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New Jersey Passes New Telemarketing Law Inspired By Seinfeld

The exterior of Tom's Restaurant in Manhattan, as seen in the tv show Seinfeld

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed new telemarketing regulations into law this month. The law, which largely relates to identification requirements, was inspired by a scene in a 1992 episode of the sitcom Seinfeld.

The most notable provision of the law is a requirement that telemarketers identify themselves by name as well as providing the name and phone number of the person on whose behalf they are calling. Callers must also state the purpose of the call. This identifying information must be provided within the first 30 seconds of the call.

Governor Murphy specifically referenced the Seinfeld scene in which protagonist Jerry Seinfeld has the following exchange with a telemarketer:

Telemarketer: Hi, would you be interested in switching over to TMI long distance service?
Jerry: Oh, gee, I can't talk right now. Why don't you give me your home number and I'll call you later?
Telemarketer: Uh, well I'm sorry, we're not allowed to do that.
Jerry: Oh, I guess you don't want people calling you at home.
Telemarketer: No.
Jerry: Well, now you know how I feel.

The law also requires both the telemarketers and the companies on whose behalf the calls are made to “disclose the mailing address… on any website owned by the telemarketer and on any subsequent written communication to a customer.” It also restricts unsolicited telemarketing sales calls to the hours from 8:00am to 9:00pm.