Proposed Rule Could Limit Service and Collections Calls to Cell Phones

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This morning the Federal Communications Commission published in the Federal Register a proposed rule that would limit the ability of banks, lenders, utilities, debt collectors and others to make calls to their customers’ cell phones. Although it probably comes as no surprise that marketing calls to cell phones are restricted, for example by the do-not-call rules, these new restrictions would apply to any call to a cell phone, including calls to collect a debt, notify a customer of a payment due, or request additional information to complete an application. The proposal, if made final, would undo an FCC interpretation permitting calls to cell phones where the cell phone number is provided “to a creditor, e.g., as part of a credit application,” and would expose creditors and collectors to private liability and statutory damages under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). Comments on the proposal are due May 21, 2010.

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