Even before the virus hit, Assemblyman David Buchwald didn’t want residents pestered by telemarketers during an emergency.
Telemarketers are now banned from making unsolicited calls during a declared state of emergency in New York State, under terms of a law that went into effect just prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The Westchester Democrat led the way in enacting the legislation, which prohibits telemarketers from knowingly making calls during a declared state of emergency. The measure won unanimous support in the State Assembly and State Senate and was signed into law by Governor Cuomo this past December. (Chapter 680 of the Laws of 2019)
“During a declared state of emergency, residents must have open lines of communication with medical professionals, local governments and friends and relatives without telemarketers tying up phone lines,” Buchwald stated in a press release. “With so many New Yorkers staying home to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the telephone is a critical tool to combat isolation. Telemarketing calls are annoying enough in normal times, but in this emergency, they are being used to sell phony coronavirus tests kits and useless vitamins to people, especially seniors.”
Buchwald’s office explained that residents receiving telemarketing calls should stop the caller, and immediately ask to be placed on the firm’s do not call list. But also, due to this new law, New Yorkers can file a complaint with the New York State Department of State online at https://www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection/form/ComplaintForm1.asp or call (888) 382-1222.
Violations can lead to a fine of up to $11,000.
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