Telemarketing Software Featured Article

NJ Signs Law Loosening Telemarketing Restrictions to Cell Phones

February 27, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

While all companies are responsible for following applicable federal law when it comes to telemarketing, any companies that engage in telephone selling across state lines must also comply with the rules of each state. In some cases – as with New Jersey – these state rules may be considerably more rigid than federal law. While federal law allows telemarketers to call cell phones with the subscriber’s written permission, New Jersey state law, until recently, prohibited this practice, which cost businesses operating in New Jersey considerable opportunities. (Ironically, the only companies allowed to call mobile phones were mobile services providers.)

Recently, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie signed into law state Senate bill 1382, which loosens the state’s restrictions on telemarketing to cell phones. The law continues to prohibit unsolicited telemarketing calls to cell phones, but allows marketers to make calls in response to the express written request of the consumer called or to an existing customer. SB 1382 took effect as soon as it was signed by Governor Christie.

“New Jersey’s amended Do Not Call law is welcome news to telemarketers as they no longer need to take such a strict, prophylactic approach to telemarketing in the state and scrub out from their calling campaigns all New Jersey cell phone numbers,” wrote Daniel S. Blynn, a member of Venable LLP’s national Advertising and Marketing Practice, in a recent blog post. “Telemarketing calls now may be placed to New Jersey consumers who have consented to the receipt of such calls or who are ‘existing customers’ of the seller (i.e., persons who either are obligated to make payments to the seller or who have entered into a written contract with the seller).”

While the prohibitions against outbound calling to cell phones may not have caused a great deal of lost opportunity just a decade ago, in 2015, about 90 percent of Americans carry mobile phones, and more than half of Americans identify their cell phone as their primary telephone number.

New Jersey mobile customers do have an opt-out route under the law. According to Blynn, the law permits the placement of collection calls and calls to follow up on customer’s 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.”

Companies engaging in outbound sales calling in New Jersey must continue to abide by federal telemarketing law as governed by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA.