New Jersey clamps down on ad texting

(Tizkes/Bigstock)

(Tizkes/Bigstock)

A law taking effect in New Jersey Tuesday bans companies from sending unsolicited text message ads to cell phones.

The law is something Assemblyman Paul Moriarty wanted after he started getting unwanted text ads.

“I started thinking about what is the potential for abuse where we are inundated with these text messages. Some people have plans where they use data or they actually pay for these,” he said. “No one should be charged for data for something that they didn’t ask for.”

Moriarty, D-Gloucester,  said those unsolicited ads aren’t a big problem now, but he believes the law will stop them before it gets out of control.

“When someone sends you a text message, it comes from an actual phone, so there is a number and the attorney general’s office can investigate that and find out who’s doing this,” he said. “So I don’t think it will necessarily be easy to police but it certainly is policeable.”

The law will prevent those ads from using up time on phone user’s data plans that could result in additional charges.

Violators would be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for additional violations.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.