Legislative Memo



A.159 (Christensen) / S.780 (Marcellino)



Requiring certain establishments to post lists of prices for services



March 3, 2003


The Business Council of New York State, whose membership includes over 3,500 member firms as well as over one hundred chambers of commerce and professional trade associations, has reviewed the above mentioned legislation and opposes its enactment.

This legislation would mandate that all hairdressers, cosmetologist, barbers, dry cleaners, tailors or any other similar apparel service provider post signs indicating the prices of every service which an establishment may offer. Understanding that the intention of this legislation is to address the concern of unequal pricing for equivalent services which are used by both sexes, we believe the unintended consequences to small businesses would be great.

The businesses affected by this legislation tend to be small establishments. Requiring them to list prices for every service they're able to provide would potentially create a great burden. Within these industries there are many circumstances that arise which alter the ordinary standard of pricing. A dry cleaner for instance, offers a range of services for a range of items. Some factors that must be considered when pricing services include the different fabrics that may be brought in (cotton, silk, leather, etc.), the different processes that must be used, the type stain, the type garment, and the ranges in size for bedding, drapes, etc., just to name a few. If a business was required to list all possible combinations of charges, it would be nearly impossible to do so in a "clear and conspicuous" manner.

With so many possible circumstances, it would be confusing to the customer to have to read a massive laundry list of ways they could possibly be charged. What we would suggest, if the object of this legislation is to address the concern of unequal pricing is that a price range for the most popular services be posted and that upon request, an establishment be required to tell the customer up-front what they will be charged.

While we would oppose this legislation in its current form, we would be open to working with the sponsors to address any concerns.

Therefore, The Business Council respectfully opposes adoption of A.159/S.780.