More Than 3,000 Homeowners Get Refunds Thanks to Action by Assemblyman Cymbrowitz

February 2, 2019

More than 3,000 NYC homeowners who paid their property taxes by credit card are getting partial refunds thanks to Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee, who made the city aware of a glitch in the system that tacked on a higher-than-expected convenience fee for customers using American Express.

An alert local homeowner noticed the error when he went online to pay his property tax bill and was charged a credit card fee of 2.49% instead of the 2% indicated on the website. He had no luck getting it fixed on his own and decided to ask the lawmaker’s office for help.

After reaching out to the Department of Finance, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz learned that human error by a vendor, not DOF, caused the glitch, which affected Amex users who paid their property tax bills between October 15, 2018 and January 9th of this year.

DOF said that the fee, which is calibrated to offset the cost to NYC of accepting credit card payments and generates no surplus, had decreased to 2% on October 15th. Only Amex users during that time period were impacted.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said DOF immediately directed the vendor to correct the error, which affected 3,301 homeowners. Refunds averaging $22 – the smallest just a penny and the largest $490 – have been issued and should be reflected in customers’ Amex statements received after January 9, according to DOF.

“I’d like to thank the Department of Finance for its quick and thorough response to this issue and ensuring that taxpayers are refunded the money owed to them,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.