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In letter to Congress FCC reveals proposal to exempt government from placing robocalls
On March 9, 2016, the FCC released a series of letters to members of Congress dated February 25, 2016, providing more details of proposed limits to the TCPA following last year’s bipartisan budget deal.

Section 301 of last year’s budget deal included a provision that exempted the federal government from TCPA provisions that prevent businesses from using autodialers and/or artificial prerecorded messages to contact a person’s cellphone, as long as the government’s calls are made solely for the purposes of collecting government-owed debt—a provision opponents argued was directed at people with student loan debt.

According to his letter to lawmakers, Chairman Tom Wheeler believes “the draft [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”)] includes clear, pro-consumer restrictions on the type and number of calls a federal creditor may place to recover a delinquent debt, even when those calls go unanswered.”

Specifically, under the NPRM, a call made from an autodialer can only be placed to the person who holds the debt, not a friend or family member. Moreover, it limits the government to three calls per person per month. The NPRM also prevents the government from making calls that remind people they are close to becoming late in their payments and requires the government to inform the debtor of their right to have the calls stopped.
Thus, according to Chairman Wheeler, the NPRM is being designed to help prevent harassment by government debt collectors making calls using and autodialer and/or artificial prerecorded voice message in accordance with last year’s bipartisan budget deal. The FCC has until August 2, 2016, to implement its proposals.


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