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'Pink Tax' ban goes into effect in New York State

The law mandates that an individual or entity cannot charge a price for two goods or services that are 'substantially similar' based on gender.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the "Pink Tax" ban has officially gone into effect.  

Under this reform, businesses in New York State are prohibited from charging a "pink tax." This means businesses cannot charge different prices for "substantially similar" consumer goods or services that are marketed to different genders, according to the governor's office. This includes retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and distributors.

According to the governor's office, "substantially similar goods" is defined as two items that have little difference in intended use, the materials used in production, as well as functional design, features and brand.

The state provided the following example, "the same children's swimming pool product brand and dimensions offered in pink at $89.99 and blue at $69.99 would constitute a violation of law."

As for "substantially similar services," New York State defines this as two services that have little difference in difficulty, the amount of time delivering, and cost in providing the service. The state provided the following example, "dry cleaning a woman's suit jacket for $12 and a man's suit jacket for $8 would constitute a violation of law."

The governor's office goes on to say that the new measure also requires certain service providers to "provide price lists for standard services upon request and notifies them that gender-based price discrimination is prohibited under state law."

Any businesses that violates the new law will face civil penalties.

"Women and girls continue to face inequalities in many aspects of their daily lives, and it is unacceptable that they have to pay more than men for similar goods and services," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Eliminating the pink tax helps put an end to gender-based pricing, ensure financial success and break down barriers for women.

"We do not tolerate discriminatory actions in our state, and we will continue to fight to eliminate the gender wage gap and achieve full equality and justice for all New Yorkers."

Starting September 30, if a customer sees a product or service available for sale in New York State that does not comply with the new law, they can contact the Division of Consumer Protection. The Division of Consumer Protection can be contacted Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling 800-697-1220. Consumers can also file a complaint online here.

"The Pink Tax was gender-based discrimination, plain and simple," Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls, said. "In New York, women have been forced to accept the unjust reality of a higher price tag for identical goods marketed to men. It was unacceptable and starting today women and girls across this state can be confident that it won't happen again. New York has made tremendous progress in advancing gender equity through Governor Cuomo's Women's Agenda and abolishing the pink tax is a critical next step."