City of Oswego, NY
Oswego County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law § 10, Subdivision 1(ii)a(12), a Consumer Code of the City of Oswego is herein enacted.
This chapter shall be known as the "Consumer Code of the City of Oswego, New York."
The purpose of this chapter shall be to provide for the health, safety and well-being of consumers in the City of Oswego by education, investigation and enforcement of minimal standards of fairness as set forth in this chapter and rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. This chapter intends to provide reasonable safeguards to ensure a fair marketplace in Oswego.
This chapter shall apply to unfair, deceptive or unconscionable trade practices, their prevention and remedies and consumer education, as well as administration and enforcement of this chapter, which shall seek to foster trade practices which are in the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
Nothing in this chapter shall apply to any television or radio broadcasting station or to any publisher or printer of a newspaper, magazine or other form of printed advertising who broadcasts, publishes or prints an advertisement which violates this chapter, except insofar as such station or publisher or printer knowingly and willfully aids and encourages such deceptive or unconscionable practice with sale or offering for sale of its goods or services.
Words and terms used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:
CONSUMER
A purchaser, lessee or recipient or prospective purchaser, lessee or recipient of consumer goods or services or consumer credit, including a co-obligor or surety.
CONSUMER GOODS, SERVICES, CREDIT AND DEBTS
Goods, services, credit and debts which are primarily for personal household or family purposes.
DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICE 
Any false, falsely disparaging or misleading oral or written statement, visual description or other representation of any kind which has the capacity, tendency or effect of deceiving or misleading consumers, which is made in connection with the sale, lease, rental or loan of consumer goods or services, the extension of consumer credit or the collection of consumer debts. "Deceptive trade practices" include but are not limited to:
A. 
Representation that:
(1) 
Goods or services have sponsorship, approval, accessories, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits or quantities that they do not have.
(2) 
The merchant has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation or connection that he does not have.
(3) 
Goods are original or new when, in fact, they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed or secondhand.
(4) 
Goods or services are of particular standard, quality, grade, style or model when, in fact, they are of another.
B. 
The use in any oral or written representation of exaggeration, innuendo or ambiguity as to a material fact.
C. 
Failure to state a material fact if such use or failure deceives or tends to deceive.
D. 
Disparaging the goods, services or business of another by false or misleading representations of material facts.
E. 
Consistently offering goods and services without intent to supply reasonable expectable public demand, unless the offer discloses the limitation.
F. 
Offering goods or services without intent to sell them.
G. 
Making false or misleading representation of fact concerning the reason for existence of or amounts of price reductions or the price in comparison to price of competitors or one's own price at a past or future time.
H. 
Falsely stating that a consumer transaction involves consumer right remedies or obligations.
I. 
Falsely stating that services, replacements or repairs are needed.
J. 
Falsely stating the reasons for offering or supplying goods or services at sale or discount prices.
K. 
Communicating with the debtor or any member of his family or household with such frequency or at such unusual hours or in such a manner as can reasonably be expected to abuse or harass the debtor.
L. 
Any deception, fraud, false pretense, false premise, misrepresentation or the knowing concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact with the intent that consumers rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or with the subsequent performance of person aforesaid, whether or not any person has, in fact, been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.
M. 
Use of the word "free," except as herein provided:
(1) 
When making free or similar offers, all substantial terms, conditions and obligations upon which the right to take advantage of such offer is directly depended shall appear in close conjunction with the offer of free merchandise or service and in a manner which is as prominent as the offer of free merchandise or services. For the purpose of this regulation, placement of the terms of an offer set forth in a footnote of an advertisement to which reference is made by an asterisk or other symbol placed next to the offer is not in close conjunction.
(2) 
If a consumer good or service is to be given free upon the purchase of some additional merchandise or service, said additional service or merchandise must not be sold at above the regular price, nor may the quantity or quality of the product be diminished.
(3) 
A free offer of a single size of a product or a single kind of a service shall not be advertised by the same person in a trade area for more than six (6) months in any twelve-month period. At least thirty (30) days shall elapse before another such offer is promoted in the same trade area. No more than three (3) such offers shall be made in the same area in a twelve-month period.
(4) 
No free offer shall be made in connection with the introduction of a new product or service offered for sale at a specified price unless the offeror expects, in good faith, to commence selling the product or service promoted, separately, at the same price at which it was promoted with a free offer.
(5) 
The use of any term in an advertisement which tends to indicate that the goods or service is free shall fall within the purview of this chapter.
(6) 
For the purposes of this regulation, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) 
A consumer shall pay nothing for an article so offered and not more than the regular price for any other article which must be purchased by the consumer in order to avail himself of said "free" offer.
