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Both claimants seek a return of the full balance paid, which raises the question of whether they establish damages justifying a return of the additional each.
The court is fully satisfied that “actual damages” includes the difference between each contract price and the fee which is the maximum fee permitted under the Dating Service Law for these contracts.
E.2d 672 ; see also, Northern Westchester Professional Park Assocs.
Issues of credibility, as well as the weight to be given to the evidence presented, are primarily questions to be determined by the court in a non-jury trial (People v.
Because the Dating Service Law is found applicable, the court will review the contract and the service's operation for compliance with the statute. First, there was a massive overcharge by the dating service. § 394-c , “Every contract for social referral service which requires payment by the purchaser of such service of a total amount in excess of twenty-five dollars shall provide that the seller of such service must furnish to the purchaser a specified certain number of social referrals per month”). § 394-c subdivision 3 (contracts above twenty-five dollars to state “specified certain number of social referrals per month”), subdivision 4 (contracts above twenty-five dollars to set forth client has “option to cancel the contract and to receive a refund” if minimum referrals not made), subdivision 5 (undertaking service provider will not reveal “any information and material of a personal or private nature” without client's written consent), subdivision 5-a.
Co.1997, Lebedeff, J.], for New York “consumer fraud claims, the Internet medium is essentially irrelevant, for the focus is primarily upon the location” of the relevant actor and whether statute violated). Turning to the issue of damages, the Dating Service Law states that “[a]ny person who has been injured by reason of a violation of this section may bring ․ an action to recover his or her actual damages or fifty dollars whichever is greater” (G. This court had its opportunity to “view the witnesses, hear the testimony and observe demeanor” (People v.
The mere fact that the basic social introduction process was to be conducted on the Internet in this case does not place the dating service outside the scope of the law. § 394-c[a], “ ‘social referral service’ shall include any service for a fee providing matching of members ․ by use of computer ․ for the purpose of dating and general social contact”).
S.2d 139 [3rd Dept.2000], “ [s]ince the trial court is presented with the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses testifying before it and to assess their credibility * * * deference will be accorded to its findings unless they lack a sound and substantial basis in the record” [citations omitted] ). Based upon the testimony, the court determines that each claimant would not have signed a contract containing terms violating applicable law, had she known of her rights and, accordingly, each claimant is entitled to a refund of the final .00 balance at issue, which finding achieves substantial justice in these Small Claims matters (N. Finally, the court considers whether it should exercise its judicial discretion to report the activity found to violate applicable law to appropriate governmental authorities, which in this case would be to the New York State Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Unit, as well as the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (G. Although “[n]o ․ rule has been adopted as to what is required if a judge receives information indicating that a litigant or witness appears to be guilty of unlawful conduct”, it has been recognized that “as a general rule judges are granted the discretion, under the proper circumstances, ․ to report instances of illegal conduct revealed in the course of proceedings before the judge” (New York State Office of Court Administration's Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinion 03-110, August 13, 2004).
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§ 394-c [a]; see, for example, People by Vacco v. It then follows that the legislature, by adding the “actual damage” language to the statute in 1992 did not erode New York State's commitment to protect consumers from price gouging by dating services.
Logic indicates that the 1992 amendment “evened the playing field” by offering a single remedy of restitution to a consumer, which could be achieved by the alternate routes of commencing an individual suit or filing a complaint with the Attorney General.