Federal Ban On “Robocalls” Takes Effect

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NEWARK—New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Director David Szuchman reminded residents that a federal ban on prerecorded commercial telemarketing calls – known as “robocalls” – took effect Sept. 1, under a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule.

Robocalls cannot be placed to consumers unless the telemarketer has obtained permission in writing from those who want to receive such calls, under the FTC’s rule. Robocalls are permitted from charitable organizations and political organizations, as is currently allowed under the state’s Do Not Call law.

Consumers who receive robocalls may file complaints with the FTC at http://www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

“The division continues to enforce the state’s Do Not Call law,” Director Szuchman said. “Those whose peace and quiet are shattered by telemarketing calls should file complaints with the Division.”

New Jersey’s existing Do Not Call law provides the following:

• Prohibits telemarketers from calling New Jersey residents who have placed their residential and/or mobile phone numbers on the national “Do Not Call” registry;

• Prohibits telemarketers who haven’t registered with Consumer Affairs from calling any New Jersey resident;

• Prohibits all telemarketers from calling New Jersey residents between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.;

• Bars telemarketers from intentionally blocking the customer’s use of caller identification;

• Requires telemarketers, including sellers that carry out “any plan, program or campaign” to sell merchandise to consumers in New Jersey to register annually and disclose certain information about their business operations and principals;

• Imposes stiff penalties against violators of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $20,000 for each subsequent offense;

• Covers most telemarketing sales calls regardless of where the telemarketer is calling from;

• Requires telemarketers and sellers to maintain in-house “Do Not Call” lists pertaining to “existing customers” who have said they do not want to receive sales calls from the telemarketers; and

• Prohibits telemarketers from calling New Jersey residents on their cell phones, except in very limited circumstances.

To register phones, go to http://www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.

To file a complaint about a violation of the state’s Do Not Call law, contact the Division at http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/donotcall/dnconlinefrm.htm or at 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within N.J.) or 1-973-504-6200.


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