New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection reached a settlement with Van Leeuwen this week, following the ice cream chain’s repeated failure to comply with the city’s cashless ban law, according to a representative for the agency.
Despite already being hit with thousands of dollars in fines for not accepting cash at its 19 NYC locations, Van Leeuwen allegedly continued to violate the cashless ban law, which went into effect in November 2020.
A press release supplied to Eater by the DCWP stated the city was prepared to file a court order, “which prompted Van Leeuwen to finally and immediately comply with the Cashless Ban Law at all New York City locations and to pay $33,000 in outstanding civil penalties.”
Mayor Eric Adams stated in a press release that “Cash is king, which is why the Cashless Ban Law was passed to protect the unbanked and underbanked in our city.” He added that he hopes that Van Leeuwen serves as an example that the city “will not allow any business to take advantage of this vulnerable population or penalize customers just for wanting to use cash to pay for things.”
Last fall, Eater reported that Van Leeuwen was hit with another round of fines for refusing to accept cash at its locations across the city. At the time of publishing, DCWP told Eater Van Leeuwen hadn’t yet even paid even the initial $12,750 in fines for violating the ban that the ice cream shops had previously been assigned.
DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga stated in the release that: “While DCWP takes an education-first approach to enforcing the City’s laws, systemic and flagrant defiance will not be tolerated. This is more than just an issue of compliance with the law, it’s also an issue of equity and treating all New Yorkers fairly.” DCWP research shows more than 300,000 households in New York City do not have bank accounts.
Van Leeuwen is not the only food business in town violating the cashless ban law. Last fall, the DCWP shared businesses such as Bien Cuit’s Grand Central location, Junzi Kitchen’s Morningside Heights side location, and Roberta’s Pizza Domino Park were just a handful of spots fined in 2021.