State Lawmakers Hang Up on ‘robocalls’

Albany Targets Pre-Recorded Calls

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo applauded the recent passage of legislation by the Senate and Assembly which will further restrict unwanted telemarketing calls from companies located both inside and outside of New York and take aim at prerecorded marketing messages.

“Despite the overall success of existing state and federal statutes that save consumers from being completely deluged by unwanted marketing calls, some companies that want to sell their goods and services over the phone have found a way around our laws,” Addabbo said. “This new measure, which I was proud to support, will help to crack down on these annoying practices.”

Under the legislation (S.7567), telemarketers will be prohibited from calling New Yorkers who have signed up for the “Do-Not-Call Registry” regardless of where the com- panies are located.

While the state Department of State registers telemarketers operating within New York’s boundaries, companies that are registered, chartered, certified or licensed outside of the state have not been subject to registration or regulation.

“This legislation closes that loophole and should help reduce the number of unwanted calls some New Yorkers have been receiving,” Addabbo said.

The legislation also prohibits telemarketers from placing pre-recorded marketing calls-also known as “robocalls”-to New Yorkers on the Do-Not-Call Registry without their express written consent. In addition, companies placing “robocalls” to New York residents who have not yet signed up for the registry must provide the consumer with an opportunity to opt out of receiving calls.

For example, the recorded phone call must provide instructions- whether through key press options or voice-activated prompts-explaining how to add the consumer’s phone number to the company’s “Do Not Call” list. Exceptions to the anti-telemarketing laws include charitable groups, political organizations and companies that have an existing business relationship with the consumer being called.

“[Gov. Andrew] Cuomo has expressed his willingness to sign this important legislation into law and give New Yorkers more relief from unwanted telemarketing calls on their home telephones and cell phones,” Addabbo said. “I hope that this action will be taken soon.”

Addabbo noted that residents who have not yet registered with the National Do Not Call Registry may do so by calling 1-888-382-1222 or may register online at www.donotcall.gov Both home telephones and cellular phones may be registered.

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