COVID-19 State of Emergency Prohibits Cold Calls

Mar 24, 2020

The Governor’s declared disaster state of emergency in New York based on the COVID-19 outbreak means that unsolicited cold calls to New York residents by brokers and agents are prohibited until September 7, 2020 unless the state of emergency is lifted sooner.

New York recently passed an amendment to its do-not-call registry law which made it unlawful to make an unsolicited telemarketing sales call to any person in New York under a declared state of emergency.  It is unclear whether courts interpreting the amended law would treat unsolicited text messages as telephone calls. 

The prohibition does not include calls made: (i) in response to an express written or verbal request by the customer; or (ii) in connection with an established business relationship, which has not been terminated by either party, unless such customer has stated to the caller that such customer no longer wishes to receive the sales calls of such caller.

Accordingly, real estate offices, brokers and agents should avoid making any unsolicited telemarketing sales calls or sending unsolicited text messages to any person within New York until the current state of emergency is lifted.  Email communication, however, is permitted, so long as it complies with any other relevant laws.