What’s your boss’s number? NJ bill targets telemarketer disclosures
You may be unaware that telemarketers are already required to share certain pieces of information with New Jersey residents within the first 30 seconds of the unwanted call.
Now lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation that would force telemarketers to divulge even more information before a conversation can begin.
Under bipartisan legislation approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, telemarketers would not only have to reveal their name and the purpose of the call at the top, but also the name and telephone number of the person they are representing.
"My legislation requires more transparency from telemarketers and punishes those who lie and misrepresent information on sales calls," said Sen. Jon Bramnick, R-Union.
The bill is also sponsored by Democratic Sen. Nellie Pou.
Failure to follow the bill would result in a disorderly person's offense under the state's Consumer Fraud Act.
In addition, telemarketers would be required to display their mailing address on any website that they own and operate, as well as with any written communication to a New Jersey resident.
Responding to the legislation, Beverly Brown Ruggia, financial justice program director for New Jersey Citizen Action, said that any move that aims to protect consumers is important. But enforcement may be difficult.
"I wonder if the bill goes far enough, in that many companies have multiple LLCs, and they may have an address that's not very significant or reachable," she said.
Under current law, telemarketers are tasked with sharing their name and the purpose of the call within 30 seconds. The bill adds "name and telephone number of the person on whose behalf the call is being made" to the requirements.
Telemarketers are also prohibited from making calls to residents who've placed their number on the national "Do Not Call" registry.
The Division of Consumer Affairs says residents can report any violations in writing or by calling 1-888-656-6225. A complaint can be filed online here.