This week in robocall news, the highest court in the land moved to uphold the law that helps protect U.S. citizens from the scourge of robocalls. But, who in their right mind would even place such a law into jeopardy? As is often the case, political interests made what should be a universally accepted outcome cloudy. In the end, however, the day-to-day impact probably doesn’t end up mattering when we take into consideration the brazen attempts by scammy robocallers to subvert the law.
In this article, we cover:
- Why do political consultants care about debt collection robocalls?
- How will the Supreme Court’s decision impact you?
- Which call blocker is best?
This week, the Supreme Court upheld the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). However, the issue before the court was less about the original law and more about an exception added in 2015 allowing robocalls intended to collect outstanding debt owed to the government. And while the exception was meant to aid in the recovery of more than $4.2 trillion in debt, 60 million Americans were exposed to unlimited calls to collect.
Whether or not any of this sounds reasonable to you, it was brought into dispute by the American Association of Political Consultants. But what do a bunch of political consultants care about government debt collection? Well, the AAPC sought to have the entire robocall ban thrown out, opening the door for robocalls for its political campaign donations.
In the end, the court ruled in favor of neither the political consultants nor the government, which sought to have the original ban and the exception both upheld.
The court’s decision, penned by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, states that “[T]he tail (one unconstitutional provision) does not wag the dog (the rest of the codified statute or the Act as passed by Congress).”
Further, “Constitutional litigation is not a game of gotcha against Congress, where litigants can ride a discrete constitutional flaw in a statute to take down the whole, otherwise constitutional statute.”
Thus, the court ruled to throw out the 2015 exception but keep the original TCPA intact.
Will This End Robocall Scams?
(Spoilers: No, it Won’t)
It turns out Justice Neal Gorsuch preferred to throw out the entire ban, allowing debt collectors and political solicitors to robocall freely. He took this stance on the grounds that unwanted calls can be screened and blocked now much better than they were back in 1991.
Perhaps Justice Gorsuch is intimately familiar with the power of YouMail.
We aren’t picking sides here, but at the end of the day, illegal robocall scammers represent a plight against the general public. Of all robocalls received in June of 2020 in the United States, only 16 percent were payment reminders. Twenty percent were from telemarketers. A full 37 percent, however, were classified as scams, accounting for the largest category of robocalls by far.
For our interests — and those of the American public — the real issue the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches should be debating is not whether it can harass its citizens over debt or contributions, but how to end robocall scams once and for all.
Really though, we’ve got this pretty well covered. They can feel free to address any one of a number of other hot button issues right now.
What Happens Next?
The TCPA actually says you can’t call people without consent. With the 2015 exception, congress allowed the government (or people calling on behalf of the government) to make debt collection calls without the consent of the people they were calling. In other words, the government’s right to collect its money outweighed an individual’s right to privacy.
Hey, where have we heard that before? Oh right, when we pay taxes every year.
However, now that the 2015 exception has been thrown out, will the calls go away?
When it has consent, the government will keep calling. More and more loan applications and documents contain language allowing for robocalls and robotexts with information about the loan. For those who received loans more recently, this language was likely included and those calls will continue. For those fortunate enough to have never given their consent, they are the lucky ones who benefit from the court’s decision.
Obviously, none of this makes a loan obligation go away. It simply means the government must mail its debt notices or use real humans to bug its debtors by phone — still perfectly legal, but raising the cost of servicing those loans.
So, will see fewer robocalls in general? Yes. But they aren’t going away, not by a longshot. Call blocking services, such as YouMail, are still monumentally helpful to make the remaining robocalls go away. Unfortunately, we can’t make the headache of owing money to the government go away.
Which Call Blocker Is Best?
While other call blockers may alert you to those remaining scam calls as you receive them, YouMail has gone about solving that problem at the source. Rather than just screening your calls, YouMail convinces scammers that your phone number is out of service. Once they think your number is dead, they’ll stop calling. Time is money to these people, and they don’t have time to pursue dead ends.
Once they stop calling, there are no more rings, no more hang-ups, and no more of those particularly annoying voicemail messages in a foreign tongue (they couldn’t even scam me if I wanted them too; I don’t speak that language!).
YouMail keeps a list of up to 500,000 active unwanted robocall numbers. Users can add numbers to that list too. When a number from that list calls, your phone doesn’t ring, we can play an out-of-service message, and YouMail will hang up on them. Considering that almost 50 percent of calls received are unwanted, our call blocking effectively screens and eliminates a vast majority of bad callers.
And to top it all off, YouMail is free. Quit waiting for the government to solve your problems. It’s time to take back your privacy yourself.