Congressional Bill Would Permit 'Robo-Calls' to Cell Phones

A new bill being proposed in Congress that would permit “robo-calls” to individual cell phones.

The Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011, also known as H.R. 3035, would essentially allow companies to have access to individual cell phones. The bill would “modernize” the Communications Act of 1934 by permitting informational calls to mobile telephone numbers.

“We have no interest in seeing this bill permit telemarketing calls,” said Howard Waltzman, an attorney representing business groups supporting the bill.

Waltzman said that the bill is important because many Americans use cell phones as their primary means of telephone communication. Thus, Waltzman believes that if the bill passes, companies will be able to share important “non-marketing commercial information” with customers.

Supporters also suggest that the bill would enact “common-sense” revisions while protecting consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls.

However, many consumer groups do not support the bill, arguing that its passage would lead to additional nuisance calls on cell phones and cause “potential chaos.”

The National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) argues that the bill “is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

“The real purpose of H.R. 3035 is to open up everyone’s cell phones, land lines, and business phone numbers, without their consent, to a flood of commercial, marketing, and debt collection calls (to not only the debtor but everyone else),” said a letter opposing the bill to Congress from the consumer organization.

Groups opposing the bill also argue that additional calls to cell phone could present monetary costs to people who have limited minutes on their cell phone plans and could come through to people even if customers are on Do-Not-Call lists.

NACA additionally argues that nuisance calls present a danger to society and that consumers already have the ability to receive emergency calls on their cell phones.