureaus) $383,613.21 $382,846.39 Emails Received10581169 Total number of “Superstorm Sandy” Complaints since the storm -- 173

12 Consumer Complaints Township/JurisdictionComplaints by Vendor Location ALL Types of Businesses Complaints by Vendor Location Electrical (ONLY) Complaints Brookhaven71218 Babylon3045 Islip27710 Huntington1795 Smithtown1476 Southampton450 Riverhead302 Southold110 East Hampton90 Shelter Island00 Complaints by Jurisdiction Complaints Filed for the period of January 1, 2013 –November 3, 2014 *Please note that any complaint filed by Consumers not within the County of Suffolk will not be listed above.

13 Township/JurisdictionComplaints by Consumer Location ALL Types of Businesses Complaints by Consumer Location Electrical (ONLY) Complaints Brookhaven70315 Huntington3177 Babylon30012 Islip2339 Smithtown2086 Southampton592 Riverhead291 Southold270 East Hampton190 Shelter Island10 Consumer Complaints Complaints Filed for the period of January 1, 2013 –November 3, 2014 *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) 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. Investigations

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 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 50-100 item in each store, then scanning these items for accuracy. Item Pricing

18 Weights and Measures Enforces 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 Measures All 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

21 Electrical Work not to code

22 Asphalt Driveways

23 PVC Fence

24 Pool Mason Brick Work

25 Chimney Work Flashing and Pointing

26 Gas Prices Cash and Credit

27 Contact information Consumer Complaints (631) 853-4600 Licensing (631) 853-4598 Weights and Measures (631) 853-5730 consumer.affairs@suffolkcountyny.gov Steven Bellone, County Executive Samuel Chu, Commissioner


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