Get the Scoop on Political Robocalls

Maureen Mahoney
Public Policy Fellow

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Now that we’re well into the presidential primary season, we bet that many of you are getting hammered by unwanted political robocalls.

Here at the End Robocalls campaign, we often wonder whether political robocalls do more harm than good for the politicians who purchase them. We get plenty of stories from consumers like Erika, from Lacey, WA, who says: “Political [robocalls] are the worst as there is nothing a robocall is going to do except maybe change my mind to not vote for what the robocall is touting.”

Some of these political robocalls may even be illegal. Under federal law, political robocalls to your home phone are ok. But political robocalls and texts are completely illegal to your cell phone unless you have provided your prior consent! This goes for autodialed OR pre-recorded political calls to your cell.

State laws can be even more stringent. For example, the New Hampshire attorney general recently clarified that state law bans pre-recorded political calls to phone numbers registered on the federal Do Not Call list.

What should you do if you’re getting hassled by political robocalls?

  • Get a call-blocking device or service like Nomorobo. Check out Consumer Reports’ review of several landline options here. Founder Aaron Foss says that his free service automatically blocks political robocalls. Unfortunately, it’s not supported by all phone companies and it’s not yet available for cell phones. [UPDATE: Nomorobo is now available as a $5 app for iPhones] Check the supported carriers here. If you’re a Time Warner Cable voice subscriber, you can now sign up right from your online account! But if your phone plan isn’t compatible, click here to ask the top phone companies to offer you Nomorobo or a similar service, for free.
  • There are a number of apps available for download that may help protect your smartphone from unwanted robocalls. Click here for a list of these apps.
  • Contact the campaign that is calling you and ask them to stop. If they’re a legitimate organization, they should respect your wishes.
  • File a complaint with the FCC. While this won’t stop the robocalls, it will make it clear to the FCC that you’re fed up with them. This can have an important influence on policymaking in the coming months and years.

It’s simple: if you don’t want to get the calls, you shouldn’t have to receive them. Click here to join the campaign to End Robocalls!

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2 responses to “Get the Scoop on Political Robocalls”

  1. Lee says:

    I need help with robocalls that this article didn’t address: we get many calls a day on our landline from “out of area.” If you don’t pick up you get no voicemail. If you do pick up you get nothing.

  2. Harvey Fleck says:

    I use Mr Number on my cell for all the numbers my cell phone gets robocalled from. It automatically blocks it by the second ring. Also, on Samsung Galaxy S5 and beyond, there is an option to block the phone number in the contact manager

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