ACA International is continuing its advocacy for the FCC to address several significant issues related to the application of the TCPA, specifically to help ensure legitimate non-telemarketing debt collection calls are not unfairly delayed.
In January 2014, ACA filed a petition with the intent to allow covered communications to be governed by a clear, fair and consistent regulatory framework that protects the interests originally contemplated by Congress when it enacted the TCPA, without impeding the legitimate business operations of the association’s members.
ACA’s updated comments remind the FCC to consider the value of debt collectors to government entities. In addition to recovering rightfully owed consumer debt, debt collectors have an important role in returning revenue owed to federal, state and local governments, according to the petition.
President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget recently highlighted the importance of debt collectors at the federal level, and proposed that U.S. Treasury debt collections be improved by extending the use of debt collection resources and “clarify[ing] that the use of automatic dialing system and prerecorded voice messages is allowed when contacting wireless phones in the collection of debt owed to or granted by the United States.”
Beyond the federal level, state and local governments have long made use of debt collectors and in many cases, increasingly seek out their services and expertise to recover urgently needed revenue.
ACA urges the FCC to weigh this ongoing value to the public sector as it considers the petition regarding the following requested updates and clarifications to the TCPA:
Confirm that not all predictive dialers are categorically automatic telephone dialing systems.
Clarify that “capacity” under the TCPA means present ability.
Declare that prior express consent attaches to the person who incurs a debt, not only the specific telephone number the debtor provides at the time of consent.
Create a safe harbor for autodialed “wrong number” non-telemarketing calls to wireless numbers.