90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Telemarketing On Your Cell Phone?

Congress may soon open up your cell phone to robocalls. Will this put a telemarketing hell in your pocket?

Mory Bailo Aw called from a subway platform to get some last minute directions to a friends house in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011.  (AP)

Mory Bailo Aw called from a subway platform to get some last minute directions to a friends house in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011. (AP)

Ever since cell phones took off in the early 1990s, they’ve lived in a special, protected zone – by law.  Tele-marketers might hound you on your land line at home, but your cell phone was off-limits.  Sacred.  No pesky tele-marketing calls ringing in the middle of your morning run, your drive to work, your romantic night out.

But as more and more Americans drop land lines and move to cell phones only, American business is desperate to get access to the phone in your pocket.  A bill before Congress would open the door.

This hour On Point:  the push to robo-dial your cell phone.


-Tom Ashbrook


Brendan Sasso
, covers technology and telecommunications for the congressional journal “The Hill.”

Delicia Reynolds Hand, Legislative Director for the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

John Abell, New York City Bureau Chief for Wired.

Scott Zoeller, Attorney General for the state of Indiana.

Howard Waltzman, A partner at law firm Meyer Brown. He heads a multi-industry coalition of 13-14 different trade associations lobbying for this bill.


From Tom’s Reading List

New York Daily News “The innocent-sounding “Mobile Information Call Act” would allow all sorts of nuisance calls to cell phones, eating into customers’ costly minutes, Sen. Chuck Schumer warned Sunday.”

The Washington Post “Lawmakers in the hearing were particularly concerned with what constituted “prior express consent” to receive the calls. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who was influential in passing the TCPA, asked if businesses would be able to reach consumers who had, at some point, given their mobile numbers to companies such as pizza-delivery services.”

Mobiledia “supporters include the American Bankers Association, Association of Credit and Collection Professionals and other institutions that say robocalling would help them remind customers of appointments and alert them about cancellations.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDH4GYJMIUFU373W3XUQVD2V4E Patrick

    Between this, SOPA, and Defense Re-Authorization, this is probably the scummiest Congress in years.

    • nj

      At 9% approval rating these scumbags are only slightly more popular than certain communicable diseases.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Many of us would rather have a communicable disease, than these obviously corrupt, bought and paid for, criminals, that call themselves ‘public servants’, when they are serving their own pockets!

  • Yar

    First of all telemarketing laws are not currently enforced.  I am a no-call list, I get calls from “rachel at cardholder services” I have asked to be removed from their list, I have reported their calls to the attorney general of my state.  I have begged the telemarketer to turn their company in, offering money for their help in closing down the boiler-room call center.
    Technology can easily stop these type of calls, here is what the consumer needs; a *77 or some other number we can push, just like *69 calls a number back only instead it instantly reports the number that just called as a violating telemarketing laws.  When a company gets  *77 reports they are investigated and get fined or are taken to court.  Make it as easy for consumers to report violations as it is for companies to make robo calls.  
    Until current laws are enforced Congress should not give business more access to our phones.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I have been getting calls from “Rachel at cardholder services” exactly since the Obama administration took over, and I have never done anything except hang up if I make the mistake of picking up one of “her” calls.  I thought maybe people with cell phones would not be thus afflicted.  Somehow I have divined that Rachel is with one of the gigantic banks, maybe Citi, and as such, those with cards are subject to calls.  She thinks she has the best chance of getting attention if she offers to reduce your costs on any loan you might have outstanding, and then she’ll try to trick you into…  Would a bank do that?  By the way, locally, we have the carpet-washer, who for 25 years has been calling with various schemes to circumvent no-call laws.  He even calls the District Attorney’s Office, the Consumer Protection division, trying to trick them into letting him clean their carpets.  They say you’d think he’d know better.

      • Yar

        They try to make it sound like it is your own bank calling, it isn’t .  Another change in the telemarketing law needed is to require companies to clearly identify themselves at the beginning of each call with an opt out choice.

        • JustSayin

          And with a real phone number! Not that nonsense that comes up on the caller ID list. Sometimes it has no number at all!

      • Jason

        Indeed, Miss Dribble, you are right that Obama is behind these calls, which you say started as soon as he took office. He’s watching you all the time! He knows your every move. Check under the bed! Check in the cupboards! He is out to get you! Your cell phone is just the start!

        • Ellen Dibble

          Well, I don’t have a cell phone, but I did not the crash of the banks happened simultaneous with the election of Obama.  The election of Obama was probably assisted by the crash that obviously occurred on Republican watches, so he reaped an election from that.  But did he stop the banks from trying to make a profit?  No.  They redoubled their efforts.  Did Elizabeth Warren get nominated and appointed to bring an end to all this?  Nope.

    • JustSayin

      I agree. But what the consumer needs is the ability to block calls, because this is phone spam.

      If it is allowed for Cell phones, then it is robbery. Cell phones charge the owner for incoming call time, so either the Cell industry moves to the standard model of only paying for outgoing calls, or we need the ability to block calls.

      I asked Vonage (they are an entirely computerized phone system) if they could give me the ability to block incoming calls from a particular area code, or only allow calls coming from certain area codes and exchanges. They stated they will absolutely not allow this.

      Why not? Its my phone equipment. Its my time being wasted. Its my money they are spending.

      Phone abuse would disappear as quickly as the perverts did wiht caller ID… If the consumer had the ability to block or accept callers.
      Because the rule about who is NOT of the no-call list is extensive, because so called “charities” and “business relationship” exclusions are pure nonsense.

      I have been undergoing phone harassment by the March Of Dimes. They call at least once a day and every day for the last three weeks. I would love to block them… and they will never get another dime out of me.

    • Anonymous

      Me too, I kept getting those pre-recorded junk calls on one one my cell numbers.

  • SteveV

    The deck is already stacked against the consumer. With a Supreme Court that
    treats corporations as citizens, a dysfunctional congress, and a president
    that shuns people like Elizabeth Warren, what few regulations we do have will
    simply not be enforced. The average citizen is proving, over and over again,
    that they are capable only of expressing “outrage” at their representatives but
    not having any real capability of doing anything about it. Welcome to the new
    world of consumerism with yet another way to separate you from your money.

    • JustSayin

      You’re correct. What is being removed is choice and freedom. Congress is pushing Fascism again… Is anyone surprised?

      Corporations are no longer going to wait for consumers to give them their money, Congress is going to increase the ability of corporations to just take your money. They don’t want consumers forcing change in corporate behavior by voting with their
      money, because this is the one power that corporations can not yet control.

      Congress (AKA Wall St.) is pushing for the spamming cell phones.

      will be allowed through an act of congress to drain all the minutes on
      your cell phone in exchange for advertising… The consumer will be forced to pay for this advertising via a telecom kickback for the drained minutes)… which is the equivalent of just allowing telecom
      companies and advertisers to draw money directly from your checking
      account to pay for their business operations.

      But of course we the people are just deluded, because Congress is all about Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…


    Quiet down you rubes and maroons!  This is free market capitalism at work!  If you don’t like it, I question your patriotism!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Nice Facetious Remark!

