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In a truly bizarre series of errors by New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs, luxury consignment shop Authentic Pre-Owned in Tribeca was shut down for eight days because an inspector didn't realize he was only supposed to warn the store that it wasn't up-to-date on its consignment licenses. Instead, he reportedly threatened to padlock the building and confiscate all of the goods, according to the Tribeca Citizen.
When asked about the new consignment license, owner Sharon Nazarzadeh explained to Racked in an email, "The brief version is that there is a new law that has gone into effect regarding shops that carry vintage or consignment items. You have to have a secondhand dealer's permit in order to re-sell specific items, clothing not included. It's still very unclear what falls into this category. My shop carries a variety of collectibles, new and old, restored typewriters, antique LV trunks as well as pre-owned designer bags."
As for what happened after that, she says, "When the inspector came in the first time, instead of informing us about this permit, he issued a violation and set a hearing date before a judge. I think because we are such a small business and didn't want any trouble with the city we paid the violation and applied for the license immediately."
Even though Authentic Pre-Owned does not accept or purchase any consignment items in their Tribeca store and instead operates that side of the business at the Soho location, a second inspector who arrived ten days later said that because they had not received the license for the Tribeca store yet, they should close the store. If they didn't, he said, the next time an inspector arrived, they would have the right to padlock the store and confiscate her goods.
"And so I did for eight days, in fear of jeopardizing our consignors," Nazarzadeh explains. "We went to the licensing office which was a disaster. They could care less that we were losing business and credibility in the neighborhood. They said it could take up to two more weeks until the second license was issued."
In response, Nazarzadeh reached out to the department's commissioner Julie Menin, who sent the head inspector and the first inspector who had issued the violation to visit the store, where they were "sympathetic" and explained that yes, a warning should have been issued first.
Nazarzadeh received her license for the Tribeca store on October 9th, and has been open every day since. "It's been very hard and discouraging to survive as a small business owner is this city," she says, adding, "Happy our door are open again and so are our customers."