This month, 54 U.S. state and territorial attorneys general have joined together to bring forth a letter to Congress that shows that they are not pleased with a new bill that will replace the existing Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The current bill does not allow businesses using certain communications technologies, including auto dialers and predictive dialers, to contact consumers unless they have been given permission previously.
The newly proposed bill referred to as H.R. 3035, also known as the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 will allow dialers to contact consumers for solely informational calls on wireless phones; further explain what “prior express consent” allows for; and continue to make it illegal to use innovative technologies including predicative dialers for telemarketing reasons.
According to a recent piece, the letter was signed by the attorney general of every state except Nebraska and Virginia, and is stating that if calls are allowed to be made to mobile phones for informational purposes it will lead to elevated charges for most users.
For those lucky readers who have unlimited plans and will be left unaffected if the bill is reformed, a large segment of Americans have prepaid plans, where they pay for minutes—with around 25 percent of Americans to be utilizing prepaid plans by the end of 2011.
Because the H.R. 3035 is heavily against debt collection calls being made to mobile phones whether it be through auto dialers or predictive dialers, the letter takes a couple of jabs at debt collectors. “H.R. 3035 proposes to shift the cost of debt collection to the consumers and, in particular, to those who can least afford to pay it,” according to the letter.
Besides suffering from additional costs that with a still high unemployment rate in the country most people can’t afford, the letter advises that H.R. 3035 could actually put the public in danger. “Few can resist answering the ‘shrill and imperious ring’ of the wireless telephone while driving…More calls will likely mean more distracted drivers and, inevitably, more accidents,” the letter says.
First introduced in September and currently awaiting approval from the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the AGs of American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are also in full support and have already signed the letter.
Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Juliana Kenny