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Neighbor to Neighbor: Now you can admonish marketers: ‘Do Not Call’

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A few years ago, when crime was at a high, I had been called to Brooklyn because our grandmother's...

By Barbara Morris

March was an exciting month — weatherwise and otherwise. I hope it was as interesting for you as it was for me, because good things are happening.

A few years ago, when crime was at a high, I had been called to Brooklyn because our grandmother's former home there had been burglarized — one of the 28 times in three months. As I was trying to inventory the things that one evening, I received I don’t know how many calls from telemarketers. I was upset. I called the phone company and asked if there might be some way to stop the calls. There wasn’t.

But now there is. The state legislature has passed a new law — sponsored in the Assembly by William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) — establishing a “Do Not Call” registry which makes it illegal for telemarketers to call you once your name is on that list. Telemarketers who violate he law can face fines up to $2,000 per call.

The law went into effect April 1, but telemarketers are allowed 30 days after that to sign up to participate in the program, before they are at risk of a fine. Some organizations, such as charities, are exempt from the law. Please be aware that some callers representing themselves as bona fide charities may be committing fraud.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers lose more than $40 billion a year to telemarketing fraud. You should be particularly aware that neither the New York Police Department nor the New York Fire Department ever solicits funds, not for special programs, not for widows and orphans, not for any cause. If you wish to donate to these departments, contact your local police precinct or fire station.

If you would like more information about this new “Do Not Call Registry” you may want to contact Assemblyman Scarborough’s office at 718-657-5312; the Consumer Protection Board Helpline 1-800-697-1220; or the website: www.consumer.state.ny.us/prereg.html.

When Assemblyman Scarborough phoned me one night and told me he wanted me to be one of his honored guests at “An Evening At The Radisson,” presented by Friends of Bill Scarborough, March 23, I was (for a change) almost for a loss of words 1 remembered, however, that I had promised, for a year, to treat the president of both The Rosedale Civic Association and the Cornucopia Society, Fred Kress, to dinner for his birthday, Once consulted, Fred said he’d like to spend his birthday celebrating with lots of the folks who are trying to help us make things better for the communities and country. We had a great time and are most grateful to Bill Scarborough and all his friends.

We started out at our table with Fred, Jim English (also from Rosedale Civic), and me. Gradually we rounded it out with Michelle Centeno who was a strong leader with the Laurelton Merchants Association; Millie Rivas who worked with Congressman Floyd Flake and is now on the Postal Advisory Council, and Charlotte Jefferson, who it appears has a good political career ahead of her.

We had table visits from other honorees, Lawrence Cormier, businessman and civic leader, Archie Spigner, deputy majority leader of the City Council, and keynote speaker Gregory Meeks.

Another good friend, whose fund-raiser we also attended the following week at the Radisson, Malcolm Smith, joined us briefly as well.

Lots of fun now — lots of hard work to come!

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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