Requires disclosures in advertisements that include a description that indicates the person has expertise or training in issues specifically related to seniors in their field that set forth the basis or source of such senior specific designation.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to requiring disclosures in advertisements using a senior specific designation
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To decrease the number of situations in which seniors are deceived by professionals using senior-specific designations
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Creates a new section 350-b-1 of the general business law to require that anyone using a senior-specific designation must disclose the source of that designation in advertisements and to prospective clients; and a violation of this section would be punishable by a civil penalty pursuant to section 350-d of the general business law. An application could also be made to a court for an injunction.
JUSTIFICATION: In an effort to bring in clients who are seniors, professionals often pursue licensure, registration, or some sort of independent designation that requires specialized training in senior issues. Seniors often prefer to work with someone who has training in their specific issues. However, it is important to make sure seniors are aware of the source of these designations so they can be sure they are legitimate. A professional could claim to have some sort of senior-specific designation that does not actually exist in an attempt to lure in vulnerable seniors for some kind of scam. Disclosures ensure that seniors are armed with knowledge to try to avoid these kinds of dishonest individuals and scam artists.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7254 IN SENATE May 8, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to requiring disclosures in advertisements using a senior specific designation THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 350-b-1 to read as follows: S 350-B-1. DISCLOSURES REQUIRED IN ADVERTISEMENTS USING A SENIOR SPECIFIC DESIGNATION. 1. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "SENIOR SPECIFIC DESIGNATION" SHALL MEAN A TITLE, PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATION, CREDENTIAL, CERTIFICATION, OR PROFESSIONAL DESCRIPTION THAT INDICATES THE PERSON HAS EXPERTISE OR TRAINING IN ISSUES SPECIFICALLY RELATED TO SENIORS IN THEIR FIELD. 2. (A) ANY PERSON OR BUSINESS WHO USES A SENIOR SPECIFIC DESIGNATION IN MAKING REPRESENTATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF INDUCING, OR WHICH ARE LIKELY TO INDUCE, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, THE PURCHASE OF THE INDIVID- UAL'S SERVICES SHALL CLEARLY AND PROMINENTLY DISCLOSE, IN ANY ADVERTISE- MENT AND IN WRITING TO ANY PROSPECTIVE CLIENT AT THE INITIAL MEETING OR CONSULTATION WITH SUCH PROSPECTIVE CLIENT, THE BASIS OR SOURCE OF SUCH SENIOR SPECIFIC DESIGNATION, INCLUDING WHETHER THE SENIOR SPECIFIC DESIGNATION WAS CREATED BY THE PERSON OR BUSINESS USING IT. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "CLEARLY AND PROMINENTLY" MEANS: (1) IN WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS, INCLUDING PRINT AND THOSE MADE THROUGH AN ELECTRONIC MEDIUM, THE MESSAGE SHALL BE IN A TYPE SIZE SUFFICIENTLY NOTICEABLE FOR AN ORDINARY CONSUMER TO READ AND COMPREHEND IT, IN TYPE THAT CONTRASTS WITH THE BACKGROUND AGAINST WHICH IT APPEARS; AND (2) IN ORAL COMMUNICATIONS, THE MESSAGE SHALL BE DELIVERED IN A VOLUME SUFFICIENT FOR AN ORDINARY CONSUMER TO HEAR IT AND COMPREHEND IT. SUCH MESSAGE SHALL BE IN UNDERSTANDABLE LANGUAGE AND SYNTAX REGARDLESS OF HOW THE MESSAGE IS DISSEMINATED. (B) IF ANY COMMUNICATION IS PRESENTED SOLELY THROUGH ORAL, WRITTEN, OR VISUAL MEANS, THE MESSAGE DISSEMINATED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE MADE THROUGH THE SAME MEANS.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01916-04-4 S. 7254 2
(C) NO PERSON OR BUSINESS SHALL MAKE ANY COMMUNICATION THAT MITIGATES ANY MESSAGE DISSEMINATED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION OR THAT IS CONTRARY TO OR INCONSISTENT WITH SUCH MESSAGE. THE REQUIRE- MENTS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SUPPLEMENT, AND SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO LIMIT, THE OBLIGATIONS OF ANY PROFESSIONAL REGISTERED OR LICENSED PURSU- ANT TO ANY OTHER SECTION OF LAW AND REGULATIONS THEREUNDER, NOR SHALL THEY BE CONSTRUED TO AUTHORIZE THE PRACTICE OF ANY LICENSED PROFESSION NOR THE OFFER OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BY ANY UNLICENSED PERSON. 3. IN ADDITION TO ANY CIVIL PENALTY AVAILABLE UNDER SECTION THREE HUNDRED FIFTY-D OF THIS ARTICLE, WHENEVER THERE SHALL BE A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION, AN APPLICATION MAY BE MADE TO A COURT OR JUSTICE HAVING JURISDICTION TO ISSUE AN INJUNCTION, UPON NOTICE TO THE DEFENDANT OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE DAYS, TO ENJOIN AND RESTRAIN SUCH VIOLATION. IF IT SHALL APPEAR TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE COURT OR JUSTICE THAT THE DEFENDANT IS ASSUMING, ADOPTING OR USING SUCH SENIOR SPECIFIC DESIGNATION IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION AN INJUNCTION MAY BE ISSUED BY SAID COURT OR JUSTICE ENJOINING AND RESTRAINING SUCH VIOLATION WITHOUT REQUIRING PROOF THAT ANY PERSON HAS IN FACT BEEN DECEIVED OR MISLED THEREBY. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.