(b) 
The price in the same quantity, quality and with the same service, at which the seller or advertiser of said product or service has openly and actively sold the product or service in the trade area in which he is making a free or similar offer for a prior period of thirty (30) days. For consumer products or services which fluctuate in price, the "regular price" shall be the lowest price at which any substantial sales were made during the aforesaid thirty-day period.
N. 
Use of the words "special," "bargain," "savings" or similar language, except as herein provided:
(1) 
When the words "special," "bargain," "savings" or similar language represent a reduction in price in comparison to one's own price at a past or specified future time; and
(2) 
When the words "special," "bargain," "savings" or similar language represent an increase in quantity where quantity was limited in the immediate past or will be limited at a specified future time.
O. 
Advertising price shall be deemed a "deceptive trade practice" if any of the following rules are violated:
(1) 
When price is advertised in dollar amounts and fractions thereof, said numbers indicating the fractional amounts must be clear and conspicuous in the body of such advertisement.
(2) 
The price advertised must be clearly and conspicuously related to the specific consumer good or service
(3) 
If at any time there are substantial conditions or obligations upon which the right to take advantage of a sale item is dependent, such conditions or obligations must be made known in the body of the advertisement of such sale. As used in this subsection, the phrase "condition" or "obligations" shall mean such conditions upon which receipt and retention of an item are directly dependent. Conditions such as length of sale, location of sale, quantity of a sale item where there is a limited supply, credit restrictions and shipping and handling charges shall be deemed to be conditions which must be made known. Such terms as "sorry no mail or phone," "no COD" and the like are not to be considered substantial conditions or obligations.[1]
MERCHANT
A manufacturer, supplier, seller, lessor, creditor or other person, firm or corporation who makes available to consumers, either directly or indirectly, goods, services or credit.
PERSON
An individual, proprietor, partnership, corporation, firm, cooperative, association or any other group of individuals, however organized.
UNCONSCIONABLE TRADE PRACTICE
Any act or practice if it takes unfair advantage of the lack of knowledge, ability, experience or capacity of a consumer which results in a gross disparity in the rights of the consumer as against the merchant or results in a gross disparity between the value received by a consumer. "Unconscionable trade practices" include, but are not limited to:
A. 
Charging for an estimate without informing the consumer of said charge prior to rendering the estimate.
B. 
Failure to provide a written estimate of repairs, alterations, modifications or servicing when requested by a consumer and the subsequent repair, alteration, modification or servicing of any time without first tendering said estimate.
C. 
Making repairs, alterations, modifications or servicing exceeding, by twenty percent (20%) or more, the price quoted in a written estimate without prior approval, either written or verbal, of a consumer.
D. 
Failure to reassemble or restore an electrical or mechanical apparatus, appliance, chattel or other goods or merchandise to its tendered condition unless a service or labor charge is paid without notification prior to receiving the tendered item of said service or labor charge.
E. 
Failing to supply to a consumer a copy of a sales or service contract, lease promissory note, trust agreement or other evidence of indebtedness which that person had executed.
F. 
Making or enforcing unconscionable terms or provisions of sales or leases. In applying this subsection, consideration shall be given to gross disparity between the price of the property or services measured by the price at which similar property or services are readily obtainable in transactions by like buyers or lessees.
G. 
Knowingly taking advantage of the inability of the consumer reasonably to protect his interests by reason of physical or mental infirmities, ignorance, illiteracy or inability to understand the language of the agreement or similar factors.
H. 
Replacing parts or components in an electrical or mechanical apparatus, appliance, chattel or other goods or merchandise when such parts or components are not defective or worn, unless requested by the customer.
I. 
Falsely stating or representing that repairs, alterations, modifications or servicing have been made and receiving remuneration therefore when they have not been.
J. 
Collecting a debt concerned with the sale or rental of a consumer good or services if:
(1) 
The alleged creditor communicates or threatens to communicate the nature of a consumer claim to the debtor's employer prior to obtaining final judgment against the debtor. The provisions of this subsection shall not prohibit a principal creditor from communicating with the debtor's employer to execute a wage assignment agreement if the debtor has communicated this to debtor's employer.
(2) 
The alleged creditor, his assignee, agent or employee creates the notion of legal service or sanction of a governmental agency when contacting the alleged debtor when such is not the case.
(3) 
Contact, other than the service of judicial process, with the alleged debtor by an alleged creditor, his assignee, agent or employee is attempted at hours of the day or night considered not to be reasonable.
[1]
Editor's Note: The former definition of "director," which immediately followed this definition, was deleted at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.