End Robocalls Activists File Over 15,000 Comments with the FCC: No Robocalls to my Cell!

Maureen Mahoney
Public Policy Fellow

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Yesterday, we passed an important milestone in the fight against unwanted robocalls. Consumers rallied together, submitting over 15,000 comments and almost 5,000 signatures to tell the FCC to stop debt collection robocalls to cell phones!

Consumers and advocates joined forces to comment on the FCC’s proposed rules to implement a new loophole in the robocall law. The 2015 budget bill included a provision exempting robocalls to collect debt owed to or backed by the federal government, which will affect the 61 million people with federally-backed student loan debt, tax debt, and mortgage debt. Depending on how the FCC rules, it could even affect their family, friends, and others. The calls are expected to begin as soon as the FCC completes rulemaking on this issue.

End Robocalls supporters filed over 15,000 separate comments to the FCC docket in time for the June 6 deadline. We also collected over 4,800 signatures in a separate petition, which we included in the FCC docket along with our comment letter. Consumers Union also signed onto extensive comments from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), which were joined by 23 local and national consumer advocacy groups. You can view the comments here.

This is an incredible turnout! We filed the comments online to save paper, since it would have required three cartons print them out. The photo above gives a sense of how many comments were generated. We’re pleased that so many consumers took advantage of their rights to influence the crucial rulemaking process.

The FCC’s proposed rules included important restrictions on these debt collection robocalls, such as limiting the calls to three per month; restricting the calls to the debt holders, not their family and friends; and requiring that callers not only inform consumers of their right to stop the calls at any time, but that they honor those requests as well. Now, the FCC will review the comments on the proposed rule, and stakeholders will have an opportunity to respond to the comments filed publicly. Congress directed the FCC to finalize the rules by August 2 – we will keep you updated on the proceedings.

Thanks again for making your voice heard. If you missed the deadline, but are interested in stopping debt collection robocalls, you can still take action. Please use our form to contact your representatives in Congress to ask them to support the HANGUP Act, the bill that closes the debt collection robocall loophole. And if you haven’t already, please join our End Robocalls campaign!

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