A Seinfeld-inspired bill that requires telemarketers to identify themselves and who they represent within the first 30 seconds of a phone call has been signed into law by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Bill S921 otherwise known as the “Seinfeld Bill” was introduced in the New Jersey Senate in January by State Senator Jon Bramnick and signed by the governor on Monday.
The purpose of the bill, which passed with no objections, is to make telemarketing calls more transparent to people and hopefully reduce scams.
“When you answer a telemarketer’s call, you should know right up front who they are and who they work from,” Mr Bramnick said in a statement provided on his website.
It has taken legislators decades to introduce the law, with S921’s nickname coming from a joke made in a 1994 episode of Seinfeld.
In episode three of the fourth season, entitled The Pitch, Jerry Seinfeld (played by comedian Jerry Seinfeld) answers the phone and a telemarketer asks, “Hi, would you be interested in switching over to TMI long-distance service?”
Mr Seinfeld replies, “Oh, gee, I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you later?”
The telemarketer says, “Uh- well, I’m sorry we’re not allowed to do that.”
Mr Seinfeld replies, “Oh I guess you don’t want people calling you at home.”
The telemarketer answers, “No” to which Mr Seinfeld says, “Well, now you know how I feel.”
Mr Seinfeld then hangs up the phone.
Oh, gee, I can’t talk right now 🤔 ⚠️
Today, @GovMurphy signed @JonBramnick’s “Seinfeld Bill” into law, requiring telemarketers to share their name, phone number, and address within the first 30 seconds of a telemarketing call. pic.twitter.com/wW4kh9gFD7
— New Jersey (@NJGov) May 15, 2023
The bill states a telemarketer making a sales call shall identify their name as well as the name and telephone number of the person on whose behalf the call is being made and the purpose of the call within the first 30 seconds.
It will also require telemarketers to display their mailing address on any website they own and operate as well as the address of any business they represent.
Violation of the new law would result in penalties in accordance with the Consumer Fraud Act.
“If they’re on the up and up, telemarketing firms should have no issue with this bill. It’s the people who want to scam you who are afraid to identify themselves in a way that’s verifiable by the customer,” Mr Bramnick added.