FCC Seeks Comment on Proposed Regulations for Government Debt Collection Calls


When Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (“Act”), it tucked an amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) into the Act. The amendment permits autodialed, artificial-voice, or prerecorded-voice calls to wireless phones and residential lines if the calls are “made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.” The Act also directs the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission” or “FCC”) to create regulations implementing the amendment and allows the Commission to “restrict or limit the number and duration of calls made to a telephone number assigned to a cellular telephone service to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.”

On Friday, May 6, the Commission took the first step in creating regulations governing debt collection calls for debts owed to the United States when it released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking comment on the Commission’s proposed rules. The NPRM seeks comment on, among other things, what calls constitute a call to collect a debt, the need for limits on the number and duration of covered calls made to wireless numbers, and whether such limits should apply to covered calls made to residential numbers, which do not require the prior express consent of the called party under the FCC’s rules. 

The deadline for submitting comments to the NPRM is June 6, 2016, and the deadline for submitting reply comments is June 21, 2016.

If you would like to submit comments on the NPRM or are interested in a detailed summary of the NPRM, please contact Seth Williams at slw@commlawgroup.com, Nate Hardy at njh@commlawgroup.com, or Jane Wagner at jlw@commlawgroup.com.

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