New York City

Don’t celebrate Passover by getting ripped off at the car wash, the AG warns

March 21, 2023 Robert Abruzzese
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CITYWIDE — Attorney General Letitia James has issued a warning to consumers on Monday to be cautious of discriminatory pricing practices at car washes in the lead-up to Passover.

During Passover, many Jews engage in extensive cleaning of their homes, cars, and other spaces to remove leavened products or “chametz.” Some car wash companies have reportedly advertised “specials” for car washing services related to Passover but have charged higher prices to customers instead.

Chris Villalovos sprays down a car before it’s run through an automatic car wash at a Costco, Tuesday, May 2, 2006, in Seattle. Photo: Elaine Thompson/AP.

In past years, car wash businesses in predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City have been reported to raise prices by as much as 50 percent for Jewish customers seeking cleaning services close to the Passover holiday.

To combat these practices, Attorney General James has previously sent letters to organizations representing car wash owners in New York to remind their members that such business practices are illegal and should be reported to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

“Taking advantage of someone’s religious observances and practices is offensive, discriminatory, and absolutely unacceptable,” said Attorney General James. “For millions of observant Jews in New York and beyond, Passover is an important holiday, and their preparations should be respected, not manipulated for profit. I urge any New Yorker who is concerned that they have been a victim of discriminatory behavior because of their religion, race, or background to contact my office immediately.”

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