Removing Barriers Blog

FCC Proposes TCPA Rule for Government Debt Collection Calls
Posted May 09, 2016 by Chandler Schuette

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its proposed rule for the collection of debts owed to the federal government. We previously wrote about details of a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in letters responding to federal lawmakers who oppose the new exemption for government debt collectors.

The proposed rule was prompted by the Budget Act of 2015, (Budget Act) which amended to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, (TCPA) to create exemptions for calls made to cell phones when collecting a debt owed to, or guaranteed by, the federal government. This change means that if calls are made solely pursuant to the collection of a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States, the caller is no longer required to have the prior express consent of the recipient.

In the notice, the FCC seeks comments on the implementation of the Budget Act amendments, and questions, such as which calls are covered by the phrase “solely to collect,” how we should restrict the number and duration of such calls, and how to implement such restrictions.

We’ve previously expressed concerns about carving out special treatment for government debt collectors, and plan to urge the FCC to extend this same exemption to financial institutions. We will be preparing a Comment Call on this proposal, and seeking feedback from credit unions.

Comments are due on June 6, 2016, with a Reply Comments due June 21, 2016.