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For Immediate Release:
March 1, 2021
Contact: 212-417-5801
press@dos.ny.gov
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CONSUMER ALERT: DIVISION OF CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTS CONSUMERS IN RECOUPING NEARLY $3 MILLION IN 2020 TIED TO COVID-19 RELATED COMPLAINTS

Division of Consumer Protection Assisted Nearly 32,000 NYers With a Variety of COVID-19 Related Complaints

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) Takes Place February 28 – March 6

NCPW Helps Consumers Understand Rights & Resources Available

To kick off National Consumer Protection Week, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) today announced it assisted 31,689 New Yorkers with a variety of consumer protection matters related to COVID-19 in 2020, resulting in a record $2,831,400 being returned to consumers wallets.

Each year during the first full week of March, DCP celebrates National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) to help individuals understand their consumer rights and the resources available that help protect them. As part of this year’s NCPW, DCP will host two free virtual webinars featuring consumer protection related topics. The first, Prevent and Protect from Identity Theft, is scheduled for March 2 at 1pm. Register to participate here. The second, Savvy Shopping Tips for Smart Consumers, is scheduled for March 4 at 6pm. Register to participate here.

“COVID-19 has brought many changes to the marketplace and the Division of Consumer Protection has worked hard over the past year to help consumers navigate uncharted territory,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “As part of the National Consumer Protection Week, we are highlighting that in today’s amplified digital world, consumers must take precautions to protect themselves from nefarious actors preying on the vulnerable. I encourage all New Yorkers to take these smart steps outlined by the Division of Consumer Protection to protect their hard-earned money.”

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a rise in consumer protection issues that caused havoc in the lives of many as businesses and markets have been disrupted. Three out of the top five complaint categories in 2020 were direct results of the COVID-19 pandemic: travel interruptions and cancellations, entertainment cancellations and refunds, and other COVID-19-related issues, such as delivery delays, order cancellations, and gym membership fees. DCP played a central role in ensuring the welfare of New York consumers as more fraudsters took advantage of the challenges surrounding the pandemic.

New Yorker’s top five consumer complaints in 2020, along with tips to protect consumers, are below:

This year marks the ten-year anniversary since Governor Andrew M. Cuomo established the New York State Division of Consumer Protection within the Department of State on April 1, 2011 with the mission to assist, protect, educate and represent consumers in an ever-changing economy. The Division of Consumer Protection works hard to assist individuals aggrieved in the marketplace through its complaint mediation efforts, along with educating the public on marketplace scams, and advocating consumers’ interest before legislative and regulatory bodies.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower the State’s consumers. Consumers can file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Protection at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. For more consumer protection information, call the DCP Helpline at 800-697-1220, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm or visit the DCP website at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.


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