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Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Better Protect Consumers

Press Release

Location: Albany, NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed three bills that will help protect consumers from unsolicited mailings and fraud and ensure motorcycle owners are informed of laws regarding their new motorcycles.

"Today I am pleased to sign these three bills to put in place new protections for New York's consumers," Governor Cuomo said. "The state is doing all it can to ensure that the finances and possessions of New Yorkers are guarded against fraud and greed. We are taking action to make sure that credit card holders are not held responsible when they are the victims of financial fraud. In addition, we are requiring unsolicited advertisements to be marked so that consumers are not tricked into deceptive and fraudulent agreements. Finally, New York is providing motorcycle owners with critical information about registration and state laws to prevent the wrongful seizure of their bikes. I thank the bill sponsors for their hard work on these bills on behalf of the state's consumers."

The first bill (A3601/S4301) signed by the Governor today would protect consumers from liability for unauthorized use of unsolicited convenience checks. These convenience checks, often mailed by credit card companies to account holders, are easy targets for unauthorized users looking to commit fraud. The law now holds cardholders harmless for unauthorized use of unsolicited convenience checks associated with their account.

Senator Martin J. Golden said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing into law legislation that will better protect New Yorkers from being a victim of financial fraud. We must do everything in our power to protect hardworking residents against scam artists who prey, and look to, dismantle the financial security of others for their own personal gain."

Assemblyman Alan Maisel said, "I am very pleased that Governor Cuomo has taken another step to help protect consumers against fraud by signing the bill I sponsored which holds cardholders harmless for unauthorized use of unsolicited convenience checks. Consumers should not be held responsible for the fraudulent use of these checks which are sent to them without their knowledge or permission."

The second bill (A309-A/S777-A) signed will require that offers by mail for the sale of monuments or memorials be clearly marked "SOLICITATION" in large boldface type at the top of any mailing unless the solicitation has been requested by the recipient. Following the death of a family member, individuals often receive many unsolicited offers for sale of monuments and memorials. This new law will allow families to distinguish unsolicited offers from information they have requested. Those who violate the law will be subject to civil penalties of up to $500 for a first violation and up to $1,000 for subsequent violations.

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. said, "When families lose a loved one, they often receive an enormous amount of information and solicitations. In some cases, these "offers" look like bills for services, rather than an unsolicited offer. Requiring offers for monuments and memorials to be clearly marked "solicitation" will help protect families from being taken advantage of during their time of grief."

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection, said, "I am pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed into law this legislation that will help consumers as they deal with the very difficult time that follows the loss of a loved one. When dealing with the loss of someone close, people are usually overwhelmed with the responsibilities of putting affairs in order. This legislation will help to make sure that consumers know what they are being offered and ensure that the items they buy are in fact of the quality they claim to be. The law also requires that any unsolicited offers for monuments be labeled as solicitations."

The third bill (A3598/S97) signed will ensure motorcycle owners are informed of the laws regarding unidentifiable motor vehicle parts at the time they register their motorcycles. There have been instances where motorcycles have been seized from innocent owners on the grounds that identification numbers on motorcycles or motorcycle parts have been altered, defaced or removed. This bill is intended to ensure that motorcycle owners are aware of the laws governing unidentifiable motorcycle parts at the time they register their motorcycles.

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan said, "Too often it is unsuspecting and innocent consumers who are effectually being punished in cases of consumer fraud rather that the criminals who are actually perpetrating fraud. This legislation will ensure purchasers of motorcycles are provided the information necessary to protect themselves and their purchases against dishonest dealers and the potential seizure of their motorcycles."

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, "I am very pleased that Governor Cuomo signed this bill into law. It will help spare motorcyclists the anguish of having their motorcycles seized. By informing them of the DMV process that exists to rectify Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) discrepancies when they register or renew their motorcycle registration, motorcyclists will be better informed and better able to protect their valuable possession."

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