The Senate gave final passage today to legislation that would shore up protections for New Yorkers who don’t want to hear from telemarketers. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who supports the measure. The Assembly previously passed the legislation.
The law will require all telemarketers doing businesses in New York to register with the Department of State and will prohibit robocalls. Currently, telemarketing companies that are registered, chartered, certified or licensed by another state currently are exempt from the registration requirement. Just 22 telemarketers are registered with the state.
In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which require out-of-state telemarketing companies to register, there are 557 and 213 registered, respectively, according to state officials.
“Complaints about intrusive and unwanted telemarketers are pervasive throughout New York, but this bill will help by holding all telemarketers to the same standard,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said in a statement.
Cuomo applauded lawmakers for swiftly passing the legislation. “The legislation passed by both the Assembly and Senate that takes major steps to prevent unwanted and annoying telemarketing calls is a big win for the people of New York State,” he said in a statement. “We all know what it is like to be harassed in our homes or on our cell phones by calls from telemarketers trying to sell their products, and with the legislation passed today New Yorkers will have new safeguards to stop these intrusive calls.”
The Department of State has registered more than 13 million phone numbers on its Do-Not-Call registry. The agency’s Division of Consumer Protection has received nearly 5,000 complaints and inquiries about the list since 2009. The Federal Trade Commission registered 61,705 complaints from New Yorkers.
Out-of-state telemarketers now will be subject to civil and criminal penalties in New York. That could include the suspension or revokation of registration. Pre-recorded telemarketing calls will be prohibited unless the telemarketer has written consent from the call recipient. Telemarketing companies will have to provide an opt-out option on pre-recorded calls that would enable recipients to automatically add their phone number to the telemarketer’s do-no-call list.