By Sabina Mollot
For the Stuyvesant Town residents who are customers of the complex’s six garages, which are run by Quik Park, the wait for a refund for $60 in rate increases that came without notice last year is finally over. This is because there will be no refunds issued to these customers after all.
In July, Councilman Dan Garodnick said he was told by the Department of Consumer Affairs that refunds were on the way for customers of Quik Park (parent company Citizens Icon Holdings) who’d been issued an improperly implemented increase. This was accurate, but apparently the Stuy Town garage customers were not included in that pool of motorists. The only refunds that will come through are for customers who’d gotten a notice that the rate hikes they were being charged were for a “Living Wage Assessment,” which happened elsewhere in the city.
Asked if there was still a possibility that the Stuy Town customers could see their money back as well, a spokesperson for the DCA didn’t have a response, but did say the department was working with the garage company (and others in the industry) to ensure customers will receive proper notice of increases in the future.
Additionally, in an emailed statement, the DCA said:
“In June 2017, DCA entered into a settlement agreement with Icon which operates parking garages in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, to resolve allegations that Icon misled consumers when it referred to an increase in its fees as a ‘NYC Living Wage Assessment.’
“Based on Icon’s representations, DCA mistakenly believed that all monthly customers who were active in January and February of 2017 were charged the Assessment. We recently learned that Icon did not, in fact, charge Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village consumers the Assessment, which makes those consumers ineligible for restitution under the settlement agreement.”
The refunds were expected to come in September as a credit to garage customer accounts.
The DCA added that it’s alerted StuyTown property Services, “apologizing for any confusion and to clarify the eligibility requirements for restitution under the settlement agreement.”
Garodnick, meanwhile, had this to say:
“We are disappointed that DCA made an error as to reimbursement for Stuy Town garages. We will stay on top of Icon to ensure that they are complying with the rules.”
The $60 refunds other customers are getting come from a total $1.2 million that was paid by Citizens Icon via a settlement with the DCA. The company also had to pay a $100,000 fine.
Since the increases were improperly given to a number of Upper West Side customers, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, who represents the area, blasted the garage for trying to fool customers.
“For a company to misleadingly use a minimum wage increase to disguise an ordinary price hike was a deeply cynical violation of the public trust,” said Rosenthal, back in July.
Late last year, the garage giant also planned to charge Stuyvesant Town garage customers a fee for non-electronic payments.
However, that plan was nixed after the property’s management got wind of it and asked the company not to implement it.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the fine paid was $1,000, not $100,000.