FCC Order with Safe Harbor and Caller Protections Takes Effect in October

The order in part provides safeguards against erroneous blocking of legitimate calls at no charge to callers.

9/14/2020 3:00 PM

FCCNewsAdvocacy
FCC Order with Safe Harbor and Caller Protections Takes Effect in October

An order from the Federal Communications Commission on call blocking and labeling that includes two safe harbors for voice service providers and some protections for legitimate calls will take effect Oct. 14, 2020, according to a notice on the Federal Register.

In August, ACA International and a group of joint industry trade associations filed comments urging the FCC to ensure redress options are in place for businesses experiencing call blocking and labeling. ACA advocated for redress mechanisms at no charge to callers—which is included in the order—as well as immediate call blocking notifications and prompt removal of erroneous blocks.

The safe harbors in the FCC’s order are for voice service providers that block calls in certain situations. The FCC also adopted certain measures to ensure that erroneous blocking is quickly remedied.

ACA advocated for caller protections previously which included:

  • Clarifying that voice service providers must maintain a single point of contact for blocking disputes but may also offer “a web portal, chat bot, or other electronic means of contact.”
  • The investigation and resolution of complaints must “come at no cost to the caller, so long as the complaint is made in good faith.”
  • Blocking disputes must be resolved in a “reasonable” amount of time depending on specific circumstances.
  • Confirming that these redress mechanisms are conditions for obtaining the safe harbor established in the order.

These rules both respond to voice service providers that seek assurance that their good-faith blocking will not result in liability if they inadvertently block wanted calls and implement the call blocking provisions of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, and provide safeguards against erroneous blocking, according to the FCC.

As noted, the FCC also requires that blocking providers must investigate and resolve disputes in a reasonable amount of time and at no cost to the caller, so long as the complaint is made in good faith. What amount of time is “reasonable” may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the blocking and the resolution of the blocking dispute, and pending further developments in the record blocking providers must also publish contact information clearly and conspicuously on their public-facing websites.

When a caller makes a credible claim of erroneous blocking and the voice service provider determines that the calls should not have been blocked, a voice service provider must promptly cease blocking calls from that number unless circumstances change.

Comments on the order were due by Aug. 31 and reply comments are due on or before Sept. 29, 2020. The FCC voted unanimously to adopt the order in July, ACA previously reported.

The FCC also will consider a second report and order, “Promoting Caller ID Authentication to Combat Spoofed Robocalls,” during its next meeting Sept. 30.

The report and order are part of the FCC’s work to implement the TRACED Act and promote the deployment of caller ID authentication technology to combat spoofed robocalls and will be available for public comment.

Related Content from ACA International:

FCC Adopts Call Blocking and Labeling Order with Safe Harbor and Caller Protections

Keep Lines of Communication Open: It’s Time for the FCC to Provide Redress for Lawful Callers

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org  or call (952) 926-6547.


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

FCC Order with Safe Harbor and Caller Protections Takes Effect in October

An order from the Federal Communications Commission on call blocking and labeling that includes two safe harbors for voice service providers and some protections for legitimate calls will take effect Oct. 14, 2020, according to a notice on the Federal Register.

In August, ACA International and a group of joint industry trade associations filed comments urging the FCC to ensure redress options are in place for businesses experiencing call blocking and labeling. ACA advocated for redress mechanisms at no charge to callers—which is included in the order—as well as immediate call blocking notifications and prompt removal of erroneous blocks.

The safe harbors in the FCC’s order are for voice service providers that block calls in certain situations. The FCC also adopted certain measures to ensure that erroneous blocking is quickly remedied.

ACA advocated for caller protections previously which included:

  • Clarifying that voice service providers must maintain a single point of contact for blocking disputes but may also offer “a web portal, chat bot, or other electronic means of contact.”
  • The investigation and resolution of complaints must “come at no cost to the caller, so long as the complaint is made in good faith.”
  • Blocking disputes must be resolved in a “reasonable” amount of time depending on specific circumstances.
  • Confirming that these redress mechanisms are conditions for obtaining the safe harbor established in the order.

These rules both respond to voice service providers that seek assurance that their good-faith blocking will not result in liability if they inadvertently block wanted calls and implement the call blocking provisions of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, and provide safeguards against erroneous blocking, according to the FCC.

As noted, the FCC also requires that blocking providers must investigate and resolve disputes in a reasonable amount of time and at no cost to the caller, so long as the complaint is made in good faith. What amount of time is “reasonable” may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the blocking and the resolution of the blocking dispute, and pending further developments in the record blocking providers must also publish contact information clearly and conspicuously on their public-facing websites.

When a caller makes a credible claim of erroneous blocking and the voice service provider determines that the calls should not have been blocked, a voice service provider must promptly cease blocking calls from that number unless circumstances change.

Comments on the order were due by Aug. 31 and reply comments are due on or before Sept. 29, 2020. The FCC voted unanimously to adopt the order in July, ACA previously reported.

The FCC also will consider a second report and order, “Promoting Caller ID Authentication to Combat Spoofed Robocalls,” during its next meeting Sept. 30.

The report and order are part of the FCC’s work to implement the TRACED Act and promote the deployment of caller ID authentication technology to combat spoofed robocalls and will be available for public comment.

Related Content from ACA International:

FCC Adopts Call Blocking and Labeling Order with Safe Harbor and Caller Protections

Keep Lines of Communication Open: It’s Time for the FCC to Provide Redress for Lawful Callers

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org  or call (952) 926-6547.


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

Loading...

Loading...

Scroll to Top