Bill to Help Protect Residents from Phone Scammers is Signed into Law
Albany, NY – A bill sponsored by State Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) and Assemblymember Shelley B. Mayer (D-Yonkers), that requires telemarketers to disclose when a phone call is being recorded at the beginning of the call, was signed into law by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday, August 21, 2017. The new law adds to existing rules requiring telemarketers to communicate their name, the person on whose behalf the solicitation is being made, and the purpose of the phone call.
The new law, bill S-4361/A-6424, is in response to an increase in reports of phone scams in which callers record a person's voice and later use the recording to deceive the consumer into paying for goods and services he or she did not agree to buy. By requiring legitimate telemarketing calls to let consumers know when a call is recorded, this new law presumes that consumers will have a better opportunity to decline to speak further and end the call.
The bill passed the New York State Assembly and the State Senate with unanimous and bipartisan support.
"Telemarketers are already requires to provide certain information at the start of every telemarketing call," State Senator David Valesky said. "This bill adds another key piece of information that will help a consumer to determine the legitimacy of the caller and whether or not to continue the call."
"With the increase in phone scams, consumers have the right to know when they are being recorded. This new law will give consumers, particularly seniors, additional tools to stop phone scammers who target our communities," said Assemblymember Shelley B. Mayer (AD-90, Yonkers). "I am thankful for the support of my colleagues in the legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo for recognizing the importance of this issue and the serious problem posed by phone scammers."
"Consumers have a clear right to know in advance if a telemarketing call is being recorded," said Chuck Bell, Programs Director for Consumers Union. "This common sense law will help protect New Yorkers against unfair sales tactics to secure oral authorization for product orders and payments. We commend Assemblymember Mayer and Senator Valesky for their leadership in protecting consumers against unfair telemarketing practices."
In 2016, Senator Valesky and Asm. Mayer were the sponsors of another consumer bill, S-977/A-371, which prohibits all telemarketers from transmitting misleading, inaccurate, or false caller identification to consumers. That consumer protection bill was also signed into law by Governor Cuomo.