Government Considers Relaxing Certain TCPA Rules When It Comes To Loans Backed By The Federal Government
In 1991, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) was passed with the overarching goal of protecting consumers from unwanted phone calls and other forms of communication. Under the TCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from using auto-dialing systems to collect a debt. Additionally, creditors are not allowed to call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., and consumers can request to be put on their “Do Not Call” list(s).
If a creditor or debt collector violates proscriptions contained in the TCPA, consumers have a right to file a legal claim against that entity and may be awarded damages in the amount of $500 to $1500 per violation.
However, Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 which includes provisions that relax these protections for debts owed to the federal government. Under the Act, phone calls and text messages are permitted by debt collectors when they are made for the sole purpose of collecting debts owed to the United States.
Generally, government-backed loans include student loans, small business loans, and few home loans. Pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act, Americans who owe money to the government may begin receiving automated or robotic calls and text messages from loan servicers who service government-backed loans.
In order to implement the Bipartisan Act, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has drafted regulations that strike a balance between consumer protection issues, on the one hand, with the government’s need to be paid-back for money lent, on the other. Based on the language of the FCC’s proposed regulations, consumers who owe money on government-backed loans can still request not to be called. In addition, proposed FCC rules aim to limit these types of debt collection calls to only those concerning defaulted debts and potential defaults. The FCC has also suggested that the number of calls made to a consumer each month be limited in number.
Though these FCC regulations are still pending and have not yet been approved, borrowers should be aware that they may (legally) start receiving automated calls concerning their government-backed loans in the near future.
If you are concerned with calls from creditors about debts that you cannot pay, you need the help of an experienced debtor rights attorney—like those at Fitzgerald Campbell—to review your case and discuss your options with you. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of debtor defense cases and we are here to help you!
Call us today for a free consultation at (866) 927-8289, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.