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Communication Law Specialist: Don't Expect Student Debt Robocalls To Last

Matthew Kenwrick

If you owe student debt, collectors are able to leave you automated messages on your cell phone – at least for now.

A federal budget law with language lifting a ban on debt collection robocalls to cell phones passed Monday. It conflicts with the Indiana do-not-call law’s ban on robocalls that aren’t for school or work purposes.

University of Hartford communication law professor Paul Siegel says ever since the technology came out, there have been reasons to ban all robocalling.

“I have no idea how that got placed in the bill and I see no logic to it and if I were a betting man, I would guess it’s going to be removed in the next few months,” Siegel says.

But, he says this may be an isolated incident.

“I think the public outrage about this particular issue is going to result in its being reversed and I don’t think there’s going to be enough time between now and when that happens for other for-profit entities to be claiming that, ‘We should have an exemption as well,’” Siegel says.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says via press release he’s “adamantly opposed” to the provision and says his office receives a significant number of consumer complaints about incorrect or harassing debt collection calls.

Siegel says due to the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, the state wouldn’t have a good chance in court against the federal law, but he says Zoeller is taking the right approach in lobbying legislators.