1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. General Business
  4. Article 12: Hotels and Boarding Houses


Section 206-E Telephone call charges; disclosure; violations

General Business (GBS)

1. For the purpose of this section:

  (a) The term "aggregator" means any hotel, motel, innkeeper, school or hospital which is not a telegraph or telephone corporation, as defined in the public service law, which, in the ordinary course of business, makes available for public use telephones or telephone equipment. This term shall also mean any hotel, motel, innkeeper, school or hospital which imposes any charge or receives any compensation by contract, tariff or otherwise for calls made from a telephone provided in a guest room, dormitory, hospital room or other premises under the control of such entity to an alternate operator service provider. This term shall also mean any university, provided however, that the foregoing shall in no way affect the tax-exempt or any other status of any such university under the education, tax or not-for-profit corporation laws or any other provision of law, rule or regulation relating thereto.

  (b) The term "alternate operator service provider" means a telecommunications company, other than a local exchange company, which provides operator assisted service by means of personal or automated call intervention.

  (c) The term "COCOT service provider" means any person or corporation which resells service by means of a customer owned or leased currency or credit operated telephone.

  2. Every alternate operator service provider shall arrange to have conspicuously displayed on, or in the immediate vicinity of, any telephone or telephone equipment which automatically accesses the alternate operator service provider's network and where its services are made available either to the public or transient end users, information which shall include, but not be limited to:

  (a) The identity of the alternate operator service provider that will make the charge for any calls placed from such telephone or telephone equipment;

  (b) A statement that any inter-exchange long distance carrier can be accessed by following dialing instructions or access codes provided by such other carriers;

  (c) A toll free number which the caller can use to obtain information on the rates, terms or conditions for a call;

  (d) A statement that, upon the request of the caller, the operator servicing the call will provide rate information; and

  (e) A toll free number to call for resolution of a billing or service complaint.

  3. Every COCOT service provider shall conspicuously display on, or in the immediate vicinity of, its telephones or telephone equipment made available for public use, information which shall include, but not be limited to:

  (a) The identity of the COCOT service provider, and, where applicable, the alternate operator service provider that will make the charge for any calls placed from such telephone or telephone equipment;

  (b) A statement that any inter-exchange long distance carrier can be accessed by following dialing instructions or access codes provided by such carriers;

  (c) A toll free number which the caller can use to obtain information on the rates, terms or conditions for a call;

  (d) A statement that, upon the request of the caller, the operator servicing the call will provide rate information;

  (e) A toll free number to call for resolution of a billing or service complaint; and

  (f) Where applicable, a notice that additional charges are imposed by the COCOT service provider, or the owner of the place where the COCOT is located, for the use of the telephone or telephone equipment for the placing of a call.

  4. Every aggregator shall conspicuously display on, or in the immediate vicinity of, any telephone or telephone equipment made available for public use on its premises, information, which shall include, but not be limited to:

  (a) The identity of the alternate operator service provider, if any, that will make the charge for any calls placed from such telephone or telephone equipment;

  (b) A statement that any inter-exchange long distance carrier can be accessed by following dialing instructions or access codes provided by such other carriers;

  (c) A toll free number which the caller can use to obtain information on the rates, terms or conditions for a call;

  (d) A statement that, upon the request of the caller, the operator servicing the call will provide rate information;

  (e) A toll free number to call for resolution of a billing or service complaint; and

  (f) Where applicable, a notice that additional charges are imposed by or on behalf of the aggregator for the use of the telephone or telephone equipment for the placing of a call. Where additional charges are imposed for placing local calls, such notice shall include the amount of such surcharge.

  5. No alternate operator service provider, COCOT service provider or aggregator shall restrict access or enter into any contract or agreement which restricts access to any alternate operator service provider or to a local exchange company operator or to any emergency telephone number, including where available, 911 or E911.

  6. Any person who has been injured by reason of any violation of this section may bring an action to recover actual damages or three hundred fifty dollars, whichever is greater, provided, however, that any person who has been injured by reason of any violation of subdivision five of this section may bring an action to recover actual damages or five hundred dollars whichever is greater. In either case, the court may, in its discretion, increase the award of damages to an amount not to exceed three times the actual damages up to four thousand dollars if the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this section.

  7. If any display or sign, as required by this section, is removed or defaced by vandals, the court shall consider such facts in determining any penalty or damages provided for in this section.

  8. Any action brought pursuant to this section shall be commenced within three years of the date of the original cause of such action.

  9. A court may in its discretion award reasonable attorney's fees to a prevailing plaintiff in any action brought pursuant to subdivision six of this section.