    • Brwstac

      What about my rights as a citizen? I am the one paying the cell phone bill, not these clowns. So, I should have a right to have only the people I want call my cell phone. And that would not include telemarketers!

  • Kristina S.

    Isn’t this what the Occupy Movement complains about? Congress and the U.S. Government pander to the pocketbook of corporations, not to the will of the people. We must speak out against these tactics. Call your representative, sign petitions.

  • Anonymous

     “supporters include the American Bankers Association, Association of Credit and Collection Professionals and other institutions that say robocalling would help them remind customers of appointments and alert them about cancellations.”
    What a bunch of bull. Sounds like they just want to help us out. I tell ya the mob has moved from back room restaurant tables to our legislatures and to the boardrooms of banks and other major corporations. I see this show as a continuation of your first hour on OWS. But of course this is a separate issue. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      For EVERY robocall these groups make, that have ANYTHING that isn’t one of these reminders, the CEOs SHALL have to pay, from their PERSONAL wealth, 100 times or more, the rate of pay of that executive, to the robocall recipient!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Telemarketers should HAVE to increase your minutes by 100 times or more, the minutes they use up on EACH phone, EACH time, to make up for the distraction, the agrievation, and the intrusion of their un-solicited rants!   THESE minutes SHALL be automatic Roll-Over minutes, that can be used to pay for the contracted minutes the cell-phone user pays for!

    • Anonymous

      Exactly, trac phones such as mine charge by the call and number of minutes used. I can control how much I spend. That seems to be the real problem here. Control of our lives and our money. They will not quit till they have it all.

  • Anonymous

    How much bribery, oh I meant “political contribution” did the members of the congress received from the telemarketing industry?

  • Anonymous

    Let Howard Waltzman (lobbyist for the bill) know that you don’t want to be called:

    Ph: 202 263 3848
    Fax: 202 762 4238


  • Paul, Boston MA

    There had damned well better be an opt-out provision.

    • Anonymous

      An opt-in option would be better. 

      • TFRX

        Guys, guys, you’re both right.

        The problem I see isn’t for anyone here, but for my proverbial great uncle, who thinks Eula was a European film star in the 1940s.

      • Paul, Boston MA

        Well! Looks like your idea is part of the bill. Who would have thought?? This might be the first time in my adult life I’ve been TOO cynical.

        (We’ll see.) 

        • Anonymous

          I’m skeptical.  Doing any business with them will probably be defined as having opted in. 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    When I don’t want calls, I turn my phone off.  It also has the option to block numbers.  That being said, there’s a do-not-call list for landlines.  Why not cellphones?

  • Kathy

    FFS no. What the hell is wrong with these people.

  • Anonymous

    I hate this bill, but Robodial? Isn’t America in desperate need of jobs? Why not hire some poor souls to do the dreadful job of telemarketing?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Who said that they’re banned?  I made the mistake of ordering something from Omaha Steaks and got called every day for a month, including nights and weekends, until I finally talked to the company and told them that I’ll never order from them again.

    • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

      You have to do that the first time they call.  My husband still gives out his phone number and the Pittsburgh Opera kept after him.  We haven’t been to the opera since, and won’t until we go at least six months without a phone call from them.

      • TFRX

        I didn’t think anything on this thread would make me chuckle, but Wow! that opera company’s really playing hardball! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rodger.jueckstock Rodger Jueckstock

    Since big business owns the majority of Congress, there is a good chance that it will pass.  I would like to see all incoming calls not be charged for before this is even allowed to be discussed.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I had to buy some software at Best Buy this weekend.  Every time I buy something there, I’m asked for my telephone number.  I always refuse to give it.  The teenager running the cash register looks confused, as if I’m being rude, but that’s just too bad.

    • Anonymous

      I do the same. It’s none of their busniess.

  • Dark Horse

    If Congress allows telemarketers, political adverts, etc. access to my cell phone they will feel my wrath at the voting booth next November. This no doubt is headed by Republicans who are the tools of big business who want this. Is there any refuge from this deluge?

  • Jgm51

    NNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!  I hate this and believe this should be illegal.  I have had several of these calls and immediately signed up for yet another “DO NOT CALL” List.  What ever happened to my privacy and the ability to choose.

  • George Wukinson

    Two thoughts:

    First, having a cell phone going off where ever I am could be just plain dangerous. If I’m driving, for example, that could be the last thing I need.

    Secondly, I use my cell phone almost exclusively for work, not for buying things. If businesses get the number, it could make getting my job done a real nightmare . . .

  • Megan

    Aren’t we already barraged with ads and “commercial information” every time we log on to a computer?  How much more effective do businesses think this added layer of saturation will be?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Install the Adblocker add-on to your browser.  I see hardly any ads anymore.

      • TFRX

        I trust you have NoScript also–great stuff to keep bandwidth-hogging Flash crap from blasting one’s ears.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I did, but that blocked some things that I wanted to see.  But I’m not generally on the sites that send junk.

          • TFRX

            Study question: Have we reached the point of no accountablility on “respectable” websites yet? “What’s all that crap I’m getting on your site?” “I dunno. Web ads are from a third party, and we are not responsible for them.”

  • Anonymous

    This is crap, period. If this passes there better be an opt-out that really sticks. This is all about corporate influence and not about the people.
    If it comes to this I might just go back to carrier pigeons. Oh wait, they are extinct.

  • Anonymous

    Will we get charged for these calls?

  • Jeffrey A Wu

    The cost dynamics are very different for call recipients.  For landlines, you do not pay for incoming calls but receiving mobile calls consumes minutes which are paid for. 

    Current voice-over-IP technology (VoIP) allows for calls to originate at almost zero marginal cost (once the infrastructure is purchased).  This enables a autodialer to basically walk through every possible number in an area code and exchange combination. 

    It is also possible to “harvest” numbers by looking up names in published directories and then calling…

    • Brian

      Sounds like the solution is to MAKE INCOMING CALLS FREE on all mobile phones.

      Carriers in Europe already do this, even for non-contract pay-as-you-go phones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rodger.jueckstock Rodger Jueckstock

    We need more lawmakers like Schumer.  This should not even be allowed to be discussed in Congress; it is like being charged a fee before you are forced into a torture chamber.

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    This is a terrible idea.   I particularly resent the periodic and useless junk messages from my cell phone provider.  I’ve found the best way to avoid junk calls is to really restrict who I give my number to. About the only business/non-profit/political entities with my phone number are my doctors, airlines and hotels.  

    • Kristina S.

      I was shocked the other day when I made a purchase at Crabtree and Evelyn, the sales clerk asked for my phone number.  Why do they need my phone number?  I do not need a phone call from every store I have shopped at.  I know how to find them when I need them.

  • Anne Employee

    Everything free or cheap that has to do with a cell phone—especially apps, but including plans—is so because the telephone company can make money from information about you—where you call, where you browse on the web, and most importantly where you spend money.

