A late-2019 amendment to New York’s telemarketing law, AB 117, prohibits telemarketers from knowingly making certain kinds of pre-recorded sales calls to consumers who are located in a county, city, town, or village that is under a state of emergency or disaster emergency. Since this amendment is recent, and made no change other than this prohibition, many businesses may not yet have incorporated the ban into their telemarketing compliance programs.
With the State of New York currently under a Disaster Emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses should temporarily suspend such calls to New York residents, and telemarketers that are located in New York should suspend such calls to any consumers. Non-compliance is subject to a fine levied by the New York Secretary of State not to exceed $11,000 per violation. Additionally, violations are considered deceptive acts and practices subject to enforcement by the New York State Attorney General and by private right of action. Also, the district attorney, county attorney, and corporation counsel have authority to impose a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000 for each violation; civil penalties obtained in such an action are retained by the municipality or county.