Data, Accountability Needed to Correct the Course on Illegal Robocalls

Stakeholder feedback in comments to the FCC shows broad call blocking concerns continue.

2/11/2020 8:00 AM

FCCNewsAdvocacy
Data, Accountability Needed to Correct the Course on Illegal Robocalls

Stakeholders in the accounts receivable management industry can show the true impact of call blocking and labeling tools by the numbers.

Several commenters responding to a public notice to inform the Federal Communications Commission’s first staff report on call blocking noted the need for clear remedies for blocked calls.

One member told ACA International about 39% of its outbound calls were being blocked in the fall of 2019, including 97,006 blocked calls in just one-week last November.

The first round of comments on the report were due Jan. 29 and reply comments, which ACA International is working on to provide some additional information about industry harm as a result of overbroad blocking efforts, are due Feb. 28.

Commenters to date include phone carriers, trade groups, callers, including ACA International’s members, and companies offering call blocking tools.

In summary, the comments include:

  • The FCC should require that carriers report the number of instances of problems reported by callers.
  • Caller ID authentication, not random call blocking, is needed to resolve the issue of illegal robocalls.
  • The number of illegal calls, as well as the number of inadvertently blocked legitimate and legal calls, should be monitored to determine the effectiveness of call blocking and labeling programs.
  • Collecting better data and holding voice service providers accountable can help reduce illegal robocalls while protecting legitimate callers. ACA supports the proposals of many consumers to collect better data.
  • To collect better data, voice service providers should be required to implement procedural reforms.

In its first round of comments ACA strongly urged the FCC to consider providing more uniform requirements for unblocking calls. ACA also outlined examples of how the accounts receivable management industry is being harmed by faulty blocking and mislabeling and provides suggestions to the FCC to improve the environment for legitimate callers. New requirements in the TRACED Act mandate that carriers provide transparency and redress options for callers and directs unblocking to be done at no cost to callers.

ACA continues to seek data from members to inform the FCC of the impact of current call blocking efforts.

The FCC’s review of the call blocking tools, the Caller ID Authentication and SHAKEN/STIR, is to inform a report required through the commission’s approval of call blocking as the default option in an effort to reduce automated, unwanted robocalls.

Here’s a timeline and background on the FCC’s consideration of call blocking and labeling rules:

A declaratory ruling released by the FCC on June 6, 2019, allows voice service providers to block illegal and “unwanted” calls as the default before they reach consumers’ phones. The ruling, which went into effect immediately upon its release in June, requires providers to give consumers the opportunity to opt-out of the call blocking service, ACA previously reported.

The ruling also directs the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to study and report on the current state of call blocking tools and the recent public notice outlines the need for public comment on:

  • Availability of call-blocking solutions;
  • Effectiveness of call-blocking solutions;
  • Impact of FCC actions; and
  • Impact of call-blocking solutions on 911 services and public safety.

The 2020 Call Blocking Report due in June 2020 informed by these comments, according to the FCC, will address:

  • The availability to consumers of call-blocking solutions;
  • The effectiveness of various categories of call-blocking tools; and
  • Direct consumer costs associated with the tools.

The FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) will consider a recommendation on the effectiveness of call blocking tools during a special meeting Feb. 13.

Related content from ACA International:

ACA Comments Outline Concerns with Legitimate Businesses’ Calls that are Being Blocked and Mislabeled

Call to Action – Data Needed for FCC Comments


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

Data, Accountability Needed to Correct the Course on Illegal Robocalls

Stakeholders in the accounts receivable management industry can show the true impact of call blocking and labeling tools by the numbers.

Several commenters responding to a public notice to inform the Federal Communications Commission’s first staff report on call blocking noted the need for clear remedies for blocked calls.

One member told ACA International about 39% of its outbound calls were being blocked in the fall of 2019, including 97,006 blocked calls in just one-week last November.

The first round of comments on the report were due Jan. 29 and reply comments, which ACA International is working on to provide some additional information about industry harm as a result of overbroad blocking efforts, are due Feb. 28.

Commenters to date include phone carriers, trade groups, callers, including ACA International’s members, and companies offering call blocking tools.

In summary, the comments include:

  • The FCC should require that carriers report the number of instances of problems reported by callers.
  • Caller ID authentication, not random call blocking, is needed to resolve the issue of illegal robocalls.
  • The number of illegal calls, as well as the number of inadvertently blocked legitimate and legal calls, should be monitored to determine the effectiveness of call blocking and labeling programs.
  • Collecting better data and holding voice service providers accountable can help reduce illegal robocalls while protecting legitimate callers. ACA supports the proposals of many consumers to collect better data.
  • To collect better data, voice service providers should be required to implement procedural reforms.

In its first round of comments ACA strongly urged the FCC to consider providing more uniform requirements for unblocking calls. ACA also outlined examples of how the accounts receivable management industry is being harmed by faulty blocking and mislabeling and provides suggestions to the FCC to improve the environment for legitimate callers. New requirements in the TRACED Act mandate that carriers provide transparency and redress options for callers and directs unblocking to be done at no cost to callers.

ACA continues to seek data from members to inform the FCC of the impact of current call blocking efforts.

The FCC’s review of the call blocking tools, the Caller ID Authentication and SHAKEN/STIR, is to inform a report required through the commission’s approval of call blocking as the default option in an effort to reduce automated, unwanted robocalls.

Here’s a timeline and background on the FCC’s consideration of call blocking and labeling rules:

A declaratory ruling released by the FCC on June 6, 2019, allows voice service providers to block illegal and “unwanted” calls as the default before they reach consumers’ phones. The ruling, which went into effect immediately upon its release in June, requires providers to give consumers the opportunity to opt-out of the call blocking service, ACA previously reported.

The ruling also directs the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to study and report on the current state of call blocking tools and the recent public notice outlines the need for public comment on:

  • Availability of call-blocking solutions;
  • Effectiveness of call-blocking solutions;
  • Impact of FCC actions; and
  • Impact of call-blocking solutions on 911 services and public safety.

The 2020 Call Blocking Report due in June 2020 informed by these comments, according to the FCC, will address:

  • The availability to consumers of call-blocking solutions;
  • The effectiveness of various categories of call-blocking tools; and
  • Direct consumer costs associated with the tools.

The FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) will consider a recommendation on the effectiveness of call blocking tools during a special meeting Feb. 13.

Related content from ACA International:

ACA Comments Outline Concerns with Legitimate Businesses’ Calls that are Being Blocked and Mislabeled

Call to Action – Data Needed for FCC Comments


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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