Over the past few years, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restrictions on calls to cell phones have made headlines and been a top compliance priority for businesses that conduct outbound calling campaigns. This is not surprising given: (1) the recent changes to the TCPA’s rules; (2) the increasing volume of class action TCPA lawsuits; and (3) statutory penalties of up to $1,500 per call in private lawsuits.
To comply with the TCPA, many businesses have transitioned to manual dialing platforms that fall outside the scope of the TCPA’s cell phone restrictions. What often gets overlooked, however, is that several states have laws that restrict telemarketing calls to cell phones regardless of what type of equipment is used to make the call.
Perhaps the most onerous such law was New Jersey’s law, which prohibited all telemarketing sales calls to cell phones. The law did not even exempt calls made with the consumer’s consent. Yesterday, however, Governor Christie signed a bill into law, which significantly loosens the state’s restrictions on calls to cell phones. Effective immediately, New Jersey’s law only prohibits “unsolicited telemarketing sales calls” to cell phones. Notably, calls made with the recipient’s consent and calls made to existing customers are not considered unsolicited calls.