“Should the TCPA be changed to protect debt collectors and robo dialed calls?”

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Yes according to the ACA the lobbying group for debt collectors. Here is the argument:

ACA noted that up to 90 percent of accounts worked by collection agencies now include a consumer cell phone number and that it takes nearly twice the number of attempts to reach a consumer on a landline telephone than a cell phone. On average, it takes 3 attempts to reach a consumer on a cell phone versus 7 on a landline phone.

On autodialer use, the report noted that it takes more than twice as many employees to manually call accounts versus using an autodialer. ACA said that manual dialing is roughly 50-75% more expensive for collection agencies, adding more than $178 million to the cost of doing business for collection agencies.

The proposed changes to the TCPA are pretty straightforward in both the independent report and in ACA’s analysis: that the use automatic dialing systems and prerecorded voice messages should be allowed.

Here’s my take — of course it is cheaper to use auto dialers and pre-recorded messages. It is also cheaper to allow send spam email rather than having to get permission to send marketing emails.

It is cheaper to send mass text messages rather than getting permission.

And of course text messages don’t work so great with landlines and most people have cell phones.

It is also cheaper to do collection by lying, intimidating, and threatening consumers. It makes them pay.

Abusive debt collectors don’t engage in these types of behaviors just for the fun of it — they do this because it helps the bottom line. Congress recognizes this in the FDCPA when it says part of the reason for the FDCPA is to make sure honorable debt collectors who follow the law are not at a competitive disadvantage.

But, the ACA will say, it is not really abusive to call someone on their cell phone with a robo dialer or to leave pre-recorded messages. Even when you don’t have permission.

Really? Says who?

Consumers think it is.

The government thinks it is.

Even the ACA thinks it is — when it is telemarketing. The ACA doesn’t want its phones blown up with telemarketing calls.

But think about it. Don’t telemarketing calls — when robo dialed — reduce the cost of doing business? Reduce marketing costs? Return money to the economy?

So why demonize telemarketers and consider the debt collectors to be angels?

Here’s the bottom line. No one wants the auto dialed calls or pre-recorded messages unless they give permission. The same as spam on email.

In our “always connected” world, maintaining some level of privacy is critical. The TCPA is one of the few areas that protects our cell phone — if a debt collector is calling at least you know there should be a human being on the phone — not a computer.

Hardly seems too much for the debt collection industry to bear….

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