|January 13, 2012|
Previously published on January 11, 2012
Congressman Lee Terry (R-Neb.) introduced a bill in 2011 to update the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to allow businesses to use assistive telecommunications technology, such as predictive dialers, to contact consumers on their wireless numbers for calls that do not constitute a solicitation, including payment reminders and third-party debt collection calls. Currently, assistive dialing technology can be used to contact cell phone numbers only if a consumer gives “prior express consent,” the definition of which is narrowly construed.
Last month, Rep. Terry asked that the bill, called The Mobile Informational Call Act, not be advanced, after facing backlash over its content from constituents and consumer groups opposing the bill, who cited, among other concerns, the fear that consumers would be charged cell phone minutes for receiving “robocalls.”
There is no speculation as to whether the bill will resurface, given Rep. Terry’s comment that “We’re driving a stake through its heart. Dead. Done. Buried.” Proponents of the bill note that its failure to pass will negatively impact the ability of financial institutions, lenders and creditors to recover past due accounts receivable.