    So if you’ve ever browsed a slightly risqué site via your phone, don’t be too surprised when that cold-call for leather bondage gear shows up.  (With spikes, and big red straps.)

    • Anne Employee

      Oh, and where you are when you do these things.

      And all these are the phone company’s “property”, not yours, and they don’t like trouble, so the next time the government thinks you’re a terrorist or you irritate the wrong cop too much….

  • Caleb King, Jamaica Plain, MA

    Please stop the disinformation:

    Companies can ALREADY call your cell phone with automated updates using a machine system if you give them permission. Ever signed up for flight notifications after purchasing an airline ticket online?  I just had such notifications sent to my phone after coming home for Thanksgiving.

    Please ask your guest to explain how the new proposed law would differ from the privilege already legally granted for corporations to provide their clientelle with requested info. via cell phone.

    Thank you,

    Caleb King
    Jamaica Plain, MA

  • Anonymous

    If businesses want to reach me for ‘reasonable reasons’, they already do. Bank of America, UPS, my utility companies already contact me through my cell phone. So there is no good reason for this act at all.

  • Bwlittlewish

    I feel very strongly that we as consumers should have choice in who has our phone numbers and for what reasons they call. It is maddening as well when time is so valuable that it can be interrupted at all hours up to 9PM or later! Also, I have recently gotten calls about my house that I had to sell a week before it was foreclosed upon and this was over a year and a half ago. Now I get calls from banks who have supposed refinancing programs that my husband and I were unable to get prior but I am sure would have been eligible and when I tell the person on the phone that my property is gone; they literally hang up on me. This has happened several times and I am unable to actually speak to a person because once they learn I am not a viable prospect, they hang up. I have called these numbers back and there is no incoming call ability.  So there is no way that you can actually ask these people to stop calling. It is unbelievable.

  • Dark Horse

    I wish Ashbrook would comment on some of the posts on this blog.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jim.bullard Jim Bullard

    They are doing it now.

    For the first two/three years after getting my cell phone I got computer generated debt collection calls for the person who had the number before I did. I couldn’t get them to stop because I needed the account number of the guy in order to get past the computer.

    I already give my cell number to businesses I want to contact me and they do. There is nothing prohibiting them from doing it now.

    This change would unleash floods of telemarketers and debt collectors to invade you privacy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Spence-Blakely/1251757037 Spence Blakely

    How will millions of robo calls affect cell carrier bandwidth?

    • Guest

      Number of calls equals bandwidth consumption. Duh.

  • tncanoeguy

    Seems like few people will favor passage of this bill.  We’ll see who Congress sides with, the people or corporations.  Oh that’s right, corporations are people. 

  • BHA in Vermont

    Absolutely NOT.

    We have caller ID at home and don’t answer the phone if it is from the many robo callers we recognize or 800 numbers.

    1) We have enough people driving around with their phones in their ears. We don’t need them also answering unwanted robo calls.

    2) I use prepaid (TracFone) because it is the most economical for my needs. I don’t want my minutes wasted with robo calls I DO NOT WANT.

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    How are businesses supposed to stay in touch?  Social media, useful Websites and the occasional snail mail.  Rethink last century’s paradigm.  
    For FedEx/etc., it’s not needed for most deliveries.  If I buy something expensive online, sure, I’ll leave my cell phone number, but I’d rather have them reach me trough E-mail.  Delivery services typically share a tracking number so you can follow the location of the package online.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      This is just the point.  I don’t want businesses staying in touch.  I don’t live to keep them happy.

      • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

        Exactly.  Companies are in business for us.  We do not exist for them.

        I also don’t understand why people feel the need to be constantly in touch.  I have my phone turned off overnight, at dinner, when I’m driving and when I don’t want to be bothered.

        • Four Elements

          Unfortunately, your first sentence has it backwards.

    • Kristina S.

      I agree, I’m fine with giving an email address that I can dedicate to these types of functions and I can peruse their advertisements on my time.  I don’t have time to spend all day screening calls even more than I already am forced to do.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Timely information that the company needs me to hear?  Nonsense.  If the company has a product that I want to buy, they’ll make money.  Otherwise, they may feel free to starve and stay out of my business.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    No company needs to reach me by telephone.  We still have a postal service.

    • Anonymous

      I’m tired of the junk mail too.

    • Concerned

      No company needs to reach you by post unless you have asked for them to do so.  Roll back corporate welfare and corporate rule.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Tom Ashbrook,

    We don’t need any “information” that a business has to offer.

  • Debbie erestone

    The argument just made that there are important notifications the customers expect to receive (airline notifications, school closures etc.) is not legitimate.  I deliberately chose to provide my cell phone # to my child’s school, airlines when I book a flight etc. and therefore I receive such notifications on my cell phone. I never want to receive any type of solicitations on my cell phone and do not feel it should be accessible!

  • Michael

    allow for robo SMS messages, not calling. It consumes my minutes.
    There should also be law forcing the sender to pay all fees for the sms to get through to the receiver.

  • http://www.gordon.edu Ryan Groff

    This legislation seems redundant. I already give online vendors permission to call/contact me for purchases i make or for information. If the law is simply to roboticize this mechanism, what’s the difference?  However, the argument that business needs access to consumers in a post-land-line world is ridiculous. As land-lines have died out, the internet, email and all sorts of other online marketing have come (pardon the pun) “online.”  These sorts of marketing allow for much better product placement through visual, video and audio ads.  E-marketing on websites and via email is the creme de la creme of anything telemarketing could have dreamed of being 10 or 15 years ago.  I see mailing (snail) addresses as more public and open to receive mailers, political and all sorts of other junk mail. Email and cell phones are connected to individual persons and, therefore, ought to be afforded a higher level of privacy.

    • http://www.gordon.edu Ryan Groff

      Also, I’m NOT okay with paying for minutes associated with listening to voicemail or receiving phone calls from businesses. Congress would need to make these calls “toll free” so to say for cell plan owners if this legislation does go through for some reason.

  • NV from Sutton, MA

    This guy, the lobbiest, he’s what’s wrong with the US.  He’s a paid mouth!  Paying to get what they want.  And who do our reps represent?  The people?  NO!  Watch, this will happen. 

    Just so we are clear, he’s full of it!  NOBODY wants this!!!

  • Dark Horse

    I wish Ashbrook would comment on some of the posts on this blog.

  • SteveV

    Mr. Waltzman just set off my B.S Meter. It went straight to 10.

  • Anonymous

    To be brief, NO! To be verbose, HELL NO!

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/onanov Donald Baxter

    I have a cellphone that has the phone number that *was* my landline. I get robocalls from illegal, probably offshore, enterprises who want to do me the service of refinancing my debt.  I’m not so concerned about businesses that I have a relationship with calling me.  Why can’t our governments do something about illegal businesses?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Why would you give your telephone number at the cash register?  Yes, the checker thinks you’re a jerk if you don’t, but who cares?

    • Anonymous

      I always refuse, but I might start giving them 202 263 3848 now.  Ask for Howard.

  • JustSayin

    No one in the history of communications has ever willingly “consented” to being robo-called.

