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Cellphones Communications United States Your Rights Online

Congress May Permit Robot Calls To Cell Phones 619

Posted by timothy
from the your-time-is-very-important-to-us-please-hold dept.
TCPALaw writes "While many hoaxes have circulated in the past about cell phone numbers being opened up to telemarketers, it now may actually happen. A bill, HR 3035 (PDF), has been introduced in Congress, that would create numerous exceptions to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which banned autodialed and prerecorded robot calls to cell phone numbers. If passed, HR 3035 would permit a wide range of autodialed and prerecorded calls to cell phones that are currently prohibited, and would preempt practically all state laws providing similar protections. This is being applauded by debt collectors and banks (PDF) ... as if the bailouts weren't enough, now they get to make you pay for their calls to you."
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Congress May Permit Robot Calls To Cell Phones

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  • Lobbyists (Score:5, Informative)

    by tmosley (996283) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:24PM (#37555198)
    Isn't it amazing what a few thousand dollars in campaign contributions will do?
  • Nip it in the bud. (Score:5, Informative)

    by gatkinso (15975) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:33PM (#37555348)
  • by blueg3 (192743) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:35PM (#37555374)

    Prerecorded, I don't know. But if a debt collector calls you with an autodialer, you can take them to small claims court for $500, as it's illegal. If you can demonstrate that they willfully ignored the law, it's $1500.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:47PM (#37555534) Journal
    I once worked for a debt collection agency when I was a lot younger, and there were some pretty rigid rules that had to be followed about calling people with regards to debt. These rules were set up by a central governing authority that determined accepted business rules and practices (I don't recall the name of the authority off hand). Among the rules that had to be followed, I remember that collectors were *NOT* allowed to call people multiple times in one day unless they had not reached anyone the first time, or if they had been advised to call back later. Also, hours of attempted telephone contact are restricted to between the hours of 7AM and 9PM local time for the person being called. Further, if the person that a collector reaches claims to be the owner of the phone number that the collector was trying to reach, and affirms that the person the collector is trying to reach cannot be reached at that phone number, then the collector *MUST NOT* call that number again to try to reach the debtor, and other methods of contact must be utilized. Finally, C&D notices, issued in writing, must be adhered to. If the collection agency does not heed these guidelines (the aforementioned ones are just a handful... there are actually about 10 or 12 or them), then the person answering the phone can report the collection company to the authorities, and the collection agency will face a very stiff fine.
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:52PM (#37555640) Homepage Journal

    they are already exempt from the restriction

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocall [wikipedia.org]
    Robocalls are made by all political parties in the United States, including but not limited to both the Republican and Democratic parties as well as unaffiliated campaigns, 527 organizations, unions, and individual citizens. Political robocalls are exempt from the United States National Do Not Call Registry. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. However, political groups are excluded from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) definition of telemarketer, thus robocalls from or on behalf of political organizations are still permitted on the federal level.[1]

  • Re:You have to pay? (Score:5, Informative)

    by garcia (6573) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:08PM (#37555864) Homepage

    Call up your carrier and have them disable SMS. If they refuse or can't do it (they can) then call them up every time you receive a SMS and tell them to remove it from your bill.

    AT&T has effectively disabled my ability to receive SMS messages (I refuse to pay for GSM SMS when it's sent with every fucking packet anyway) and they have also set me up with free SMS anyway because one phone number which keeps sending me texts was getting through anyway (they don't know why).

    Is it an inconvenience? Sure. I had to call 8x to get them to fix it properly. But do they need to learn not to charge people for SMS when it's effectively free? Yes.

  • Re:Simple. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZorinLynx (31751) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:00PM (#37556584) Homepage

    Those collection agency calls where they call you and tell you to call a number and ask for $NAME are a scam. In my case, they'd call wanting to talk about a "check I had written". They were robocalling me for months, probably close to a year before I finally disconnected that land line (for other unrelated reasons, though it was nice to be free of those calls finally)

    Turns out this was a fraudster company that would bully people into thinking they had an unpaid debt and to pay the "debt" off. Once you started talking to them they'd even threaten you with legal action if you didn't pay; legal action that would never come, of course, since the whole thing was fraudulent.

    I'm not sure if it's still going on. Remember, real debt collectors call you directly (no robocalls), address you by name and can specify precisely what you owe and to whom.

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