On Thursday August 11, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released new regulations. These prevent lenders and debt collection agencies from using auto-dialers and other automated systems to call borrowers who are behind on their mortgages, student loans, or taxes.
FCC Chair, Tom Wheeler, said that the FCC believes consumers deserve to have full control over the calls and texts sent to their cell phones. He added that the commission has a duty to protect consumers from unwanted calls that might use up their available cell minutes or add to their cell phone bills.
These regulations add to the provision included in the Congressional budget passed last fall. That provision was added to a law designed to protect consumers from calls or text messages that could cause extra cell phone charges. However, the final law passed did not provide the protection that many sought, and consumer advocates contacted Congress to express their displeasure.
While some in the Department of Education stated that servicers would be better able to help borrowers if they could call on the borrowers' cell phones, the FCC received increasing requests to provide more protection.
Under the new regulations, debt collectors, student loan servicers, mortgage lenders, and others may only call cell phones three times a month at the most. These calls must be directed to the borrower only. Debt collectors cannot call friends or family members.
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