  • tncanoeguy

    Corporations contact us all the time via email.  Why do they also need to contact us on our cell numbers?  The bank notifies me through email that my credit card bill is coming due – seems to work fine that way. 

  • CVG in Vermont

    Just hearing the description of this topic—allowing robocalls to cell phones—sent me to the computer to e-mail my representative. I receive several of these calls per day on my land line, although we are listed on the Do Not Call registry. (I believe non-profits are allowed to contact you if you have had dealings with them??) To imagine that I would be asked to pay to receive these annoying, harassing phone calls really burns me up!

  • elle3000

    If proponents were so concerned about being able simply to give info a to an individual, why aren’t the lobbyists asking simply for permission to send a text?
    I get few calls on my cell–most of the simple info sharing in my life is done by text, not phone call.
    I have to guess they want to be able to harass with debt collection and other pressure would be callers.

  • Ntirado

    All the businesses that I want to contact me for information on my cell phone has my number and my permission to call me for specific reasons. I don’t want them to now turn around and use that number for uses I have not agreed to specifically.

  • Sugar Pine

    No consent giving as it stands today. Do NOT list your cell phone on anything. If I have not given it to you personally, then it is not public. No ROBOCALLS.

  • Mel

    Where is the subject of cell phone minute usage in this conversation?  With money tight, my family is most likely not the only one cutting back on minutes for cost effectiveness so when some random call from whomever trying to sell me “flood insurance” eats away those minutes, is that same company going to send reimbursement to myself or perhaps accept my Verizon bill in return? 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    O.K., Howard Waltzman, give us your telephone number right now.  Broadcast it over the airwaves.  If you really believe this foolishness, hand over your number.

  • Terry from Franklin

    One thing to remember, you are charged for the number of minutes you use the cell network, wether you make the call or get the call.  Allowing businesses to make whatever calls the want is going to use your minutes.

    You can already opt in for every thing business says they want to do.  I can get text alerts from Amazon.com, USPS and UPS about shipments and order status.

  • Phil in West Des Moines, IA

    I disagree strongly with the guest who said people don’t feel the same as they did 20 years ago about the privacy of their cell phones. I still think twice before providing my cell phone number. Not only are my minutes still metered (though I tend to not get close to the monthly limit), but I don’t pay for a texting plan and some businesses already take “consent” to be universal to calling and texting my number.

  • Bob in Massachusetts

    Basically when this is a time when jobs are needed why would we make it easier to NOT HIRE by enabling ROBOTS to do it.  Otherwise I leave contact information anytime it’s necessary. I want to decide when it’s important enough to want someone to call me.

  • Caleb King, Jamaica Plain, MA

    Please comment on the air:


    I already receive AUTOMATED Pharmacy calls.
    I already receive AUTOMATED Airline update calls.
    I already receive AUTOMATED Bank account information calls.

    Please stop the disinformation.
    Companies can already place AUTOMATED calls to consumers who have asked to receive such information from them.  They do not need to be made in person.

    Consent should be required for all commercial solicitations – INCLUDING MAIL SOLICITATIONS.  Strengthen, do not evervate the people’s protections.

    • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

      Actually, I don’t object to Target’s robocall to say my prescription is ready.  They’ve never called for any other reason.  I’d rather that they sent me E-mail, but that’s useful information.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jim.bullard Jim Bullard


      Nobody is stopping them from making informational calls to cell numbers we give them.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Ph: +1 202 263 3848That’s Waltzman’s business number.  Give it out.

  • Anonymous

    Waltzman is nothing more than a tool for the corporations.
    He’s full of crap, period.

  • Anonymous

    Why not narrowly craft the legislation to authorize a seller’s delivery agent to call on their behalf for a particular delivery?  This isn’t the debt collection lobby’s real concern.

  • labor economist

     Mr. Waltzman cannot assert people have less expectation of privacy on their cell phone than they used to.  That’s an empirical question.  Poll a random sample of people and see what they say.

    Mr. Waltzman is also wrong to say people can’t be reached in current circumstances. .  I gave my cell number to the school, give it to businesses when I order products on-line, I give it to the power company when there is a power outage… the point is I CHOOSE who to give it to!

  • Phil in West Des Moines

    This “informational calls only” bunk is a Trojan horse. My bank doesn’t even offer automatic email in case of overdrafts—not because they can’t, but because they don’t want to limit their opportunity to charge fees. Why should I think they want to use my cell phone info for MY benefit? There are plenty of means for communication of business information and marketing without violating my personal privacy!

    • Kristina S.

      Exactly, this will not be applied in an even way to both help the consumer and help the business.

  • Heather

    Businesses are worried about the fact that there are fewer land lines and now think they should have the right to call cell phones. However, they are forgetting that the economics of the cell vs. land line are different. You pay for a land line and get free incoming calls. With a cell phone, the customer is charged for the call.

    It’s ridiculous to have telemarketers able to call anytime they want, therefore, running up the customer’s bill.

    If I WANT information, I will opt in to getting it. There should also be an OPT OUT for telemarketing and SMS messages from that same company and others. This way, customers can CHOOSE how they want to spend their money.

    It’s ludicrous, invasive and frankly, robbery for companies to call whenever they want, taking away the right of a customer to manage their cell phone bill.

    The economics have changed. Companies who want to force the issue without giving customers opt-in/opt out choice are losing sight of the customer and inviting bad will.

    • Kristina S.

      If we are allowed to opt in, the corporations will find a way to trick us into opting in.  Either with fine print we don’t read, with a gimmick that we have to give our number, or by making it a requirement to receive some special benefit of their service.

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    Tom, why didn’t you call the guest who constantly brought up the delivery example as this being a completely bogus example?  Most delivery companies have tracking numbers so you can follow the package online.  You can also change your address that way.

  • David Burkett

    what about text messages?  I hate robo-calls and unsolicited advertising as much as all of us and certainly do not consent to increasing amounts of spam, but it seems to me that the useful functions of robo-calls could also be fulfilled by text messages.  I can read much faster then I can listen and would prefer to get a less-intrusive text message as opposed to an annoying recording that wastes more time to get the same info.  Are these issues addressed in the new legislation?

    • Heather

      We don’t want to pay for text messages either…with a go-phone, you pay 10 cents for each SMS. No thanks, not paying for telemarketing.

    • Karen Oma

      Text messaging costs more than voice minutes.  Why should they have a right to use texting I pay for.  Even worse, I do not subscribe to text messaging — when a text comes in, I am charged an exorbitant fee, even if I don’t open it and read it. 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Waltzman lives in Maryland.  For a fee, you can get a full report on him on-line.

  • Yar

    Fed Ex can send you an email, you may even read that email on your smart phone.  It does not absolutely have to get there over-night. 

  • Brian in Massachusetts

    The FedEx example used on the show is spurious.  If I want FedEx to call me, I’ll opt-in with FedEx (and UPS, and other delivery services).  No change in law needed.  There is no legitimate reason to permit unsolicited robo calling to any phones, wireless or wired.  That’s the change we should make.

