Consumer Group Questions Debt Collection Proposal

October 11, 2011

The National Consumer Law Center is criticizing an Obama administration proposal that would allow those collecting debts owed to the government to try to reach debtors via cell phones. Advocates of the proposal say that many of those who owe money don't use land lines, so trying to reach them via cell phones is logical. But the consumer group said that this would create unfair disturbances for debtors, and noted that many of those who owe student loans are facing a terrible job market that limits their ability to repay their loans.

"Giving one of the most abusive industries in the U.S. free rein to inundate people with robo-calls to their cell phones is a terrible idea," said a statement from Margot Saunders, Of Counsel to the National Consumer Law Center. "Cell phone calls can distract people while driving, interrupt them at their jobs, and needlessly impose a cost on struggling families by using up scarce minutes. Debt collectors regularly call land lines to harass and threaten friends, family and even strangers with similar names to the debtor. No one will be safe from receiving abusive calls on their cell phones if this proposal goes through."

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