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Proposed House bill would allow robocalls to cell phones

Consumer Reports News: November 04, 2011 12:08 PM

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing today about the proposed Mobile Information Call Act of 2011 (H.R. 3035), which would let businesses auto-dial consumer cell phones.

The bill, which was introduced in the House of Representatives last week, would update the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and would open the door to so-called robo-callers by letting businesses contact your cell phone for "informational purposes."

Under Federal Trade Commission rules, companies are generally prevented from using automatic-dialing systems to reach people on their cell phones.  Some companies contend that this prevents them from delivering important information quickly, such as fraud alerts or flight cancellations, especially when more people are forgoing a landline for cell phones only.

Several banking associations wrote a letter in support of the bill. Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, opposes the bill and sent a letter to members of the panel stating that although cell phone customers might benefit from automatic calls about certain types of information, such as safety recalls, this particular bill is too broad and could leave people open to a deluge of telemarketing calls on their cell phones.

In light of the growing number of unsolicited telephone marketing calls to consumers' homes and the increasing use of prerecorded messages and automatic telephone dialing systems, our organization has been particularly supportive of the protections put in place by the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) and the Do-Not-Call Registry.

HEARING H.R. 3035, The Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 [House Energy and Commerce Committee]
Bill Introduced To Let Robots Call Your Cellphone [Consumerist]

Maggie Shader

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