Gov. Phil Murphy has signed S921/A1545, also known as the “Seinfeld Bill,” which requires telemarketers to provide the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the person on whose behalf the call is made within 30 seconds of a call. In an effort to crack down on telemarketers, the bill takes inspiration from a scene in the hit NBC TV sitcom, Seinfeld.
“The famous Seinfeld scene where Jerry is irritated that telemarketers can call at any time, under any pretense, and without any kind of guidelines or consequences, makes light of a situation many New Jerseyans face every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” said Governor Murphy. “I am proud to sign the ‘Seinfeld Bill’ and to establish much-needed transparency in telemarketing.”
Primary sponsors of S921/A1545 include Senators Jon Bramnick and Nellie Pou and Assemblymembers Paul Moriarty, Daniel Benson, and Clinton Calabrese.
“When you answer a telemarketer’s call, you should know right up front who they are and who they work for,” said Senator Bramnick. “If they’re on the up and up, telemarketing firms should have no issue with this bill.”
“There’s an overwhelming number of scams targeting seniors by phone,” said Assemblyman Moriarty. “This new law will clearly alert seniors that a telemarketer is seeking to sell them something and the law will provide them with a level of protection. It’s important to do what we can to protect our seniors from falling victim to scams. This may also help cut down on the overwhelming number of calls seniors receive at home.”
The legislation states that a telemarketer making a telemarketing sales call must, within the first 30 seconds of the call, accurately identify the telemarketer’s name, the name and telephone number of the person on whose behalf the call is being made, and the purpose of the call. A violation of the bill’s provisions is to constitute a disorderly persons offense, in addition to other penalties as already prescribed by current law. A telemarketer will also be required to disclose the mailing address of the telemarketer, and any company on whose behalf the company is telemarketing, on any website owned or operated by the telemarketer, and on any subsequent written communication to a customer.
The bill also requires that a telemarketer cannot make any unsolicited telemarketing sales call to any customer between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., local time, at the customer’s location.
The prohibition on unsolicited sales calls and the requirement to disclose certain telemarketer information required in this bill do not apply to telemarketing sales calls when a customer contacts the telemarketer via phone call or website and affirmatively requests a follow-up telemarketing sales call or other contact from the telemarketer.
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