Breaking News: 45 State Attorneys General Demand Phone Companies Put an End to Robocalls

Maureen Mahoney
Public Policy Fellow

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Forty-five state attorneys general are standing with you by sending a strong message to the phone companies: robocalls have to stop now!

Today, attorneys general from forty-five states demanded that five top phone companies provide effective call blocking tools to their customers. The attorneys general directed their letters to the heads of AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

The AGs are taking action because of the overwhelming number of complaints they received from consumers. The AGs explained: “Every year, our offices are flooded with consumer complaints pleading for a solution to stop intrusive robocalls. Your organizations are now poised to offer your customers the help they need. We urge you to act without delay.”

The announcement follows the FCC’s June 18 decision that cleared the way for phone companies to offer these tools. The FCC clarified that carriers not only can, but should offer call-blocking technology to consumers.

The AGs played a major role in that decision. Phone companies had long said that legal barriers prevented them from offering these tools. In response, thirty-nine attorneys general asked the FCC to clarify the legal issues surrounding call-blocking technology. 50,000 EndRobocall activists signed a petition in support of the AG’s letter to help push it through the regulatory process.

Still, the phone companies have been reluctant to take action. CTIA, which represents the wireless carriers, deflected responsibility: “No one wants robocalls, and the attention to stop them needs to focus on those bad actors who are willfully and blatantly ignoring the laws.”

The truth is, the Do Not Call list has failed to stop unwanted robocalls, and it’s time for the carriers to take action. The technology is available to address this problem – for example, the Canadian phone company Primus offers free robocall-blocking technology to its landline and broadband customers.

The EndRobocalls.org campaign is strongly supportive of the AGs in their work to end robocalls. Since February, End Robocalls campaign has been putting pressure on the major carriers to offer free call-blocking technology. Help us fight to stop unwanted robocalls by signing our petition at EndRobocalls.org!

View all Campaign Updates

30 responses to “Breaking News: 45 State Attorneys General Demand Phone Companies Put an End to Robocalls”

  1. Sam Vucina says:

    About 8 months ago our old cordless phone system bit the dust. My wife bought a new Panasonic system model KX-TG6841, of course I had to set it up. In doing so I discovered I can block unwanted calls with it. The caller’s number must show up on the caller I/D. Then you go into received calls and find the offending number press a few keys and block that number. Works like a charm, since we got these phones and I entered all the unwanted numbers we’re getting fewer unwanted calls. I think when they get cut off a few times your number gets removed from their list. I set it up so the phones ring once but it can be set for no ring. You will still get robocalls but once you block that number you won’t get a call from that number again, except for one ring if its set that way. I set it for one ring so I know when it’s an unwanted call also I hope it annoys the caller. You can set the phone system to block up to 250 numbers.
    I feel if the government gets involved in stopping robocalls they will be sure to leave plenty of loopholes so these vermin can crawl back in. Also it won’t take too long for these people to find a way around whatever block the phone companies put in place. Good luck

  2. I Interrupt them and state, “Before you continue, by law, I have to let you know that this line is being recorded”!! Works every time!!

  3. Bob Tardif says:

    When you get a nuisance call, I suggest you ask the caller what he or she is wearing or if they are nude. If the caller persists, ask them what their gender preference is, or, if they persist, ask impertinent questions about genitalia, or their religious beliefs, or the rumors you’ve heard about occupations or prison experience of members of their family. It’s also fun to ask them to hold while you answer another phone call! In short, take over the phone call as if you had called them, and force them to be more annoyed than you. Have fun at their expense.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I have Windstream and they have offer call blocking, unfortunately it is a maximum of 12 numbers. Not enough to block all the robocalls I receive. I am also on a Do Not Call list. Shudder to think what it would be like if I wasn’t. The charities are beginning to be the biggest problem with the same ones calling 2-3 times a day.

  5. Kelly says:

    For a year now I have used this wonderful little device I purchased from Amazon. It is the CPR Call Blocker V202.
    Made in the UK it is a life changing device for those of us plagued by unwanted callers. I urge everyone to research it and read the reviews on Amazon to make sure your phones are compatible. I paid $80 and I would have paid twice that now that I know the difference it makes. I made the investment because I was pretty sure the phone companies were not interested in consumer satisfaction and even if they comply with the FCC directive, they’ll find a way to charge us for it.

  6. Margaret Bellman says:

    I have a medical alert pendant and have been told by the
    company that they cannot contact me through their machine
    if I call in an emergency . Can anyone tell me if this is so, or
    0if there is a way to enable blocking robo calls and still have a
    usable medical alert system?

  7. BN Wilson says:

    Most all of the “robo calls” I receive have spoofed caller I.D. and phone number. They like to use area codes local to where they are directing the calls to, people are more likely to pickup. Most of these calls are also VOIP and sometimes Google voice. if you didn’t know, there are a number of companies that advertize this type of service. Just Google VOIP services, or call center services., and call spoofing services. While you can block a number, even if it is an invalid number, or as the phone Co’s will say in their message if you call one of the “fake” numbers, ” ( “sit tone” the number you have dialed is no longer in service or has been changed—-).these call centers frequently change their caller I.D. and spoofed phone number If you can program your caller block message, (my phone just gives a busy signal on a blocked number), (Google “sit tone”, place the sit tone at the first of your message., that will signal their autodialer that they reached an invalid number, and will take your number off their caller list, at least that spam caller !!!

