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FCC Seeks To Fend Off Unwanted 'Robocalls' With New Telemarketing Rules

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by CatfishRivers, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    http://www.usatoday.com/money/indus...012-02-14/robocall-ftc-do-not-call/53097276/1 (click for full article)

    "You should soon be getting fewer of those annoying "robocalls" at home.

    The Federal Communications Commission today is set to approve tougher rules giving consumers additional protection against unwanted autodialed or prerecorded calls to home phone lines. "We have gotten thousands of complaints," says FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "Consumers were still getting robocalls they don't want and shouldn't get."


    He expects the commission to approve new rules that will require telemarketers to get written consent before making such calls.
    Even though Congress in 2008 passed legislation making Do Not Call permanent, some telemarketers have continued to make unsolicited calls because of loopholes in the law.


    Under the new FCC rules, telemarketers must get consent before calling home phones, even if the consumer hasn't included their number on the Do Not Call registry. Current rules already prohibit such calls to cellphones without consent.


    Robocall telemarketers use predictive technology to automatically dial thousands of homes simultaneously and connect live representatives with call recipients. Often, consumers hear nothing when they pick up the phone because there's no representative available.


    Previously, companies that consumers already had done business with could robocall them, but that exemption will be removed under the new rules. Other new provisions require telemarketers to give consumers a quick way to end the call and automatically add their number to telemarketers' Do Not Call lists.


    Not covered by the new rules: robocalls from schools and other non-profit organizations and political groups, because they are considered informational. Those calls cannot be made without consent to wireless phones, however.


    The FCC is also expected to require Internet-based phone services, such as Vonage, to alert the agency when outages affect 911 service. Traditional carriers already must do so. "Almost one-third of Americans use VOIP as their only telephone service," Genachowski says. "The reason we are updating our rules is to help ensure that reliable 911 service will be available no matter what kind of phone service the person has."
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  2. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Stiffer rules sought for debt collectors (click for full article)

    "WASHINGTON — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to place debt collectors and credit bureaus under federal supervision for the first time, after an explosion in complaints about their practices.

    The bureau announced a proposed rule Thursday that would make the largest debt collection agencies and credit reporting agencies — including Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — subject to the same oversight process that banks are. It's the agency's most ambitious proposal since its creation under the controversial 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.


    "Consumer financial products and services have become more complex over the years, and they have expanded well beyond traditional banks," said Richard Cordray, the bureau's director. "This oversight would help restore confidence that the federal government is standing beside the American consumer."


    Under the proposal, about 175 debt collection agencies that each hold more than $10 million in annual collection receipts would be subject to bureau oversight. Those agencies make up only about 4 percent of all collection firms, but they account for 63 percent of annual debt collection receipts.


    Only about 30 credit reporting agencies with more than $7 million in annual receipts from reporting activities would face supervision under the proposal. These firms make up about 7 percent of the industry, but they account for nearly 94 percent of industry revenue.


    Since the Great Recession hit in 2007, federal consumer lawsuits filed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act have more than doubled and complaints about problem collectors have skyrocketed. The 144,000 complaints about debt collectors that the Federal Trade Commission fielded in 2010 were second only to identity theft as the most common consumer complaint category.


    A record 11,811 federal consumer lawsuits were filed last year under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, up from 4,372 in 2007. The lawsuits and complaints about bill collectors allege illegal contacts with consumers, overly aggressive collection agents and mistaken identities of debtors.


    Mark Schiffman, the public affairs director for ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, said the trade group would use the rule's 60-day comment period to review the bureau's oversight plan before making public comments.
    He said industry leaders wanted to see how their companies would be affected and to make sure the guidelines weren't "overly burdensome."
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  3. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    It's about time somebody did something about all the sales calls,, Sick of them...
     

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