Pass HANGUP Act to fight cell phone robocalls, AG Cooper urges Senate

Pass HANGUP Act to fight cell phone robocalls, AG Cooper urges Senate

By / State News / Wednesday, 17 February 2016 05:00

Cooper, other AGs call on Senate to pass bill banning unwanted robocalls from cell phones

RALEIGH, N.C. : February 10th, 2016 - The U.S. Senate should pass the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone Calls Act (HANGUP Act) immediately to protect consumers from unwanted debt collection robocalls made to their cell phones, Attorney General Cooper said Wednesday.
Today, Cooper joined 23 other state attorneys general to send a letter calling on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to pass the act, which would remove a recent amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that allows debt collectors to robocall consumers’ mobile phones.
 “These calls are intrusive and annoying and can hold phones hostage with their repeated calls,” Cooper said. “Consumers have made it clear they don’t want robocalls on their cell phones and Congress needs to listen.”
Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division received more than 9,000 complaints about unwanted calls last year, many of them robocalls, prerecorded calls made using automatic dialers. In its current form, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act allows previously illegal robocalls to go to mobile phones for the purpose of collecting debts owed to or guaranteed by the federal government, including federal student loans. Debt collectors would continue to be able to contact consumers through other means to collect on legitimate debts.
Cooper has long fought for consumers’ rights not to get unwanted robocalls. In 2015, Cooper and other state attorneys general asked the Federal Communications Commission to change a rule that allowed robocalls. In June 2015, the FCC adopted a rule change allowing telecommunication companies to use technology to block robocalls.
The rulings were informed by thousands of consumer complaints about robocalls the FCC receives each month.
Complaints related to unwanted calls are the largest category of complaints received by the Commission, numbering more than 215,000 in 2014.
The FCC action addressed almost two dozen petitions and other requests that sought clarity on how  the Commission  interprets  the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), closing loopholes  and strengthening consumer protections already on the books.
The TCPA requires prior express consent for non-emergency autodialed, prerecorded, or artificial voice calls to wireless phone numbers, as well as for prerecorded telemarketing calls to residential wireline numbers.
The FCC rulings provide much needed clarity for consumers and businesses. Highlights for consumers who use either landline or wireless phones include:
• Green Light for ‘Do Not Disturb’ Technology – Service providers can offer robocall-blocking technologies to consumers and implement market-based solutions that consumers can use to stop unwanted robocalls.
• Empowering Consumers to Say ‘Stop’ – Consumers have the right to revoke their consent to receive robocalls and robotexts in any reasonable way at any time.
• Reassigned Numbers Aren’t Loopholes – If a phone number has been reassigned, companies must stop calling the number after one call.
• Third-Party Consent – A consumer whose name is in the contacts list of an acquaintance’s phone does not consent to receive robocalls from third-party applications downloaded by the acquaintance.
Last year, Cooper joined 44 additional state attorneys general in a letter urging the five major telephone companies, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and CenturyLink, to offer robocall blocking technology to their customers.
Cooper’s office is currently in court fighting unwanted calls.  He has also joined attorneys general from Illinois, California and Ohio and the federal government in an ongoing lawsuit against DISH Network over millions of telemarketing calls made on behalf of the satellite TV provider. The outcome of the trial could impact other telemarketers’ ability to evade Do Not Call laws by outsourcing call violations to third parties, Cooper said.
North Carolina law makes it illegal for a business to call you using a recorded message, but many unscrupulous telemarketers ignore the law. Cooper recommends that anyone who receives unwanted robocalls or telemarketing calls hang up and report the calls to his office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online. North Carolinians can also sign up for the national Do Not Call registry at 1-888-382-1222 or at ncdoj.gov.

Author

Super User

Super User

Carolina Beach North Carolina

Rain
69°F
S at 32 mph /90%
Wednesday
51°F / 57°F
Thursday
53°F / 69°F
Friday
44°F / 57°F

 

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.