Oct 25, 2011 Missy Rogers
HR 3035, a bill to amend several telephone communication acts, currently resides with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill, known as the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011, would amend the Communications Act of 1934 and update the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Of biggest impact in the proposed bill is legislation impacting third-party ability to contact cell phone numbers. Information on the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 in its current form is provided below. Relaxes Auto-Dialing Restrictions The act would not only allow debt collectors to contact individuals via cell phone, it would also allow them to use auto-dialing technology to gain efficiencies. Debt collectors could make more phone calls, potentially leading to more contact and a higher rate of collection success. The rate at which cell phone numbers change is higher than for land lines, and debt collectors risk lawsuits when contacting the wrong person. Some in the industry caution that agencies should remain focused on quality of information if the act goes through. Clarified Consent
Under the current verbiage of the act, providing a telephone number would equal consent for contact. This means individuals who provide their phone number at hospitals, retailers or loan offices are automatically providing consent for future contact. Consent Does not Give Free Reign to Telemarketers Telemarketing laws will not be removed by the act. Regulations regarding first contact or aggressive telemarketing techniques will remain in force. This includes rules that govern when individuals can be contacted as well as the do not call lists. Gains for Debt Collectors If the act passes, debt collection agencies and attorneys may gain the ability to streamline efforts through auto-dialing technology across all consumer phone numbers when attempting to collect on past due balances. They will also gain the ability to contact a growing number of people who opt for cell phones over land-line service when it comes to telephone communication.