  • Four Elements

    What happens when the first accident is caused by a driver answering a robocall at a bad time?

    • Kristina s.

      For whoever can’t answer a phone and drive, it’s that person’s responsibility not to answer the phone in the car.

  • bob maciver

    This is a huge privacy issue. The “pro” voices cite all sorts of public warnings and delivery calls as examples, but they are generally expected as helpful public service calls. Yet they fail to mention the fail to mention the huge number of calls that are unwanted sales marketing calls. One is helpful the other just annoying and an invasion of privacy. I don’t invite salesmen into my home uninvited and I don’t want them invading the privacy of my personal phone. They have no inherent right to do that and Congress should not allow it.

  • Phil in West Des Moines

    We shouldn’t be opening ourselves up to more unwanted calls—we should be further limiting the junk calls we already get: political and non-profit solicitations are just as annoying as telemarketers.

    If you want my money, send me a letter.

  • Don67

    1. This is exactly what the Occupy Movement is about – stop treating us like cattle, telling us what we need in order to make money off us.

    2. It’s so simple:   “Don’t call us – we’ll call you”

  • blog person

    I wish Ashbrook would comment on some of the great posts on this blog.

  • JMC

    while we have a consumer advocate n the show can you have them explain why companies can say this call may be recorded for quality assurance but when i state that i am recording the conversation for quality assurance the call must be ended, i am only assuring what is discussed goes on record, its not like i can go get a copy of the conversation from the overseas outsourced company.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Howard Waltzman:  Simple shill or Mouth of Sauron?  Send us your telephone number and let us know your vote.

  • Daniel Dellinger

    I hate to be the guy who dumps on the topic of the day, but come on. Politely decline, and I emphasize politely since these are human beings who are just doing their unpleasant job, and ask not to be called again. It takes all of a minute. Can we at least talk about some second-world problems?

    • Anonymous

      Boy are you missing the point.

    • TFRX

      I’m with Jeffe: It’s like putting out a “No Solicitors” sign and then having to amend it with “No Girl Scouts selling cookies” after they come. And then “No magazine sellers” after them. And then “No landscapers” after one of them comes.

      Each individual one takes less than a minute. But chances are pretty good that one’s carrier will charge them for a minute.

      (And again, this has to do with my great uncle who doesn’t know anything about this. This is not an invitation for someone to tell me to instruct my great uncle how to switch to a carrier with free minutes.)

    • Karen Oma

      How do you politely decline robo-calls?  100×1 is 100 minutes — that’s a lot of time and why should I have to be bothered or to pay for their advertising or unsolicited information.  I do pay for my minutes.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to give them “economic access”. Don’t call me I’ll call you.
    Also I don’t want my minutes being used up by this junk.

  • Jude

    A specific machine generated call about a specific issue, such as the fedex example, is a different animal from the robocalling banks that call and call until they get a live one. This kind of calling is a bad idea. It is time for them to die. How about enforcing the “do not call” list?

  • Travelheaven

    Let’s contact Congressperson Lee Terry (R-Nevada) and let him know just how strongly we feel about this new proposed legislation. I’m going to call his office, and state my opposition to the legislation Congressperson Perry has sponsored. I’m also going to ask for his cell phone number, and see what his staffers say in response. 

    • Karen Oma

      Unless you are in his zip code area in NEBRASKA, you cannot email Lee Terry from the “contact me” tab on his Website — as if nonconstituents are not affected or concerned about national bills.  However, this site does provide phone numbers and “snail mail” addresses.  He should be inundated!  Let’s do it. 

  • Siri

    as a Fedex Driver and Contractor, I can tell you that we do not need to robocall. If I have a question on a package, I contact our internal quality assurance department or one of us just personally calls the customer.

  • Jljmichons

    I have a prepaid cell phone.  I do not want to use my prepaid minutes to take a telemarketing call.  Why should I subsidize these advertisers?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Oh, please.  Are you really asking us to feel sorry that companies have to work to make money?

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry but that argument about the airlines is bogus.
    This guy is full of crap. If I’m traveling with an airline I’ll call them. 

    • Kristina S.

      Even when they have our number to inform us of a problem with a flight… This happened to my brother, but they didn’t call until he arrived at the airport.  What is the benefit?

  • Travelheaven

    Whoops, Lee Terry is from Nebraska, not Nevada as I previously stated.

    • Karen Oma

      Unless you are in the right zip code in Nebraska, you cannot send an email from the “contact me” on this site [as if national issues/laws don't affect nonconstituents], but there are phone numbers and “snail mail” addresses.  He should be inundated.  Let’s do it!

  • Kathy

    Your guest is a lying liar who lies. Why aren’t you calling him on this?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I shouldn’t have to work to avoid this rubbish.  The company should have to work to opt me in.

  • Carl

    Hello – Question – My ell phone company charges me for incoming calls. Who will pay me back for these calls?

  • Anonymous

    The specific example about airlines is complete BS.  I am a frequent flier with an airline, and have consented to allow them to contact me via cell phone.  It works perfectly, and is completely legal.  I don’t have to reenter my cell phone with each flight checkin as your guest stated.

    On the other hand, I had a hell of a time getting Capital One to stop calling my cell phone for debt incurred by someone who had my cell number before me.

    This is one door that should remain closed.

    • Anonymous

      This same thing was happening to my land line for about 3 years.
      Several times a week I would get calls regarding my debt.
      Of course it was not mine.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jim.bullard Jim Bullard

      And the debt collection robo calls are set up in a way that you can’t call them back to tell them they are calling the wrong person. They don’t want to know it’s the wrong person because because they get paid by contacting the debtor and if they know they called someone else it won’t count.

  • Laurie

    I’m one of those people with a mobile phone and no landline. I simply do not answer phone calls that come up with “restricted” or “unavailable” numbers. If it’s really important, I figure the callers can always leave a message for me…but surprise, surprise, they never do. They are 99% spam calls and I’ll be damned if I’m going to use my paid minutes to talk to people I never asked to call me.

  • Jakireis

    The comment about airlines not being able to call people who haven’t given their cell phone #s to them is illogical.  The passenger has to also give the airlines their HOME ph# for the airlines to call, so what’s the point?  That the commercial industry will say just about anything to get people worried about not letting the commercial industry what it wants to be able to do.

  • Gemli

    Excuse me if I get chills when I hear that Republicans are pushing a bill to “help” consumers.  Mr. Waltzman is a shill for business interests, and it is offensive that he presents his case as if it is concerned about whether we get a helpful call from an airline.  We’re not stupid.  We know what this is about, and it’s not about helping the consumer.

  • Four Elements

    I have no friends. I’m desperate for someone – anyone to call me! Please, please telemarket me. Otherwise my phone will never ring. If you make sell calls illegal no one will ever call me. People like me will continue to be so lonely. And you meet such nice people this way.

    Oh I forgot, I don’t have a cell phone.

    Never mind….

  • blog person

    I wish Ashbrook would comment on some of the great points made by guests on this blog.

    • Kathy

      I wish that most days.

