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Live telemarketing calls to be included in NY's Do Not Call Law

A new New York State bill puts live

A new New York State bill puts live telemarketers under the state's Do Not Call Law as of March 2019. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Brian A. Jackson

Live telemarketing calls will be covered by the state’s Do Not Call Law, including a prohibition against sharing consumers’ personal information without their consent, under a new state law.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently signed a bill into law that expands the 2001 Do Not Call Law, which covers robocalls. The expansion stipulates that telemarking calls by a person, instead of recorded messages, give consumers the option to be added to the seller’s do-not-call list.

The new law requires telemarketers to have consumers’ written consent before sharing or selling their names, email addresses, phone numbers and other contact information.

The legislation, which takes effect in March, was authored by state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and Assemb. Amy Paulin (D-Westchester). It's in response to a spike in unsolicited telemarketing calls, they said on Monday.

Kaminsky said, “Over the last few years, the amount of nuisance calls has increased drastically, and this bill would curb these bothersome calls.”

Paulin said the new law provides “more tools to combat this out-of-control surge of annoying telemarketing calls … I get these calls myself all the time, and I know how frustrating they can be.”

Cuomo said the law closes a loophole in the 2011 Do Not Call Law that has been exploited by telemarketers. “With these new protections, we can help ensure New Yorkers receive fewer unwanted calls and their privacy is protected once and for all,” he said.

The legislation passed the state Senate and Assembly unanimously in June.

An audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli last year found that the number of complaints about telemarketing calls more than doubled between 2014 and 2017 to 454,100. The state Division of Consumer Protection reviews the complaints and initiates legal action if businesses make unsolicited calls to phone numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry. More than 14 million phone numbers in New York State are on the registry.

DiNapoli found the division’s enforcement activities dropped in 2016-17 because the post of director of investigations was vacant for about 18 months. The division has since hired more staff and “investigated thousands of complaints since the conclusion of the audit,” Secretary of State Rossana Rosado wrote a year ago in response to the comptroller’s audit. She oversees the consumer protection division.

STOPPING TELEMARKETING CALLS

  • Register telephone numbers with the national Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222 using the phone number that you wish to register. Registrations do not expire unless the number is permanently disconnected, reassigned to a new customer or removed by the requester.
  • File a complaint about an unwanted call once your telephone number has been on the registry for more than a month. File complaints at donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222.
  • Telemarketers face fines of up to $11,000 per call from New York State. The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission also can levy fines.
  • Consumers must be offered the option of joining the seller's do-not-call list if they receive a live telemarketing call, starting in March.
  • Telemarketers cannot share or sell a consumer's contact information without their written consent, starting in March.

SOURCES: NYS Division of Consumer Protection, NYS Legislature

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