Law in Popular Culture

'Seinfeld' episode inspired new telemarketing law in New Jersey

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The cast of Seinfeld is seen in a 1997 photo. From left: Jason Alexander, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards. Photo from Shutterstock

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill last week that that requires telemarketers to provide a callback number and to identify themselves and whom they represent within 30 seconds.

The bill was inspired by an episode of the TV show Seinfeld in which Jerry Seinfeld spars with a telemarketer, report and NBC News.

In the episode, Seinfeld tells a telemarketer who called him that he is busy, but he can call back if the telemarketer provides a home number. The telemarketer says that’s not allowed.

“Oh, I guess you don’t want people calling you at home,” Seinfeld says. “Well, now you know how I feel.”

The bill also bars telemarketing calls between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Forty-eight states, meanwhile, are trying to prevent robocalls made to phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry by filing a lawsuit against an Arizona-based company accused of facilitating the illegal calls.

The suit filed against Avid Telecom alleges violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and other state and local laws, according to a May 23 press release and a story by Ars Technica.

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