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.”

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