AG Zoeller urges FCC to uphold telephone privacy;  block trade group efforts to add loopholes to robocall ban


    INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller today met with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging the agency to block efforts by industry groups to weaken federal telephone privacy laws.

    The American Bankers Association (ABA) and the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) recently proposed changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that would create exceptions to the ban on robocalls to consumers’ cell phones, likely resulting in more unwanted calls.

    Zoeller and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, along with the attorneys general of Illinois, New York, Tennessee and Utah, voiced their opposition to these changes in a formal letter sent to the FCC last week.

    “Allowing industry groups to chip away at our country’s telephone privacy laws is bad for consumers,” Zoeller said. “It’s the state attorneys general who hear endless complaints from their citizens about unwanted calls and who are responsible for prosecuting bad actors. These lobbying attempts will give violators more legal loopholes to avoid penalty for invading peoples’ privacy.”

    The TCPA is one of two federal laws aimed at reducing the number of unwanted telemarketing calls to consumers’ phone lines. Pursuant to the TCPA, automated calls or “robocalls” and text messages to consumers’ cellphones are unlawful unless the consumer has given “prior express consent.”

    The ABA’s petition asks for exceptions to the “prior express consent” rule, allowing them to robocall people in certain situations, and the CBA’s petition aims to add legal protection to callers who claim they robocalled the wrong person.

    Zoeller said these proposed rule changes would only make it easier for telemarketers to violate consumers’ telephone privacy rights.

    He said telephone privacy violators often say they called the wrong number in attempt to avoid penalties. One of the largest volumes of complaints the Attorney General’s Office receives, for example, is about debt collectors who have the wrong number. Zoeller proposed legislation this year that aims to improve transparency in the debt-collection process and curb the amount of illegitimate and harassing calls made to consumers.

    Allowing trade groups to make piece-meal changes and exceptions to the robocall ban, Zoeller said, would reverse the progress that has been made in recent years to reduce unwanted and harassing calls, which remains a top priority for many Hoosiers. The Indiana Attorney General’s Telephone Privacy Division received nearly 13,500 complaints in 2014 about unwanted calls, more than half of which were about robocalls.

    Zoeller reminded Hoosiers to sign up for Indiana’s Do Not Call list, which helps to deter unwanted and fraudulent calls and text messages, by visiting or calling 1.888.834.9969. Consumers who are registered on the Do Not Call list and receive an unwanted call can file a complaint by visiting

    A copy of Zoeller’s letter to the FCC is attached.


      • I know, right? Any lover of liberty knows that groups like the American Bankers Association and their freedom loving members only have the best interest of their fellow citizens in mind…

    1. That was sarcasm. I hope POV, AL sharpie, Tommy Romo, pressanykey, Brandon m, and Indiana Enoch all get 5 robocalls per hour in celebration of “free market” principles.

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