Take Action Now! Pass the HANG UP Act
Public Policy Fellow
Early Friday morning, the Senate voted to approve the federal budget bill, which includes a provision that weakens the important laws protecting robocalls from cell phones. But help is on the way from Senators who are working to reverse that provision.
As we noted earlier this week, slipped into the federal budget bill – which is expected to be signed into law by President Obama shortly – is a provision that allows debt collectors to robocall anyone with debt backed by the federal government. This includes people with education debt, homeowners, and taxpayers, as well as their relatives, references, and those with a phone numbers re-assigned from one of these consumers.
But a few quick-thinking Senators are taking action to stop the measure. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) plans to introduce a bill that would remove the robocall provision from the federal budget. We’re encouraging you to put pressure on your Senators to co-sponsor the bill.
It’s crucial that the Senate quickly passes this measure. Otherwise, millions of consumers will be hassled by these soon-to-be-legal robocalls. Even those of you who don’t hold federally-backed debt could be affected. We receive plenty of stories from consumers who often hear from debt collectors trying to track down someone else. Robert from Haverford, PA tells us: “I am sometimes mistaken for another individual who has problems with a debt collector. That means I must deal with debt collectors at my home telephone. Although I did nothing wrong, it is an emotionally draining experience at best. At worst, it is demeaning and insulting.”
Robocalls to cell phones are particularly offensive because they can rob consumers of precious minutes from their plans. On our Facebook page, consumer Mindy wrote: “ I can’t afford robocalls to eat up my cell phone minutes.” Unwanted robocalls not only waste consumers’ time – they waste their money as well.
Finally, the Congressional Budget Office projects that the new provision won’t recoup any real money for the federal government. And the last thing consumers struggling with debt need is harassing robocalls. In particular, consumers deserve real education debt reform to address rampant loan servicing abuses.
We need your help. Please use our simple form to send a personal message to your representatives in the Senate to co-sponsor the HANG UP Act!