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Articles

FCC Seeks Comments Regarding Outbound Debt Collection Calls

March 6, 2009

Articles

FCC Seeks Comments Regarding Outbound Debt Collection Calls

March 6, 2009

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has requested comments on a petition for an expedited clarification and declaratory ruling that concerns the placement of debt collection calls using an automatic dialing or pre-recorded message device.

Specifically, the petitioner asks the FCC to clarify whether a creditor may place an autodialed or pre-recorded message call to a wireless telephone number that was associated with a landline service at the time the number was provided to the creditor by the customer, but which was later transferred, or “ported,” to a wireless service.  The petitioner would like the FCC to answer in the negative and to hold that these types of calls violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which imposes stricter requirements on autodialed calls placed to wireless telephone numbers.

If the FCC ruled in this manner, companies (or their debt collection vendors) would be required to either identify and remove all telephone numbers from their calling lists that were ported from landline to wireless services after the number was provided to the creditor, or to not make debt collection calls using an autodialer or pre-recorded message.  Either avenue could significantly increase the cost of collecting on outstanding debt.

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