Effort to end robocalls in New York State

Kennedy: 50 million robocalls in Buffalo in first two months of 2019

Mike Baggerman
March 28, 2019 - 3:00 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - New York State Senator Tim Kennedy is among the co-sponsors of a bill which would ban telemarketers from using robocalls to contact New Yorkers.

"If businesses want to send out robocalls, they can send them to individuals who have clearly and expressly opted in," Kennedy said. "There shouldn't be these phone calls that are unwanted. If someone chooses to ignore the law, the legislation we have in place would empower the attorney general to prosecute these companies. They can be fined as much as $2,000 per call. Individuals who receive these calls...can also file a lawsuit against the caller or company and receive up to $500 in damages."

Kennedy said that Buffalo residents have already received nearly 50 million calls through the first two months of 2019. Americans last year received nearly 48 billion robocalls.

"These are unwanted calls," Kennedy added. "They are disruptive and just a nuisance to every community across the state and the nation. New York State has to step up and do it's part. At the federal level, the "do not call" list that is in place just seems to be filled with loophole after loophole...We want to see this done at the federal level but until then, the state has to do what's within our power to protect consumers."

The Associated Press reported that there is skepticism from trade groups that represent telemarketers.

Stuart Discount, the CEO of the Professional Association for Consumer Engagement, said laws and fines aren't likely to deter the scam artists behind many of the irritating calls. He said legitimate telemarketing companies want to stop robocalls because too many Americans now refuse to answer a call from an unknown number.

CNBC reported that scams make up roughly 40 percent of robocalls.



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