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Last week, during a hasty and unhealthy budget process, Congress gave debt collectors carte blanche to robocall the cell phones of millions of Americans. Anyone with a student loan, mortgage, and [whatever else] is now fair game.
But, wait, aren’t robocalls illegal? They used to be. For a quarter-century, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), banned autodialing and pre-recorded calls to mobile phones without your consent. Last week’s decision runs roughshod over the most basic premise of this law: whether at home or on their mobile phones, consumers should not be subject to intrusive and unsolicited calls.
Today, Ron, along with Senators Markey, McCaskill, Menendez, Blumenthal, Leahy, Warren, Sanders, Franken, Klobuchar and Baldwin introduced the HANGUP (Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls) Act. The bill strikes down the section of the budget agreement (signed into law on Monday) that gave debt collectors permission to unleash robocalls and texts on Americans.
“Congress delivered an early present to debt collectors: a new way to harass people through robocalls,” Wyden said. “The Hangup Act will protect Americans from an onslaught of aggressive phone calls and costly cellphone charges.”
It is unfair to consumers to return to the days of no-holds-barred robocalling. The Hangup Act can reinstate Americans’ right to say NO to unwanted robocalls.
Ron also urged the Senate and pledged to work to return to a regular budget process so that consumers’ rights aren’t trampled on as Congress lurches from crisis to crisis.