To further crack down on unwanted telemarketing calls, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation which requires telemarketers to offer customers the option to be added to the company’s do-not-call list at the outset of telemarketing calls, immediately after the telemarketer’s and solicitor’s names have been provided.

By way of background, the requirement that a company maintain its own do-not-call list supplements the protections afforded by the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule’s national do-not-call requirements.  Under the Rule, a company is precluded from calling consumers who register on the national list managed by the FTC (unless an exemption applies, such as an existing business relationship) and those who request to be added to the company’s own do-not-call list.

Under current New York law, telemarketers are already required to inform individuals that they may request to be added to a company’s own do-not-call list; however, the law does not specify at what point such notice must be given.  Consequently, people usually hang up before such disclosure, which allows telemarketers to continue calling them.  By requiring the provision of do-not-call list information at the onset of telemarketing calls, this legislation is intended to help protect New Yorkers against incessant, unwanted calls.  This revision to the law goes into effect on March 6, 2023.

After the do-not-call information, but also at the beginning of each sales call, telemarketers must also disclose whether the call is being recorded, the purpose of the telephone call, and the identity of the goods or services for which a fee will be charged.

“For too long, New Yorkers have dealt with these nuisance calls, not knowing they can avoid these interactions by being added to a telemarketer’s do-not-call list,” Governor Hochul said in a statement.  “This new legislation will protect New Yorkers from receiving frustrating, unwanted calls by better providing information on do-not-call lists.”

Whether or not New York’s new law will actually reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls remains to be seen.  Although the FTC alone has brought over 150 enforcement actions against companies for do-not-call and other telemarketing violations, achieving success (i.e., a quiet dinner time for Americans) may continue to be an elusive goal.