Wyden Joins Senate Democrats in Effort to Protect Consumers from Unwanted Telemarketing Calls
Washington, D.C. – More than twenty years ago, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was passed to protect consumers from unsolicited and intrusive telephone calls from telemarketers while families were eating meals together or parents were helping children with homework. Today, with efforts underway by various industries to weaken TCPA and allow auto-dialers to call consumers’ mobile devices, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and 12 Senate Democrats joined in a letter calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject any attempts to weaken or undermine the law. Since 2003, more than 223 million Americans have put their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Despite having the Registry in place, the Federal Trade Commission reported 3,748,655 telemarketing complaints in 2013, of which at least 58 percent were reported as including a recorded message.
“By banning auto dialing and pre-recorded calls to land lines and mobile phones, with certain exceptions, and establishing the National Do Not Call Registry, the law created a zone of privacy that remains hugely popular with consumers to this day,” write the Senators in the letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “These protections should continue for years to come. The FCC should reject calls to weaken or undermine this effective law.”
Text of the letter to the FCC can be found below.
Signatories on the letter include Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.).
January 28, 2015
The Honorable Tom Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St. SW
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Wheeler:
When Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, the goal was clear: whether at home or on their mobile phones, consumers should not be subject to intrusive and unsolicited calls from telemarketers.
More than 20 years after the enactment of the TCPA, it is clear that consumers have benefited from the law’s protections. In 1991, Congress was primarily concerned with stopping phone calls while families were eating meals together, parents were helping children with homework, or workers were arriving home after work. By banning auto dialing and pre-recorded calls to land lines and mobile phones, with certain exceptions, and establishing the National Do Not Call Registry, the law created a zone of privacy that remains hugely popular with consumers to this day.
Unfortunately, today there are efforts to weaken this important law. In response to industry requests, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comment on proposals that would provide exemptions and questionable safe harbors for businesses that utilize auto-dialers to call consumers’ mobile devices. We have deep concerns about these proposed changes that undermine the intent and spirit of the TCPA.
American consumers have enjoyed the convenience and privacy that the protections the TCPA have provided for more than two decades. These protections should continue for years to come. The FCC should reject calls to weaken or undermine this effective law.
Thank you for your attention to this issue.
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