PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s Washington, DC’s version of ‘the fine print’: A provision tucked into the bipartisan budget bill signed yesterday by President Obama gives new power to debt collectors. Their target? People who owe federal student loans.
Recording: “Hello, we’re trying to reach ‘Angela.’ Please contact the offices of Alliance.”
A robocall like this one to a cell phone had been illegal — but not anymore.
“You can only imagine what the debt collectors are going to be like once this door is opened, and they just have the computer calling and calling and calling,” Wayne attorney Michael Forbes says.
While collection agency lobbyists argued auto-dialing mobile devices would help them get borrowers current, Forbes says it flies in the face of consumer protections and the Student Aid Bill of Rights — a White House directive the president signed this spring.
“I think it is a harbinger of more efforts by the debt collection industry lobbyists to expand upon the provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act,” Forbes says.
About 40 million Americans have student loans. The overall debt: $1.2 trillion.