New York Senate, Assembly Pass Telemarketing Bills

A bill creating a do-not-call list for New York residents and another bill designed to curb deceptive telemarketing practices both passed the state Assembly and Senate last week.

Gov. George Pataki is expected to sign both bills, according to Senate spokespersons; however, a spokesman for Pataki said Friday the New York governor had not publicly indicated his support for either bill. He will have 10 days to sign the bills after they are delivered to his office. Neither bill had been delivered by Friday afternoon.

The do-not-call-list bill requires the state Consumer Protections Board to maintain and promote the list, and local telephone directories also will be required to provide information about how consumers can get their telephone number added to the list. There will be no charge for consumers to have their numbers listed.

All telemarketers who offer goods and services in New York would be required to use the list to eliminate those numbers from their calling lists. The CPB will finalize the details about the cost of the list to telemarketers and how it will be maintained, according to a spokesperson for New York Sen. Charles Fuschillo.

Companies can be fined up to $2,000 for violations. It is scheduled to become effective April 1, 2001.

New York joins a growing list of states that have created do-not-call lists in recent years. Eight states — Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Oregon and Tennessee — entered the year with do-not-call legislation in place, and another 25 had legislation pending this year. Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan was expected to sign legislation by July 1 that would create a do-not-call list in that state.

The other New York bill, the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud Abuse Prevention Act, outlaws some telemarketing practices not covered by federal rules and establishes some other guidelines designed to protect consumers from fraudulent and abusive telemarketing.

It requires telemarketers to state at the beginning of the call the characteristics of the goods or services being offered, the purpose of the call and the total cost of the goods or services. It also requires all telemarketers to be bonded and registered with the state and mandates telemarketers to keep records of all calls for 24 months, among other requirements.

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