NYC’s Consumer Protection Program Now Covers All New Retail Stores

March 19, 2024

Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga today announced the expansion of the Visiting Inspector Program (VIP).

Offering any new retail business the opportunity to receive an educational, violation-free visit from an inspector to help them learn about and comply with the laws that DCWP enforces.

Previously, only brick-and-mortar retail businesses that were newly licensed by DCWP were eligible to receive a VIP visit, but now, any new brick-and-mortar retail businesses in NYC, regardless of whether they are licensed by DCWP can request a VIP visit.

Despite not needing a license from DCWP, these new businesses are required to comply with laws DCWP enforces. Since the program launched in 2017, DCWP has visited nearly 11,000 businesses through VIP.

“Knowledge is power, and with the expansion of DCWP’s Visiting Inspector Program more of our local retail businesses will be educated about the laws they must follow to avoid potential violations and keep delivering services to New Yorkers,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.“Our administration is committed to supporting our local businesses, which are the lifeblood of this city and have helped us to set an all-time high for total jobs in New York City’s history.”

“We strive to build a culture of compliance with our City’s laws to help local businesses and their workers thrive,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “We are proud to expand our Visiting Inspector Program to help support even more local businesses with our education-first approach. Thank you to the Mayor and SBS Commissioner Kim for prioritizing our local entrepreneurs to enhance our city’s economy.”

“Small businesses are the VIPs of our city’s economy, and SBS is committed to helping them succeed,” said Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services, Kevin D. Kim. “By focusing on education, we are providing the tools for them to understand the regulatory landscape and operate effectively. I am proud to work alongside Commissioner Mayuga to expand the VIP program, because knowledge is the power our small businesses need to prosper and thrive in the city’s commercial corridors.” 

New brick-and-mortar retail businesses in NYC can schedule a VIP visit by visiting or by contacting311. DCWP will continue to contact newly licensed businesses to schedule an appointment for an educational visit. During the appointment, a senior inspector provides the business with important information about how to comply with the laws that DCWP enforces and that apply to the business, including the City’s Consumer Protection & Licensing Laws, and workplace laws like the City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave LawFair Workweek Law, among others.

“Informing small businesses about rules and regulations is critical to helping them successfully comply,” said Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The Visiting Inspector Program is an important tool for businesses to get up to speed with new laws and correct any potential violations before they are penalized. Nearly 11,000 brick-and-mortar businesses have already benefitted from this resource, and the program’s expansion will only facilitate greater support towards compliance that prevents unnecessary fines. I thank the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for its work to support local businesses through this vital approach.”

“As former commissioner of the Department of Consumer & Worker Protection, I know how critical it is to inform small businesses on the rules and regulations that affect them before issuing any penalty,” said Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Consumer & Worker Protection Julie Menin. “The expansion of the Visiting Inspector Program is critical, and I thank Commissioner Mayuga and her team for continuing to help and inform the City’s small businesses.”

“We welcome this expansion of the Visiting Inspector Program by DCWP as a mechanism to educate newer businesses on compliance issues well in advance of receiving a fine or violation,” said Randy Peers, president & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “The Adams administration has been a strong champion of the small business community, and steps like this provide real help.”

“The Bronx Chamber of Commerce looks forward to partnering with the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection on the expansion of the Visiting Inspector Program,” said Lisa Sorin, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. “VIP will give new businesses the opportunity to receive an educational, violation-free visit from an inspector to help them learn about and comply with the laws that DCWP enforces. We look forward to bringing this service to Bronx businesses.”

“The overwhelming majority of New York City small business owners make a good faith effort to follow the rules, but a dizzying maze of regulations often make that difficult,” said Thomas J. Grech, president & CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “The Visiting Inspector Program helps small businesses stay in compliance with the law so they can continue to create jobs, serve their customers and communities, and fuel New York City’s economic recovery. We applaud Mayor Adams, DCWP Commissioner Mayuga and SBS Commissioner Kim for expanding this vital program, and their steadfast support of small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

“Being a small business owner often comes with having to navigate a minefield of fines and penalties,” said Linda Baran, president & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “Oftentimes, even when businessowners put their best foot forward and believe they are being compliant, they wind up paying unnecessary fines and fees because of something they may be unaware of. The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection’s newly expanded Visiting Inspector Program is a great educational tool that will help keep business owners informed and compliant. We are happy to see the Administration put programs like this in place and continue to find ways to improve doing business in New York City.”

DCWP is committed to an education-first approach to helping businesses understand their obligations and responsibilities under the law. As part of this effort, DCWP conducts series of Business Education Days across the five boroughs, going door-to-door to local businesses to answer questions and inform them about what they need to know to comply with the City’s business laws, which cover consumer and workplace protections, licensing, weights and measures, and more. In 2023, DCWP staff visited more than 1,000 businesses during Business Education Days. In addition, DCWP’s most recent work to reduce fines for small businesses has led to a projected $1 million in savings, providing substantial relief for NYC’s local businesses. DCWP attorneys also hold “DCWP 101” sessions for specific industries to provide local businesses with more in-depth information about the laws that apply to their type of business to help them maintain compliance.

The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 45,000 businesses in more than 40 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance.

Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at .

Photo credit: DCWP.

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