New York Telemarketing Laws

State Telemarketing Laws

If you are a telemarketer or making sales calls, it is important to follow both federal and state telemarketing laws.

Many companies make the mistake of assuming that they only need to follow the federal laws and avoid violating the Do Not Call Registry.  The reality is that each state has the ability to make their own laws and to enforce them.  If you are calling in your home state, you can easily place a call to your local Attorney General to identify any specific laws that you need to be following.  If you are calling nationwide it becomes more complicated, and you need to make sure that your policies and procedures are established to avoid any violations.

Here are some state telemarketing laws that you need to know about:

  • Missouri – The state of Missouri has a No Call Law.  This law prohibits telemarketers from contacting any residential numbers that are on the states no call registry.  Even if the individual has not listed their phone number on the federal registry, they could be listed on the statewide one.  Missouri defines a telemarketer as anyone who is connected to a company that does telemarketing through incoming or outgoing phone calls. This includes automatic calls made from a computer, owners, operators, directors, and managers of said companies. In order to get a copy of the registry businesses have to apply for it and pay a $50 fee.  The registry is updated every quarter and both in state and out of state companies must comply with the telemarketing laws.
  • New York – New York has passed several state wide telemarketing laws that make it more difficult for companies making sales calls.  They require that any telemarketing company using pre-recorded messages must have prior written consent before reaching New Yorkers at home.  They also have a law requiring telemarketers raising money for charity to disclose how much of the money goes to the charity itself.  Both in state and out of state companies must comply with their telemarketing laws and keep records of all activities for two years.
  • Arizona – Telemarketing companies making sales calls in Arizona must first register with their Secretary of State.  If any company has a change in their filing, it must be reported within ten days of the change.  This applies to all companies making telemarketing calls in Arizona.  The state does not allow telemarketing companies to block their Caller ID or use prerecorded messages on mobile devices.

These are only some of the states with specific telemarketing laws on the books.  It is important to check the state laws prior to making calls in order to avoid any potential violations.  You should also create a policies and procedures manual that includes how to follow both federal and state laws.  This will be a good reference guide and show authorities that you are trying to comply if a mistake is accidentally made.

You can also purchase a specific call list from to ensure that your calling efforts are reaching the right people and as effective as possible.

New Telemarketing Legislation Proposed in NY

Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-North Shore) has introduced new telemarketing legislation into the New York assembly that would require telemarketers raising money for charities to disclose how much of their donation will actually go to the organization.

If passed, telemarketers would need to specify how much money they were taking in profit and how much would end up in the charity itself.

“Generous New Yorkers have a right to know where their donations are going and how that money will be spent,” Titone said.

In 2012, a report was issued called “Pennies for Charities”.  This report showed that out of every dollar raised by telemarketing companies for charity, only 0.38 went to the charity with the remainder going to the telemarketing company. In that year alone over $249 million in donations were raised in New York and Titone believes that New Yorkers should be made aware of where their funds are going.

If the legislation passes telemarketers would have to send a follow up letter to everyone that donated explaining the breakdown of the funds.

This would give them the information they need to determine if they want to donate in the future, and is aimed at specifically helping to educate the elderly and disabled, who he claims are often victims of telemarketers.

From a telemarketers perspective, if the legislation goes forward it will require an additional compliance step that cannot be ignored.  It is likely that someone within the organization would need to be hired or assigned to the specific task of sending follow up letters to contributors and keeping record of this correspondence.

Some things will need to be clarified.  For example, how quickly after the donation was recieved does the letter need to be sent?  Do telemarkters need to inform contributors that a letter will be sent and how long will the records need to be kept?  Companies raising money in New York, and throughout the country, need to stand by for the next couple of weeks until individual states are done with their legislative sessions.

Many companies fall into the trap of only watching telemarketing legislation at the federal level, while ignoring individual state legislation.

Each state has the ability to create and enforce laws that regulate the industry so it is important to conduct research prior to calling in that state.  This recent telemarketing legislation out of New York is only one example.

For state specific information you can visit the state attorney generals office website or put in a call to them in order to be directed to where you can access their regulations.  If you are hired to run a large state wide campaign make sure to understand the rules before you start dialing.  It could save you and your firm thousands in fines.  Most state sessions end by mid April so we should know the results of New York’s telemarketing legislation then.