  • http://twitter.com/amrRcanidealst American Idealist

    Yea right, try to opt out of spam e-mail. They continuosly sell your e-mail or some how bounce it around for profit. Even if the bill states they can’t do this they will figure out a way to get around it just like the bourgeois gets around the closing IRS loopholes.

    • Kristina S.

      I know what you mean. When I log into my bank account there is an advertisement before I log on. I always click the button “don’t show me this again” but each time there it is again.

  • Anonymous

    Part of me wants this to pass so that people might stop answering their cell phones.  I’m tired of listening to stupid conversations on the train, on the street, at restaurants, at stores . . .

  • Polly in Boston

    What about when you are traveling abroad and your phone rings in the middle of the night. Old restrictions on times won’t work.

  • Barbara

    Smart phone users can also use airline apps to track flight delays, so I disagree with your guest that that issue is a problem.  On another topic, can you even imagine the political campaign ads that are going to be blasted to cell phones.  Seems the timing of this legislation is a little too convenient to politicians.  Also, how many jobs will this legislation eliminate if businesses replace more collections reps, telemarketers, etc. with computerized calls?

  • Donotcallme

    I discovered my cell phone provider, Verizon, hiding charges via a key on the phone, which when hit, automatically started to open web access that allowed them to charge me $2.00 though I shut it down immediately; I was unaware of this charge and have blocked web access and other services I did not avail myself of to be sure I was not charged.  Verizon hid these charges by not itemizing them on their billing.  Worse, they failed to alert me, the Verizon contractee that my daughter racked up $500 plus in text message charges–I don’t text and have since blocked that service too.  All companies like Verizon need is another reason to charge for something I don’t want, don’t need, and would block if I had my rights protected as well as big business does.  

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    The biggest difference between receiving unwanted calls on a land line and on a cell phone — is on a cell phone you have to pay for the air time, even if you don’t answer it.  (On Verizon, anyway.)

    I do not want more advertisements — we have waaaaaay to many of these already.  Ads piss me off, and I refuse to buy any products based on ads — I will avoid them.


    • Kristina S.

      Unfortunately there are few intelligent people who recognize and dispise these adds. Who really buys mascara because of a commercial that either uses fake lashes or cgi to show the dramatized effect of wearing that mascara? A lot of people do. Which is why these corporations can persuade the government to bow to their advertising demands. Because it puts money in all of their pockets. So we will lose if we don’t fight.

      Write your elected officials and sign petitions. Voice your opinion to those who can make a difference, not just to the 300 people who read these posts.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    More and more, I want a stupid phone.

    • Anonymous

      Or no phone whatsoever. I might go back to the land line and give up my cell. Except the only way to reach my 22 year old kid is by texting.

  • Joachim110

    Citizens in this country have no data protection at all. The European Union does not allow data sharing with the U.S. because Data is permanently violated. It should be the way that companies need to request to opt in and not the other way around. I do not want marketing calls, I can go to the shop and find out myself.

  • Terry from Franklin

    The do not call registry has its problems.  There are some folks out there who do not think it applies to them.

    If you know a cellphone number it is possible to send it an SMS message.  There may be a phone or two out there that does not recieve SMS but they are pretty rare.  Text messages are a low intrusion way to send someone a message they mioght need to see.

  • JustSayin

    The whole hour passed without Tom calling out that shill on the cost in minutes on the consumers phone. WTF!

  • Anonymous

    Tom, the conclusion of today’s show probably wan’t a good time to try to get people to opt into Twitter and Facebook updates.

  • Caleb King, Jamaica Plain, MA

    Howard Waltzman is a mendacious deceiver:

    - The law would not allow consumers to opt out GLOBALLY, only locally – that is in relationship to an independent “information” provider.  Just try preventing your number from being shifted to an endless chain of affiliates, once you “opt out” from a particular snake’s poison.

    - The law already permits AUTOMATED consensual contact between vendors and consumers.  Consumers already use these services in mass for their advantage.  Anyone can already sign up for CONTINUOUS automated notifications, there is absolutely no law preventing a customer from receiving CONTINUOUS automated updates, if he or she explicitly agrees to receive them. Waltzman claimed there was such a prohibition.  This is not so.

    - Waltzman lies: Telemarketers are, by definition, INFORMATION providers. If a given telemarketer is an affiliate of a business you have shopped for, then they qualify as an information provider that you have purportedly “authorized” – even though you haven’t.

    - Why does a paid lobbyist prostitute for a very very small portion of the population get equal or more airtime than those who represent the opinions and sentiments of 99.98 % of the population.


    If someone proposes the retail marketing of baked Tahitian children in supermarkets, a radio show is not dedicated to the “debate” of the law.
    Stop posturing unilateral corporate infiltration as valid public policy debates.  There is no debate.  This is not a question.

    ALSO – people need to stand up and take back their **mailbox** and **land line** rights.  NEW LAWS should be passed to institute NEW consumer safeguards to prevent commercial entities from contacting citizens via land line phones or via mail without their previous, explicit, direct consent.

  • Joe Woy

    There is no way that I can imagine how this new law will benefit me. I purchased my cel phone and pay for cel phone service with the expectation of privacy and don’t any lawmaker or business group to change that.

  • Guest

    Tom, you sounded “BOUGHT OUT” by the corporate interest on this phone issue. I think if you read these posts, you will see that WE THE PEOPLE do not want any violation of our privacy, especially on our cell phones. (Too bad, the privacy issue is going down hill fast)

  • KarenOma

    Absolutely NOT!!  I hope Congress will for once listen to the people instead of lobbyists. Does anyone really believe this is about information only?  Who defines information?  I pay for a plan with a certain number of minutes.  Why does some business have the right to use up my minutes?  What happens when some businesses use up my minutes and I get charged for extra minutes?  Not too long ago I got a bill double my usual bill.  I found that I was getting unsolicited marketing texts [that I never even read] and was being charged $9.99 for EACH text! The phone company told me that was the same as marketing calls.  NO! I was paying for the advertising of those who text! They should pay for their own advertising.  They must not be allowed to use what I have paid for.  They must pay for every minute they use, if this bill passes!
    Thank you.  Karenoma   

    • Anonymous

      Don’t hold your breath.

    • JustSayin

      You don’t have to be a business to send a bill.

      You should send those telemarketers a bill for the amount they charged to your phone, with the time text, date etc. Don’t forget to add that payment is due within 20 days.

      • JustSayin

        …and don’t forget to add a footnote that they now have a “business relationship” with you so you can call them as much as you want with your robo-caller machine.

    • Terry Tree Tree


  • Rosie

    A whole hour on this, and no one managed to mention “distracted driving”?!   I do not answer my phone while driving, and do not want to be on the road with people who are bothered even more than usual by unwanted cell phone calls on their phone.  Who’s going to be liable for the cost of the resulting accidents?  And how is that ever going to make it up to the person who was injured, or the family of those killed, by such a distracted driver?

