Bill Introduced to Allow Robocalls to Cell PhonesSeptember 30, 2011 - by Donny Shaw
Two powerful congressmen recently introduced a bill with strong corporate backing to legalize robcalls to cellphones. The bill, which has been titled the “Mobile Information Call Act” would amend the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which restricts robocalls to any phone service “for which the called party is charged for the call,” including cell phones, by adding an exemption for calls that are “made for a commercial purpose that does not constitute a telephone solicitation.” The bill would also pre-empt all state-law restrictions on such calls.
That’s right, under this bill, businesses and governments would be allowed to robo-dial your cell phone with all sorts of pre-recorded messages, and you’d be stuck getting billed for them by the minute.
The bill has bipartisan support from original co-sponsors Rep. Lee Terry [R, NE-2] and Rep. Edolphus Towns [D, NY-10]. Terry just happens to be the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that the bill is likely going to be referred to. Towns is also a member of the subcommittee. The combinations makes it very likely that it will make it out of committee, which is where the vast majority of bills in Congress usually die.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the general idea proposed in the bill is supported by the Obama Administration as well. “President Barack Obama’s deficit-reduction plan calls for a change in the law so people can be contacted on their cellphones if they are delinquent on government debt. This could include taxes, student loans and government-backed mortgages.”
A coalition of debt collection and banking groups recently wrote to Congress to express their support for the bill. The signatories include:
American Bankers Association
Air Transport Association
Consumer Bankers Association
Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations
Edison Electric Institute
Education Finance Council
Financial Services Roundtable
Housing Policy Council
Mortgage Bankers Association
National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
National Council of Higher Education Loan Program
Student Loan Servicing Alliance
Student Loan Servicing Alliance Private Loan Committee
The Clearing House
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
In the words of TCPALaw at Slashdot: " as if the bailouts weren’t enough, now they get to make you pay for their calls to you."