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Cellphones Communications United States Your Rights Online

Congress May Permit Robot Calls To Cell Phones 619

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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  • Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by black soap ( 2201626 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:33PM (#37555340)

    Debt collectors and banks? They shouldn't be robocalling. Those situations are where they have a pre-existing relationship with the person being called, and aren't cold-calling anybody.

    Robocalls are the telephone equivalent of spam. Why is it I can put a "No solicitors" sign on my door, but my phone must be subject to cold-calling from telemarketers, solicitations for "charities" and political groups, and any scammer who can operate a telephone? And they want to make it easier to bother lots of people at a time by allowing robocalling?

    If anything, every telemarketing call should have to be hand-dialed, etc., no computer assistance. Think of the jobs that would be created.... Do it for the economy.

    I wonder how soon the phone companies will work out a deal to let telemarketers call the phone customers, for a fee - because we know how much they care about the customers.

  • by Dr_Ish ( 639005 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:42PM (#37555476) Homepage
    Although the idea behind the *Telephone Consumer Protection Act*, as it is currently, is reasonable, in practice, it does little good. I started to get robo-calls some time ago on my land line from 'Tax Resolution Services'. The number has been on the national do not call register for ages. J. K. Harris and Company [jkharris.com] were particularly aggressive. Although I told them to put me on their do not call list, asked for a written copy of their do not call policy and did all the right things, they did not stop. Fortunately, I documented it all. Eventually, I took them to Small Claims Court, under the right to private action provision of the *Telephone Consumer Protection Act*. I won the case, along with $1,000 damages, court costs and legal interest. That was several months ago. To date, I have not received a penny. They do not respond to e-mails, certified letters, or telephone calls. I cannot go after their assets, as they seem to rent everything and own nothing. It turns out their head of legal services is only a paralegal, not a lawyer, so I cannot even pursue her for failing to live up to the professional standards of South Carolina Bar Association. So, scumbag telemarketers already have ways of getting around the law. Making life even easier for them would thus be a very bad idea.
  • Re:Lobbyists (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:55PM (#37555680)

    Isn't it amazing that everyone knows that our government is for sale, but nobody wants to do anything about it?

    Campaign finance reform is a joke, since it has to be passed by the people who benefit from its absence.

    Open source governance [wikipedia.org] is a lot harder to make happen, but considering that there are ZERO other options, what exactly do we have to lose? Our plutocracy? Our enslavement to the rich and powerful?

  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:12PM (#37555912)

    If it's any consolation, cell phones work the same way in China; call recipient is docked minutes as well as the caller.

  • Re:You have to pay? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:40PM (#37556286) Journal

    Google Voice makes it easy to change carriers, and with a smartphone, incoming and outgoing text messages are fre, if you use their app. Also, they filter out junk calls.

    My only worry is, what happens if Google Voice goes away?

  • Re:Simple. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Technician ( 215283 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:52PM (#37556434)

    I had a collection agency robocall my landline for about 3 months calling at all hours about 3 times a day. It left a message to call an 800 number and ask for Bob. I ignored it as a sales call. If I picked up the phone, there was NEVER a person on the line. It was a robo call to deliver a message.

    A Google search showed the 800 number was a collection agency. Bob was fictitious to cue the agency it was a delinquent caller. This collection agency was hammering an old number that became my new landline.

    I figured they pay the bill for calls to 800 numbers so I recorded a message and started calling the 800 number with the message "Your autodialer is running amook on my landline. Please call me to let me know when you have this fixed. Ask for Bob" When I got a call, I called back late at night (I work nights) and left them the message. I finally got a real person to call. A short exchange let them know the number was a new phone. I also gave them a real hard time as there was no way for anyone to stop the robo calls if they did not speak English.

    If it happens again, I have a Russian co worker I'll have call them and only speak Russian except for "Ask for Bob"

    Robo dialing is one thing. Robo calls with nobody on the line should be 100% outlawed, even for collections.

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