Collection Agencies Informative - Collectors Seek to Modernize Do Not Call Update
November 27, 2007
Collectors Seek to Modernize Do Not Call Update
The collection industry is seeking to use current legislation concerning the Do Not Call list to lift a restriction that is outdated due to current technology: using predictive dialers to call cell phones.
As legislation in the House and the Senate seek to make the Do Not Call list permanent, ACA International of Minneapolis, Minn., is seeking to add an amendment to one of the pending bills to enable bill collectors to use predictive dialers to call cell phones.
Under current law, predictive dialers can be used to call land lines, but not cell phones, explains Rozanne Andersen, ACA International executive vice president and general counsel. While it makes sense for firms to be forbidden from making typical telemarketing calls to cell phones because the recipient has to pay to receive the calls, collectors should be able to use the technology because they are trying to recover a payment obligation from the call recipient, Andersen explained.
The Do Not Call list went into effect in June of 2003, with re-registration needed in June 2008. Collectors are exempt because they’re collecting on an obligation rather than trying to sell additional products and services. ACA officials see the same premise as a basis for the hoped-for amendment.
“The legislation needs to keep up with the technology,” Anderson said. “Some people have gotten rid of their land lines entirely and use only their cell phones.”
The easiest way to get such rules enacted would be to include them as an amendment to one of the existing bills (two in the House, two in the Senate) seeking to change the Do Not Call registry from a list that consumers must re-register for every five years to a permanent list, according to Jacob Heilman, ACA director of federal legislative affairs.
However, initial attempts to do so have been rebuffed by legislators who say the proposed amendment “isn’t germane” to the pending legislation, according to Heilman. While unrelated amendments get attached to bills all the time, legislators want to keep the pending legislation “clean” because it’s a popular issue.
No one wants to be seen as voting against it, so they don’t want an amendment that might cloud the issue, according to Heilman, who adds that it would be much more difficult to get the predictive dialer issue addressed in stand-alone legislation.
by Phil Britt