FTC Raises Concerns about Unsolicited Debt Collection Robocalls

Maureen Mahoney
Public Policy Fellow

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

We think that the FCC should issue strong rules to protect consumers from debt collection robocalls – and the FTC agrees with us!

Last week, the FTC provided an important endorsement of limits on unsolicited robocalls to cell phones. As we noted earlier this week, the FCC is in the process of implementing rules for a new robocall loophole that Congress created. This loophole allows debt collectors to robocall consumers without their prior consent to collect money owed to the federal government. This could affect consumers with federal student loan debt, mortgage debt, and tax debt – and possibly even their family and acquaintances.

The FTC, noting that complaints about unwanted robocalls have gone through the roof, encouraged the FCC to exercise “caution with any expansion of permissible robocalling.” They suggested that the FCC limit allowable unsolicited robocalls only for debt collection purposes, to those who actually owe the debt, and who are in default. They also urged the FCC to require callers to provide consumers with an easy opt-out.

The FTC has also taken other important steps this week to protect consumers. They shut down an alleged “Card Services” robocall scam operating out of Florida, and they also banned a debt collector – who, according to the FTC, had threatened consumers in emails, calls, and texts – from doing business.

The FCC is now reading over the thousands of comments that were submitted to them by consumers like you as they develop the final rules, expected later this summer. Did you miss the deadline for comment, but still want to work to stop these calls? Congress can also take action to remove the debt collection robocall loophole. Click here to send a message to your representatives in Congress and say NO to robocalls!

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