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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Department of State
Do Not Call Enforcement Efforts (Follow-Up)


Issued: February 19, 2020
Link to full audit report 2019-F-48

Objective
To determine the extent of implementation of the three recommendations included in our initial audit report, Do Not Call Enforcement Efforts (Report 2017-S-55).

About the Program
The New York State Do Not Call law (Law) allows consumers to register their personal mobile and landline phone numbers on a central national registry to reduce unsolicited telemarketing calls. The Department of State’s (Department) Division of Consumer Protection (Division) is responsible for enforcing the Law, which took effect in 2001. Initially, New York consumers registered their phone numbers on a statewide registry. In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission collaborated to create the National Do Not Call Registry (Registry), and consumers’ phone numbers that were previously on the New York registry were transferred to the national Registry. The Division uses the national Registry to retrieve New York complaints about potential violations of the Law, and also receives complaints by phone and email. The Division investigates complaints to determine if a violation of the Law has occurred, takes actions to enforce and resolve complaints, and provides information and outreach to consumers. Violators may be subject to penalties up to a maximum of $11,000 per violation.

Our initial audit report, which was issued September 28, 2018, examined whether the Department was implementing the enforcement and collection provisions of the Law. Our review of the Division’s statistics showed that, while Registry complaints by State residents had more than doubled since 2014, the number of cases referred to counsel for further action decreased in each of the two subsequent years, possibly, in part, due to turnover and vacancies in key positions. We also found that the data maintained by the Division to document its enforcement efforts was sometimes inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent with other relevant information. We also concluded that the Division should evaluate the potential for using Federal Trade Commission resources and strategies to enhance the effectiveness of its Do Not Call enforcement efforts.

Key Finding
The Department has made significant progress in addressing the issues identified in our initial report. Of the three prior recommendations, all were implemented.  

The Department is not required to respond to this follow-up report. However, we allow 30 days from the date this report is issued for officials to provide information on any actions that are planned to address unresolved issues identified in this report.


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Mark Ren
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236