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Companies ask FCC not to regulate ringless calls

Florida residents almost universally dislike marketing telephone calls and robocalls, and a new technology could send calls from credit card companies and debt collectors as well as other parties straight to voicemail. The companies that use the technology have petitioned the Federal Communications Commission in an attempt to avoid regulation under the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act. They believe that regulation should not apply because the calls do not cause a telephone to ring.

Proponents consider the process less disruptive than making people’s telephones ring at what could be inopportune times. The Republican National Committee agrees with the position because regulation could affect its political campaigns.

A representative of the National Consumer Law Center, however, wants regulation. She said that dealing with voicemails annoys consumers even more because they are more time-consuming to process than a regular call. She called the ringless voicemails communication without consent. Without regulation, companies could send unlimited messages to people. The chairman of the FCC acknowledged that robocalls represent the number one source of consumer complaints.

People behind on their financial obligations often receive repetitive messages from debt collectors. One way to end this type of harassment is filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. Under federal law, the filing puts at least a temporary halt to these types of activities as well as to attempts at wage garnishments and bank account levies. Chapter 13 allows people to reorganize their debts and repay them pursuant to a court-approved plan that lasts either three or five years depending upon a debtor’s income. An lawyer can outline the eligibility requirements associated with this method of debt relief.

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