This is big news, especially for struggling college grads who are delinquent on their government-backed student loans. The latest congressional budget deal allows private debt collectors who collect on debts guaranteed by the government to autodial cell phones, despite the TCPA ban. That same legislation required the FCC to pass new behavioral rules for such calls by August 2, 2016. On Thursday, the FCC proposed the following rules (not yet in effect) regarding calls about government backed debts:
- Only calls made after a debtor has become delinquent are covered;
- Limit the calls to creditors and those calling on their behalf, including debt servicers;
- Robocalls can only be made to the debtor, so as to prevent unwanted robocalls to relatives, friends, and other acquaintances of debtors;
- Limit the number of calls to 3 monthly per delinquent account; and
- Empower debtors with the right to stop calls from a federal creditor at any time and to require callers to inform debtors of this right.