On the day that a House subcommittee held a hearing discussing seven different pieces of proposed robocall-related legislation, Sen. Dick Durbin [D-Ill.] introduced a bill in the Senate that would give consumers a private right of action to petition for statutory damages when receiving unconsented-to calls.
Called the Protecting American Consumers from Robocalls Act, Senate Bill 1241 would allow consumers — whether receiving calls on a landline or a cell phone — the opportunity to sue for damages for any telemarketing call they receive without first providing expressed consent, immediately after the first violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
A quintet of other Senate Democrats have signed on to co-sponsor the bill, a copy of which can be found here.
“Like millions of Americans, I’ve experienced the nuisance of constant robocalls. This is out of control and it’s up to Congress to do something about it,” Sen. Durbin said, in a statement. “Consumers don’t deserve to be preyed upon by scammers that are just trying to undermine someone’s personal privacy and financial information. It’s time to put an end to this.”
A number of bills have also been introduced in the Senate this session aimed at preventing robocalls. The one that appears to have the most momentum is the TRACED Act, which would stiffen the fines allowed to be levied against perpetrators of illegal robocalls, give the Federal Communications Commission more time to investigate and take enforcement actions, require carriers to adopt call authentication technology, and direct the FCC to issue a rule protecting individuals from receiving unwanted calls or text messages.