TRENTON, N.J. -- They have an uncanny knack of knowing when to call, like when you're in the middle of whipping up a delicate white sauce or while a messy diaper needs changing.
Telemarketers are the scourge of many a family. Just as parents and kids are settling down to dinner, the home security company calls. Or the insurance saleswoman. Or the guy hawking aluminum siding.
"I hate telemarketers," said Meredith Murphy, of East Windsor. "My usual response to them is, 'Give me your number so I can call you at home when you want private time for yourself.' They pause like I'm a crazy lady."
The way it is now, aggrieved residents can demand to be removed from a company's call list -- but that only works one company at a time. Or customers can ask to be included on industrywide no-call lists, but that only wards off telemarketers who belong to the professional trade groups compiling the lists.
With the New Year, Connecticut and Idaho have legalized such "call-free" lists and begun fining companies that ignore them. Some 18 other states have similar laws.
Now one New Jersey lawmaker wants to curb the industry even further. Under legislation proposed by Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein, all telemarketers would have to abide by a mandatory no-call list, or else face $2,000 fines for each unauthorized call.
"Before I got elected, I made a little list of what I wanted to accomplish based on my personal experience, and this was on there. I personally found it very annoying," Greenstein said.
"Once I floated the idea, I got an enthusiastic response," she said.
Most New Jersey residents who were randomly telephoned at home during the dinner hour -- at least those who did not immediately hang up on a reporter -- agree with Greenstein.
"It's a pain," said Robert Parks, of Maurice River Township.
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