DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- State Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) and Assemblymember Shelley B. Mayer (D-Yonkers) recently introduced a new bill (S-4361/A-6424) which would require telemarketers to disclose that the phone call is being recorded at the start of the call.
In addition to the existing law requiring that telemarketers communicate their name, the person on whose behalf the solicitation is being made, and the purpose of the phone call, this bill would require that the telemarketer let consumers know at the start of the phone call if they are being recorded, according to a release.
The bill was introduced in response to a resurgence of suspicious telemarketer phone calls to help protect residents from scammers.
Recently, there have been a number of phone scams in which callers record a person's voice and then later use the recording to deceive the consumer into paying for goods and services he or she did not agree to buy, the release said.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Consumer Protection in the Senate and the Committee Consumer Affairs and Protection in the Assembly.
The new legislation sponsored by Valesky and Mayer presumes that by requiring legitimate telemarketing calls to let consumers know when a call is recorded, consumers will have a better opportunity to decline to speak further and end the call.
"This legislation will help protect consumers from a deceptive practice perpetrated by illegitimate telemarketers," said Valesky. "Notification that a call is being recorded gives the consumer the knowledge needed to choose whether to continue the call or hang up. It is my pleasure to work with Assemblymember Mayer again on an issue of consumer protection."
Mayer said, "Consumers have the right to know when they are being recorded so that they have the option to decline to speak further. The phone scammers are persistent and creative in their techniques, which is why we have to work to stay one step ahead of them."
"This bill will give regulators additional tools to pursue scammers trying to take advantage of residents, especially seniors," Mayer added. "I am pleased to join Senator Valesky to take action on behalf of our residents so we can protect our community from phone scams."
In June of last year, Valesky and Mayer were also the sponsors of bill S-977/ A-371, which prohibits all telemarketers from transmitting inaccurate, misleading or false caller identification to consumers, the release said.
That bill was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo; and Valesky and Mayer are hopeful about the prospects of their new bill as well.
"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 bill will help improve transparency, and protect New Yorkers against unfair sales tactics to secure oral authorization for product orders and payments."
"While many disreputable telemarketers will continue to flout New York and federal law, this bill establishes clear rules of the road that can be used to hold lawbreakers accountable in enforcement actions," Bell concluded.