Why Van Leeuwen Is Paying $33,000 In Civil Penalties

While most everyone enjoys ice cream, it's not generally thought of as being a very modern or futuristic food. Ice cream in some form dates back to the times of Alexander the Great, and even King Solomon, so say the party people at the International Dairy Foods Association. From those days to these, ice cream hasn't evolved a whole lot. However, even if ice cream isn't considered fashionable, Van Leeuwen is beginning to make it that way, even if it hasn't been named one of the best ice cream brands, yet.

Van Leeuwen is rapidly becoming a known quantity in the ice cream world. It's already brought its unusual ice cream flavors to Walmart shelves, which is pretty good for a company that started as a van in Soho. This new popularity seems to be derived directly from the vision of the ice cream maker. The brand's goal is, as the Van Leeuwen site states, "to make good ice cream that makes you feel good."

Though the Van Leeuwen name is becoming more popular, with that popularity has come penalties for misconduct. It seems the frozen dessert vendor has been scoffing at some of New York's laws and refusing to accept certain types of payment at its locations within the city. While this isn't as egregious as a health code violation, or finding out the secret ingredient in their ice cream is Soylent Green, it still ends with more than $30,000 going into the pockets of New York City.

Van Leeuwen refuses to take cash, again, and is fined some more

In New York City there's an interesting law that more major cities are adopting. It's known as the "Cashless Ban Law," and USA Today reports its goal is to protect people who do not use credit or debit for their purchases. It says businesses must take cash in exchange for goods so that everyone can purchase what they need.

This is the very law of which Van Leeuwen has run afoul. Eater reports that a press release it received from the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection claims that there were threats of a court order, "which prompted Van Leeuwen to finally and immediately comply with the Cashless Ban Law at all New York City locations and to pay $33,000 in outstanding civil penalties."

While the same report states that Van Leeuwen is now in compliance at all of its locations, it might not stay that way. Van Leeuwen has been fined for this before and is clearly not learning its lesson. Another Eater piece says almost exactly a year ago, the ice cream peddler absorbed $12,000 worth of fines for ignoring the cashless policy. It seems this is an ongoing problem, so those who prefer cash may want to steer clear of that late autumn ice cream cone and stick to pumpkin spice pudding.