Assemblyman Dinowitz Passes Legislation Protecting Consumers

Dinowitz’ cell phone bill protects consumers from unwanted phone charges

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz sponsored legislation that was passed by both the Assembly and Senate this week. If signed into law by Governor Pataki, the bill will save consumers money and aggravation from receiving unsolicited calls on their cell phones. The bill prohibits phone companies from listed the cell phone numbers of customers without their specific authorization.

Unlike phones in the home, cell-phone companies charge the consumer for both incoming and outgoing calls. There has been talk of some cell phone companies creating a cell phone directory. Unlike the regular white pages, this would cost the consumer money. In some cases those with limited cell-phone plans with high calling rates could be hit a with costly telephone bill. Assemblyman Dinowitz wanted to deal with this issue before consumers were hurt by it. Yet while protecting consumers, the assemblyman wanted to provide anyone who wishes to add their cell phone number to a directory – like a local business district wanting to create a directory – the opportunity to do so. The bill provides that the cell phone owner must specifically give permission to the phone company to list their phone number, as opposed to a landline, where a phone number is listed unless the consumer pays to have it unlisted.

Assemblyman Dinowitz said, "It’s important that we protect cell phone users from unwanted calls and the added expense that goes along with it. Listing their phone numbers should be an option, and it’s important that their specific permission be granted. That’s what this bill does. I urge the governor to sign this very pro-consumer bill."