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Another Anti-Robocall Bill Introduced in Congress

Members of Congress are tripping over themselves to introduce legislation aimed at ending the problem of illegal robocalls. The latest bill was introduced yesterday by Rep. Jeff Van Drew [D-N.J.], called the Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2019.

Rep. Van Drew’s bill joins at least two others — the HANGUP Act and the TRACED Act — that attempt to either increase the enforcement and investigatory powers of regulators or giving carriers the power to keep robocalls from being connected to individuals.

While lacking the panache of the other two bills, Rep. Van Drew’s measure — as you can tell from the name — goes the route of broadening the powers afforded to the Federal Communications Commission to go after illegal robo callers.

According to a release from Rep. Van Drew’s office, the bill would:

• Authorize the FCC to pursue cases against robocall rule violations without first issuing a citation;
• Increase the statute of limitations for the FCC to pursue spoofing violations from two years to three years; and
• Increase the statute of limitations for the FCC to pursue robocall violations from one year to three years.

“Robocall scams not only inconvenience us at the dinner table, but they prey on the vulnerable, including seniors, and it’s despicable,” Rep. Van Drew said in a statement. “My bill will help protect consumers by ensuring that robocallers and scammers are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Rep. Van Drew’s statement leads me to ask a question: Why is it that lawmakers and regulators only think robocalls happen during dinnertime? Don’t they know that we’re getting robocalls 24/7? Just yesterday, I got robocalled at 9:45am, 11:49am, 12:50pm, and 3:11pm? None of those came during dinnertime, FYI.

For the credit and collection industry, the issue with robocalls is that technology is allowing legitimate calls — including those from collectors — to be blocked or labeled as spam by consumers. That has led to a dramatic decrease in right-party contacts.

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