A Republican lawmaker is calling for a crackdown on telemarketers in New Jersey with a bill that would have them disclose required information to the recipient of their unsolicited call within the first few seconds of the call.
If the bill, named the “Seinfeld Bill,” is passed into law, telemarketers will be required to provide the name and phone number of the person they represent within 30 seconds of the sales call. Telemarketers who refuse to adhere to the rules would be hit with a disorderly person citation.
The legislation was introduced by Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-NJ), who holds the belief that “New Jerseyans should know who they’re talking to on the phone and what’s being sold to them by telemarketers.”
My law requires the telemarketers to Give You Phone Number in the first 30 seconds of the call https://t.co/anJhTtTYW0
— Jon Bramnick (@JonBramnick) February 2, 2023
“My legislation requires more transparency from telemarketers and punishes those who lie and misrepresent information on sales calls. If you’re on the up and up, you should have no problem with this bill if you’re a telemarketer,” Bramnick said in a statement.
The bill doesn’t just require telemarketers to be transparent during phone calls. Under the law, telemarketers will also be required to put their mailing address or that of the business being marketed on websites they own or operate. The same rules apply to subsequent written communication to potential customers.
The bill has made it through the New Jersey Senate Commerce Committee after all five senators voted in its favor. It, however, has very slim chances of making it through the state’s Democrat-controlled House and Senate. And if it manages to make it to Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, chances are it will get struck down at that level.
The public appears to support the Seinfield bill as it would significantly cut the number of telemarketing calls people have to endure.
Bramnick, a stand-up comedian, dubbed the bill after the 1989 sitcom “Seinfeld,” in which the character Jerry Seinfeld answers a phone call from a telemarketer and flips the script on them.
“I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number, and I’ll call you later?”
“Uh, well, sorry — we’re not allowed to do that,” the telemarketer responded, prompting Seinfeld to say, “Oh, I guess you don’t want people calling you at home?”
When the telemarketer answers “no,” Seinfeld replies, “Well, now you know how I feel,” and then hangs up the phone.