  • LKS

    It never ceases to amaze me how we the people are being pimped out and sold out by those who ‘represent’ us. at every angle we sold off to the highest bidder: food companies, drug companies, banks etc. all scramble for their cut out of our collective hides. when does it stop? you hear one report on how much we should be saving (keep the banks going with our cash which they will charge us for holding) and in the very next report we are told how much we need to spend (give our dollars away to those at the top without the slightest thought of how that same money will be used to implement policies and laws and insure that we keep giving). these people have no shame and will not stop until we say no. enough is enough.

  • Anonymous

    It seems that an overwhelming amount of the 156 comments so far against this invasion of privacy by the corporations who only want to find new ways to fleece us. Verizon must be foaming at the mouth to get this going as it would mean their costumers would be charged for the text messages and incoming calls. 

    • Caleb King, Jamaica Plain, MA

      Wrong, I’ve read all of the 159 comments.
      All of them are against this proposal. Every single one.  And they should be against far more than that.
      But the corporations will win as they have been winning – from low as you can go capital gains tax rates, to free trade agreements, to banking deregulation, to  corporate bailouts & giant corporate tax rebates to cuts in education budgets – until we oust Wall Street’s 2 captive parties.

      Only when people on the Left switch to Green and people on the Right switch to Libertarian will we see the public will reflected in the Republic’s laws. This could take 25 years, but it’s high time we started to sink the shovel into that rocky electoral ground and start expecting slow, rising minority percentages on the margins of both of the corrupt behemoths until we shrink their power or force them to start representing us.  Only when we create a new party system will this trend abate – it is the only way, short of a new constitutional convention.

      • Anonymous

        I was being diplomatic. I doubt there would anyone in favor of this crap. Your right about the Green party but I’m not sure how the Libertarian’s would be better than the GOP. I wont hold my breath for the day the Green party or any other progressive party gains clout in our dysfunctional political system.

  • guest

    Question: If I have a company issued smart phone, all communications are the property of the issuer. So if I give FedEx permission to contact me about a package the my company is sending me, it is a legitimate use(in the company’s eyes) of the phone. Under the new law, as I understand it, FedEx can call that same number, even years later, because I am getting a job application from another company(or something else the company does not like) and could use this call as grounds for my termination. Is this correct?

  • TomK in Boston

    I am so freaking sick of corporate gvt by bought legislators. It’s obvious common sense that no consumer wants cell spam. There is no “benefit to consumers”. We stopped using our landline because of the c**p. What will it take to get our gvt back from the corporations?

  • rwp

    Tom:  You and your guests missed one important aspect of this.  States all over the country are banning the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.  The distraction causes accidents.  Why on earth would anyone want to increase non-solicited calls to cell phone users, many of whom would be operating a vehicle.  Most in harms way would be youthful inexperienced operators.  Human to human calls are bad enough, but “robo” calls in this environment are total unacceptable.

    Note to TomK — Next program on Vermont Public Radio had to do with the movement for a constitutional amendment outlawing “Corporate Person-hood” and “money equals speech”.  You can listen on vpr.net

    • Anonymous

      I’m all for it. How is it that corporations are people and money equals free speech. Enough of this crap in my view.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      CORRUPT, OR SENILE, the five black robes need to acknowledge that they are INCAPABLE of being a judge, or judging, and RESIGN.

  • http://twitter.com/Communitymapper Susan Rice

    I wondered when the government started handing out free cell phones to those in need why? Now I know once again sold to the highest bidder, corporate America….and the 99% has how much of a voice?
    http://www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/ This is NOT about Fed Ex delivering a package…it is the most vulnerable larger in number now being fed upon. 

  • Tableaume

    I support passing the HR 3035, The Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011.

    Companies should not be forced to operate under conflicting government regulations, but unless the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is modernized as proposed in HR 3035, they are increasingly in a Catch 22.Consider an airline. They are now required by the DOT  (DOT-OST-2010-0140) to promptly notify passengers of flight delays and cancellations. But if they use an autodialer or recorded message to call a passenger’s cell phone with this information, they will often be violating the TCPA because most flights are booked through travel agents or travel websites who may or may not have obtained the required consent when they got the passenger’s phone number. And please don’t say the airlines should just hire more agents to make the calls manually unless you want to pay more in airfare to cover these costs.

    And what about a mortgage servicer? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both Government Sponsored Enterprises, require them to attempt phone contact with past due borrowers every three days. They want the servicer to make every possible effort to assist borrowers in avoiding foreclosure by communicating all the loan modification programs the government has made available. But if the borrower has provided a mobile number (and for 30% of American households, that is the only number they have), in most cases the servicer would be at legal risk if they used automatic dialing technology to make these calls. That’s because the original lender failed to obtain the necessary consent when the loan was issued. Catch 22.

    I could go on. Prescription refill reminders, credit card fraud alerts, COD package delivery notifications – all good for the consumer, but risky for the business under the current TCPA. 

    HR 3035 will make these types of informational calls to cell phones legal while maintaining the prohibitions on telemarketing to both land lines and mobile numbers. Its fair for consumers and fair to business. 

    • Anonymous

      I have one word for you. BS. If I want my pharmacy or the airline I’m traveling to call me I give them my phone number. The local pharmacy does this now. Credit card fraud alerts? Are you kidding?
      COD package deliveries? Oh please this is nothing short of a line of crap that stinks to high heaven. What about a mortgage company you say? I get enough of their ads in my email box thank you very much. I don’t need them calling me. Oh and by the way if you’re underwater and are trying to refinance good luck with that. This bill would do nothing to help in that regard.

      You sound like shill for the very corporations that are only interested in milking more money out people. I for one have had it with this kind of mindset.

    • TomK in Boston

      Are you a mouthpiece of the scam artists, or simply an innocent dupe?

    • JustSayin

      So… by your twisted logic, if someone somewhere needs to be called they cannot make that decision with the company on an individual basis, but ALL of us have to be subjected to corporate abuse to make that happen? 

    • Are You Smoking Something?

      LOL, Really? Part of the whole Do Not Call thing supports calling consumers who have done business with them in the last 18 months. Surely an airline ticket was not booked over 18 months previously. A scrip refill, etc. 

      Please share some of what you are smoking.

    • Lynn

      How about the consumer calling the airline or going online on their ipad touch or iphone to check to see if their flight is cancelled/running on-time, etc. ?  Let’s leave the choice to the consumer:  if they want to opt in for these call notifications, they can choose to give their # out to specific companies for a specific purpose;  if they don’t, they won’t.  I’m on the “do not call” list for my landline phone, but companies I do business with can still call to offer me their latest “deal”.  The only thing that works is keeping my old-fashioned answering machine hooked up to my landline – and never picking up the phone until I hear who it is. 

    • Revnole

      Corporate troll.

    • FU_TrollWHoRES


  • LT

    i already get these annoying , and costly calls – not everyone has unlimited minutes

  • Kristina S.

    It sounds like situations of emergency where it’s necessary to reach someone on their cell phone, we already have a system in place to arrange that call.  This bill would open up many other purposes to make calls to cell phones that are not needed and would be better serviced by an email. 

