March 3, 2016
Partner Steven Augustino was featured in the Politico article “FCC grapples with robocall carveout for student loans.” The FCC cracked down on robocalls last summer, but a loophole backed by the White House for government debt collection is now forcing the agency to write new rules, worrying consumer advocates. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed into law by President Barack Obama in November, included a provision that allows companies to make autodialed calls to collect government-backed debt, such as student loans, without first obtaining permission from the consumer. Mr. Augustino notes that attorneys for companies in financial service industries say they see the exception for student loan calls as an opportunity for businesses to push through carve-outs that would allow them to also reach borrowers without fear of liability. The obstacles that student loan servicers face in reaching borrowers, who more frequently use cellphones, are not unique to that industry. “There is a fairness question here - why is it only a call to collect debt owed to the United States?" he said. "Why wouldn't this cover other calls? There really is no logic to that part of the limitation."
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