While some states have taken steps to strengthen their telemarketing laws, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed Senate Bill 1382 into law on January 29, 2015, easing the State’s restrictions on telemarketing sales calls.
Prior to the amendment, all telemarketing sales calls to mobile devices were prohibited unless the call was from a commercial mobile service company to its customers and related to the company’s mobile services. Specifically, the statute provided that:
A telemarketer shall not make or cause to be made any telemarketing sales call to a commercial mobile service device of any customer, except that a telemarketer that is a commercial mobile services company may call its customer using its commercial mobile services if its customer will not incur telecommunication charges or a usage allocation deduction as a result of the call and the call is directly related to the commercial mobile services of the commercial mobile services company, unless the customer has stated to the commercial mobile services company that the customer no longer desires to receive these calls.
N.J. Rev. Stat. § 56:8-130(a).
As amended by Senate Bill 1382, the statute now provides that “[a] telemarketer shall not make or cause to be made any unsolicited telemarketing sales call to a commercial mobile service device of any customer ….” Id. (emphasis added).
“Telemarketing sales call” is defined as “a telephone call made by a telemarketer to a customer as part of a plan, program or campaign to encourage the purchase or rental of, or investment in, merchandise, except for continuing services.” Id. at § 56:8-120.
“Unsolicited telemarketing sales call” means “any telemarketing sales call other than a call made: 1) in response to an express written request of the customer called; or 2) to an existing customer, which shall include the ability to collect on accounts and follow up on contractual obligations, unless the customer has stated to the telemarketer that the customer no longer desires to receive the telemarketing sales calls of the telemarketer.” Id.
Therefore, while companies are still prohibited from making unsolicited telemarketing sales calls unless the call is from a commercial mobile service company to its customers and related to the company’s mobile services, New Jersey now permits telemarketing sales calls to mobile devices when the call is made to an existing customer or in response to the customer’s written request.