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The legal definition of telemarketing has been expanded beyond just phone calls

The definition for telemarketing in New York State has been expanded to include text messaging.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation expanding New York State’s definition of telemarketing to include marketing by text message. New Yorkers have protection against unwanted robocalls under state law, but texting was not previously defined as telemarketing, exempting it from those protections. This legislation closes that loophole.

“Our consumer protections need to keep pace with technology and New Yorkers who have long been plagued by the nuisance of annoying calls from telemarketers now have to contend with unwanted texts attempting to sell them things they don’t want,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation closes this annoying loophole and will help ensure our laws are modernized to confront the needs of New Yorkers.”

Telemarketing, also known as robocalling, has been a longstanding nuisance for New Yorkers and people across the country. Under New York State law, the definition of telemarketing was previously limited to phone calls. Text messages are commonly used by telemarketers, but were not previously defined as telemarketing in the law.

Senator Leroy Comrie said, “Aggressive telemarketing has long been an annoyance and potential source of fraud preying upon consumers, so much that we have had to establish a do not call registry to keep New Yorkers from being inundated with unwanted and often unscrupulous solicitation. Now that cell phones are as common, if not more than landlines, electronic text messages to our mobile devices have become the newest unwelcomed invasive marketing technique. Consumers should not be burdened with excessive and predatory telemarketing in any form, including text messages and I thank my colleague Assemblyman Kenny Burgos for working with me on this bill to close this loophole, modernize the statute and protect the people. I commend the Governor for signing it into law.”

Assembly Member Kenny Burgos said, “During the pandemic, New Yorkers experienced a dramatic rise in text-based telemarketing because the law had not caught up with technological advancements. With this essential piece of legislation, New York consumers on the ‘Do Not Call Registry’ will no longer receive these types of messages. I thank the Governor for signing my bill, A6040, designed to include electronic text messages as a form of telemarketing, and I am proud to see this bill now become State law.”