Keep up with the latest developments and legal issues in the telecommunications and emerging technology sectors, with exclusive access to a comprehensive collection of telecommunications law news,...
By Lydia Beyoud
July 15 — Robocalls to collect federally-backed student loan or mortgage debt would be exempt from penalties under federal consumer protection law under a final rule circulated by the Federal Communications Commission, the agency confirmed July 15.
The rule will have a major impact on collections companies such as Navient Inc. and Nelnet Inc., two of the largest collections companies servicing student loans on behalf of the federal government. They have been pushing the FCC to expand the exemption, against opposition from the Federal Trade Commission and consumer groups.
The agency circulated the final rule late July 14. It will have to move quickly to vote on the rule by an Aug. 2 statutory deadline.
Details of the final draft text weren't immediately available. However, an FCC spokesman told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail that the proposal “includes the right of consumers to stop unwanted calls, limits on who can be called, and limits to the number of caller per month.”
The FCC has previously indicated it would try to strike a balance between consumer protection and a congressional directive slipped into the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 to allow third-party companies servicing debt issued by the government to avoid penalties under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 if they use an automated device to call or text individuals about their loans.
Congress was also active on the subject July 15. The chairman and a senior Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee sent a letter to CTIA, the largest U.S. wireless trade association, asking how wireless carriers such as Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US Inc. can prevent unwanted robocalls and texts.
“Wireless carriers are positioned to play an important role in further curtailing disruptive calls” after the Federal Communications Commission gave them authority in 2015 to offer robocall- and robotext-blocking technologies, Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said.
Some of the unwanted robocalls are the result of consumers changing their phone numbers, the lawmakers said.
Thune and Markey asked CTIA to tell them whether wireless companies could compile and maintain a reassigned numbers database.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at email@example.com
Text of the letter is at http://src.bna.com/gOD.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)