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Gender-based pricing is prohibited in NYS

Posted 8/29/22

In honor of Women’s Equality Day on Friday, Aug. 26, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection, reminds consumers that gender-based pricing of consumer services and products, also known as …

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Gender-based pricing is prohibited in NYS

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In honor of Women’s Equality Day on Friday, Aug. 26, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection, reminds consumers that gender-based pricing of consumer services and products, also known as “pink tax,” is illegal in New York State. 

Gender-based pricing is the practice of charging different prices for substantially similar goods or services marketed to women. Gender-based pricing has been a long-standing problem but as of 2020, the practice has been prohibited within the state.

Tips to help reduce the gender pricing gap

Increase your knowledge of gender-based price differences (“pink tax”) and pay attention to price differences. According to a study produced by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, common “pink tax” items include personal care products, clothing, children’s toys, services (dry cleaners, self-care services, hair salons, vehicle repair), and home health care products.

Most products or services are identical or have only slight variations, so check to see if the item or service is also marketed to men and if it’s cheaper. If you see this pricing gap, use your voice to report the apparent violation of law and opt for the less expensive option. It’s important to be a strategic consumer and be aware of these price differences.

Report any violations to the New York State Division of Consumer Protection.

Guidance for NYS businesses

New York State businesses can help eliminate gender-based pricing in order to comply with New York State law by reviewing the Department of State gender-neutral pricing guidance that was issued in October 2020. The purpose of this guidance is to help businesses licensed by the Department understand how to comply with the law. Businesses are encouraged, but not required, to update business signs to reflect any fees listed are determined based on the service provided and not a client’s gender.

In New York State, the New York State Attorney General has authority to enforce these laws and the Division of Consumer Protection is charged with assisting aggrieved consumers in the marketplace.  

Consumers can best support their complaints by submitting evidence of noncompliance, which may include pictures of the advertised items and prices, purchase receipts, and merchant’s location details.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides voluntary mediation, between a consumer and business, when a consumer has been unsuccessful at reaching a resolution on their own. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.

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