Student debt collectors want to robo-call your cellphone, but FCC says not so fast

Daniel Douglas-Gabriel:

The Federal Communications Commission issued rules Thursday restricting companies from bombarding Americans with cellphone calls to collect any money owed to or guaranteed by the government, including federal student loans, mortgages and taxes.

“Consumers want and deserve control over the calls and text messages they receive,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in a statement. “It is vital that we continue to use all the tools at our disposal to help protect consumers against unwanted calls.”

The new rules tighten a provision that was tucked into last fall’s congressional budget deal, amending a law meant to protect people from being harassed or inundated with text messages and calls that could run up their cellphone bills. Consumer advocates were livid at Congress for sneaking in a proposal that many said would unleash a deluge of unwanted calls and place a financial burden on people of modest means with limited cellphone plans.