    Anyone avoiding debt will not answer the phone from unknown numbers.  And will debt collectors be allowed to call family members of the person in debt?  We used to get calls at home from people looking for my Uncle who ran away when I was young.

  • Anonymous

    Bill collectors can already call you and do, whether you are the person they really want or not.  I get frequent robocalls which I have learned  to ignore.

  • Charlcie

    What about the “No Call” list?
    My number started as my land line and is now my cell number got robo calls and others even though I listed it on the national and Oregon’s “no call” list.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not just bill collectors, although they would use it.  It’s also advertisers who want it for the same reason: to make money.

  • Roy Mac

    Your guest, the shyster phone co. flack, says, “there’s nothing in this legislation that allows companies to share your phone #.”  Might be true, I don’t know.  What I DO know is that there’s nothing in any law that allows recipients of confidential information to share it with whomever they damn well please.  They just do it and dare someone to call them on it.  Tell me the last time anyone was penalized for selling collections of personal information they had collected under the same circumstances…You can’t.

  • Lynn

    How about an “opt in” choice – if you want to give your cell phone # to a company, go ahead.  But don’t tell me that I have to call some # and “opt out” – I’m paying for the privacy of this service!  John Abell has it right!!

  • Rlsteiner

    Let’s get real about the need for FEDEX and others to call me on my cell phone.  The reality is that most deliveries are paid for using a credit card. Most credit card transactions require the use of a valid street address.  Most of the examples provided by the advocates are poor examples.  If I want my doctor’s office to call me on my cell phone, I will give them my number.  I still have a land line and DO NOT want the same access to my cell phone, which is used the third most frequently of my three phone numbers.  I voluntarily give my CELL phone number to airlines for flight delay information.

    While I find myself frustrated with the inability for consumers to get cell phone numbers for other cell phone users, I am vehemently opposed to having anyone have access to my cell phone number without my permission.  I have been through the harrassment of receiving calls from bill collectors who were trying to reach the husband of the woman from whom I purchased my home.  I received no fewer from 10 messages on three different occasions when a bill collector was trying to reach someone who had not lived in my home for almost five years. This is ridiculous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=531466539 Stefan Chex

    Nope, I just set my phone to send all unknown and unlisted calls in my contact book straight to voicemail. problem solved. 

  • Lefty2302

    Advice to the corporate bought-and-paid-for politicians, dont even THINK of caving to this one.  lol u will cause a national mutiny.

  • Lefty2303

    All corporations are corrupt and will abuse this.  Best not to believe a single word that comes out of the mouths of corporate reps or their paid spokespeople(flacks)

  • Piksaki

    Personally, I have enough trouble getting multiple auto dialing from my cell phone carrier asking if I want to add more items to my billing.  I have a small limited minutes on my plan.  Any added marketing calls will subtract my usuable minutes.  The companies that are calling are not paying for my bill, I am.    I have a cell phone for emergencies only.  Not personal calls. 

    Is congress getting a kick back from the companies that are lobbying for this bill?


  • Babs

    I guess this is where I stop answering my cell phone.
    Telemarketing has to be one of the worst curses of the modern era.
    Robo phoning should be outlawed, never mind permitted on cell phones.

  • RChicago

    I’m sure the lobbyist have a lot to do with this since congress and the lobbyist go hand in hand. Congress is employed by “us” as we pay their salary. I don’t understand why we continue to let them do this – cater to big business while we get screwed. No other employer would tolerate this from their employees.

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    Somewhat related to this issue:  Sen Pat Toomey (Republican) requires your phone number to E-mail him. Some public servant – let him know that’s an invasion of privacy.  http://www.toomey.senate.gov/   Not even Nixon, either Bush or Santorum required your phone number to E-mail him!

  • Michele

    The examples the trade-association rep is using are so flimsy and ridiculous. The consent should always lay with the cell-phone owner not a business. Period.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Will EVERYONE, the corporate CEOs, the lobbyiests, the robocallers, EVERYONE, that wants this to happen, Post YOUR private, you ALWAYS answer, EMERGENCY, office, home, mistress’s, boy-toy’s, ALL FAMILY MEMBERS’, the bought politicians’, their familys’, 24/7, vacation, holiday, 365-day per year, for the next 30 years, easily accessible to the entire world public, with a 10-or less, payment of $1,000 per call payment to ANYONE that calls you, for ANY reason?
       Until 5 years of continued following of the above listed terms, please forget your plans for this attrocity!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    WHEN you get callls like this, try this answer;

       Did you expect to sell me anything, by calling me to agrievate me about your sales pitch?  You have just cut any business that I don’t have to do with you, and further calls will only irritate me further!

  • Ameanawy

    This classic of the congress to disguise a devious interest driven bill as a something for the welfare of the public.  Do they (congress) think that all the public are so stupid.  Stay away from my cell phone, or incorporate in the bill that the whole monthly phone bill will be divided between the calling companies, regardless of the nature of the business.  We cry about health care cost, and it was the congress who allowed for direct patient advertisement, which led to an astronomical increase in prescription medications, some physicians are insecure and most are afraid of being sued or loose their patient.

  • Lobsterman

    We should have some privacy.  I wouldn’t pick up the call if I didn’t know who was calling.  Cell phone customers should be provided the cell phone numbers of business owners and be allowed to call them up to five times per day.

  • Henry Pinkerton

    This loads up my mailbox and wastes my minutes with their robocalls.  I own my cellphone and want to dictate how I use it and who uses it.  Its primary use for me is outgoing calls when I do not have access to my landline which offers me better service, simpler uses and the option of using it to FAX.  I have no-call on both phones.  I still receive robo calls from non-profits, political organizations, and businesses I had previously engaged.  I would block all the ones I don’t want, but some of them on the caller ID are “unknown caller”, which makes them impossible to block.  The history of the abuse of robocalls way outweighs any service they may provide.  The post office distributes product and service information at bargain rates; IT should be used for that purpose.  I do respond to “junk mail” at a rate most companies consider profitable (about 1%). Increase the use of P.O., not robocalls (often made from offshore or foreign countries); the P.O. is 100% USA, could use the business and would do it efficiently and evoke a favorable and profitable response.

  • Mat Bastian

    Fed Ex/UPS doesn’t have a contractual relationship with the receiver of a package.  I can’t, as the recipient of a UPS package, change the terms of a delivery.  Only the sender has that flexibility.  I had a package en route to a faulty, mistyped address from a sender.  I called UPS to change the routing of the package.  They said they could not act on my request.  It was up to the seller to have that communication with me then up to them to change that routing info.  This whole Fed Ex arguement smells like fish. Red pickeled herring.

  • Bin

    Whoever believes the slick lobbyist Waltzman deserves to get non-stop calls on their cell phone. Once again, the f**ing corporate shills are maneuvering to sell us out. Tell the damned congressmen who sponsor this that you will not vote for them. Stand up and act to stop government takeover by the corporations.

  • California2real1633

    my minutes are gone due to one company who promises to take my phone off their list       Im out of minutes now   what can I do?

Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment