Two Senators and two members of the House of Representatives have sent a letter to Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, urging the agency to no longer exempt companies collecting debts owed to or guaranteed by the federal government from complying with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Sen. Edward Markey [D-Mass.], one of the letter’s authors, has been out front of the robocalling issue for some time. He just sponsored and introduced a bill in the Senate that would update the definition of an automated telephone dialing system with the intention of cutting down the number of “robocalls” received by consumers.
Along with Sen. Markey, the letter to the FCC was written by Sen. Mike Lee [R-Utah], and Rep. Anna Eshoo [D-Calif.] and Rep. Frank LoBiondo [R-N.J.].
The exemption from the TCPA for collectors attempting to recover debts owed to or guaranteed by the government was included in the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act. The FCC was directed to implement guidelines related to the collection of student loans, government-backed mortgages, unpaid income taxes, and more. The FCC has been seeking comments and guidance about whether it should rescind the guidance and the exemption.
“…some debt collectors are already making robocalls and robotexts without consumers’ consent,” the lawmakers wrote. “As a result, it appears that many borrowers and their relatives may be receiving multiple robocalls a day without providing consent or having the ability to stop invasive communications.”