FCC Releases More Details of Proposed Autodialer Rule

The Federal Communications Commission has released more details about its proposal that would allow collectors working to collect on debts guaranteed by the federal government – such as student loans – to use autodialers to contact individuals.

Collectors would only be allowed to contact someone via an autodialer three times per month and would have to cease using the technology when asked to do so by the individual, according to the proposal. The additional details were disclosed by FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler, who wrote a number of letters to Congressmen and Senators responding to complaints about the changes, which were part of a bill passed late last year.

Wheeler also disclosed that the FCC worked “closely” with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in drafting the proposed rule, which is supposed to go into effect by Aug. 2, 2016.

Autodialer calls will only be made after an individual has become delinquent on his or her debt, according to Wheeler’s letter, and calls can only be made the debtor directly, not to friends or family members.

The concessions are meant to appease a number of lawmakers at the state and federal level – mostly Democrats – who vociferously disapprove of the measure. The lawmakers view the use of autodialers as an invasion of consumer protection and privacy. The FCC — at least the chairman and two of the commissioners, all Democrats, has positioned itself as against the technology as well.


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