If you owe on a student loan or other government debt, President Obama wants to allow debt collectors to robo-call your cell phone in their collection efforts of federal funds. Yes, the Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints about debt collectors than any other industry. Yes, this will make it even easier for debt collectors to abuse your rights. But getting borrowers to pay up is evidently more important than looking out for the best interests of U.S. consumers.
In fiscal year 2010, federal agencies referred $35.9 billion in debt to private debt collectors. However, said collectors brought in just $685 million outright and $1.7 billion in monthly payment agreement. So as part of a $3-trillion-dollar deficit reduction plan, the Obama administration suggests giving debt collectors more leeway.
Debt collectors are already legally allowed to call your cell phone, but these calls must be made by humans, not computers. This differs from the law applied to land lines, for which robo-calls are legal. Of course, debt collectors (and now Obama) argue that most of us don’t even use land lines anymore, presumably making it tougher to collect on debt.
I’m all for people paying what we owe, but I find it hard to believe robo-calls are the answer. I received my fair share of them back in the day (on a land line) when debt was really dragging me down. If I’d had the money to pay what I owed, I would have paid it. All robo-calls did was fill up my answering machine and stress me out.
What do you think? Is it a good idea to allow debt collectors to robo-call cell phones? Why or why not?