Legislation Assembly Democrats Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak, Daniel Benson, Joseph Danielsen and Paul Moriarty sponsored to create an investigative section of the Division of Consumer Affairs dedicated solely to telemarketing abuses gained Assembly approval on Thursday.
The bill (A-986) would establish a telemarketing fraud investigation unit within the Division of Consumer Affairs that would investigate consumer complaints related to telemarketing practices.
“Unwanted telemarketing calls continue to interrupt the lives of New Jersey residents, regardless of whether they have deliberately expressed that they are not interested or perhaps even logged a complaint,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “It’s critical that we are proactive about cracking down on companies that casually break the law on a regular basis. The investigative unit that this bill creates will be essential as we fight back against the uncompromising telemarketers who pester New Jerseyans incessantly.”
“Many telemarketers ignore the ‘Do Not Call’ list, circumvent caller ID and harass New Jersey residents about everything from offers of credit to alarm systems,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We have a duty to be as aggressive about combating these unsolicited calls as the telemarketers are about making them. This legislation will be a big step forward as we work to protect the people of this state and send a message letting telemarketers know their behavior absolutely will not be tolerated.”
Under the bill, the unit would investigate cases including, but not limited to: calls made to individuals on the division’s “Do Not Call” list, calls received between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., calls in which telemarketers fail to identify their purpose promptly, calls in which telemarketers block their information from caller ID and calls made to personal mobile devices.
“Consumers have a right to manage the communications they receive, but without proper enforcement of our laws, this right often is violated without consequence,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “With this legislation, we can help ensure that unscrupulous telemarketers are held accountable for their actions.”
“Repeated unsolicited telemarketing calls that come at all hours constitute a form of harassment,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This is a leading consumer complaint that we ought to get a handle on in order to protect the people of New Jersey.”
New Jersey’s “Do Not Call” law imposes upon violators a fine of up to $10,000 for a first offense and up to $20,000 for each subsequent offense.
The legislation, which the Assembly approved 46-13-5, now awaits further consideration by the Senate.