Telemarketing calls illegal during state of emergency

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One possible small silver lining of the coronavirus crisis is that telemarketing calls are illegal during a state of emergency declaration, according to the state Division of Consumer Protection.

State officials said a new law signed on Dec. 18 prohibits unsolicited telemarketing sales calls to anyone in an area under a state of emergency declaration, and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared such a state of emergency on March 7.

“During our current state of emergency related to the novel coronavirus, New Yorkers do not need to be burdened with intrusive telemarketing calls,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado in a release.

“New Yorkers will have more open lines of communication on their phones, which are critical during this time of social distancing,” Rosado added. 

Unsolicited telemarketing sales calls mean any type of telemarketing call other than ones in response to a request from a customer or in connection with an already established business relationship, officials said.

Any business engaged in telemarketing in New York should consult their attorneys prior to continuing, state officials said. Violating the new law can result in thousands of dollars in civil penalties.

Anyone who receives an unsolicited telemarketing sales call during the state of emergency should report it to www.donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222.

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