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Consumer Reports hails Supreme Court decision upholding landmark 1991 law protecting consumers against unwanted robocalls

Supreme Court decision also knocks out an ill-conceived exception for robocalls to collect federal debts.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a big win for consumers, the Supreme Court upheld the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the landmark 1991 law that prohibits nearly all non-emergency robocalls to cell phones without the consumer’s consent. The Supreme Court also struck down a provision that was slipped into the 2015 budget bill, that weakened the TCPA by allowing debt collectors to make such calls when the debt is owed to, or even just guaranteed by, the federal government. Under the exception passed by Congress, debt collectors could have made harassing robocalls to millions of Americans with education, mortgage, tax, and other federally-backed debt.

George Slover, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumer Reports, praised the decision. “On policy as well as legal grounds, this is exactly the right result. Congress never should have allowed that exemption for debt collection robocalls in the first place. The Supreme Court has rightly eliminated this loophole in the TCPA that could subject consumers to millions of unwanted calls, and we thank the thousands of consumers who sent messages to Congress opposing it.”

Contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@consumer.org