  8. Gill says:

    Yes, it is aggravating and frustrating that noting can be done that blocks the calls. You can however, make it expensive to continue to call you. Answer the call and spend as much time as possible with the caller to waste their time! The caller is paid by the number of successful transactions and the company plays the numbers game. If one deal is made for every 500 calls it becomes profitable. Not everyone has the time or inclination, so treat your self to some fun and games! See how long you can string the caller along – make it a game that you will min! Push the frustration of onto the caller. My favorite – ask to speak to the manager to clarify one of your obscure questions.

  9. D Ashby says:

    I have been amazed and angered on the occasions I have called my local telephone monopoly (AT&T) to report robocalls that are in obvious violation of federal and state laws, as well as AT&T’s terms of service — only to be told by telco service reps (who are doing as they are told by telco brass) that unfortunately there is nothing the phone company can do to stop these calls.
    Yeah, right. This from the same telcos that can deliver an itemized bill for every call placed on our phone line, and whose transmission network is used to convey the illegal junk robocalls they claim to be unable to track.

    What–? Telcos don’t issue bills to robocallers running on their networks? We’re to believe the telcos have no knowledge where and how these calls are made? That they are technologically incapable of tracing these calls to their originating telco accounts?
    Even when I offer to give them the originating number, the telco reps claims they are helpless to do anything about it.
    They advise me to file a police report, and then, maybe, the local police department will get a warrant for a phone tap on my line.
    It does not have to be that complicated. The phone record traces sufficient to identify the robocallers already exist, and the telcos have them.

    The real question is: Why isn’t Congress and the FCC mandating that phone companies cooperate with law enforcement to shut down robocall operations?

    Do robocall firms pay enough bribes (political contributions) to buy protection?
    Inquiring minds would really like to know.

    Consider as well that these are the same telcos who fully cooperate with the NSA in intercepting and transmitting a copy of every phone call US citizens make or receive. Our phone calls are being recorded and stored en masse at the NSA megafacility in Bluffdale Utah. Read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

    I would like to see a well-documented article from this anti-robocall coalition that explains the technological facts about telephone activity tracking, to dispel once and for all the obscurantist myths and outright lies that Telcos tell their customers to evade responsibility for enforcing their own terms of service, or for complying with federal telecommunication laws that declare unsolicited robotic junk calls illegal.

  10. I don’t have a problem despite numerous robo-calls all day. I let my answering machine screen the calls. My outgoing message is as follows: “You have reached the phone of Don and Lona. If you are a friend or business associate, please leave a message at the sound of the tone. If you are a policitican, charity, or someone violating the Do Not Call list, please do not call again. If you want to skip this obnoxious message in the future just press the # key and start talking.” Almost never do they leave a message. Legitimate calls, I pick up after I know who it is.

    • RG says:

      Thanks for the tip, I have changed my home office line message – it may help with some of the calls – so sick of not being able to answer my phone – 99% of calls go through voicemail now.

  11. Brian says:

    This will help tremendously at the small business I work for, won’t have to put customers on hold to answer the other ringing phone lines only to find out it is a robo call.

  12. Mickey the Smickey says:

    I’m on the “Do not call list” and I still get ROBO calls all the time from charities & political groups. I tell them “I DO NOT MAKE DONATIONS OVER THE PHONE PERIOD!!!” Then hang up…. but the next day the cycle repeats. I’m at my whit’s end.

    • I’m stick and tired of robo caools. i had put my name on the do-not-call many years ago and it lasted for several years then begam going away Oh, well

      I Recently added FAX to my phone line. I had 611 change their time to voice-mail answer to ten rings, but they’ve not done it because can’t get anything right.

      What I want to do is this: NO telco voicemail, only my known voice mail. No messages to me if they don’t show caller I (not jut just the number. I more people did this, then companies would start calling with thei true company name.

    • Ginny says:

      Mickey,

      I believe that when Congress passed the law authorizing the Do Not Call list, they exempted political campaigns ( of course! ) and charities from the law. Most legitimate charities don’t call on the phone any longer in my experience, but generally use e-mail to notify you of their fundraisers, urgent needs etc. Sometimes they even do something very old fashioned and send you a letter by US mail! I love it, it doesn’t ring or make my phone beep.

  13. Michael Stageman says:

    In my opinion as I also suffer from the calls from the point of harassment and I am wondering could I sue Verizon and create a class action against them for aiding and abetting harassment? Just a thought any lawyers out there?? like to comment?

  14. Cheri Kirby says:

    I have gotten to the point that I hate it when the phone rings, literally; I feel my heart sink every time the phone rings. I am really sick of it! I am so relieved to have gotten this email sent to me. I commend the Attorney Generals for the work that they are doing to get the ROBO calls stopped. I long for the days when we were excited to hear the phone ring knowing it would be a family member or friend that was calling. I am anxious to have the interfering and interrupting calls stopped for ever. I want my days to be like they used to be, quiet with no interruptions from all of the unnecessary ROBO calls. Bless all of the Attorney Generals and everyone else that is working on this petition.

  15. Joe says:

    The FCC’s approved propsoal does not require the phone companies to block robocalls and it certainly doesn’t say they have to do it for free. The FCC only says they can do it. That’s why the phone companies aren’t doing anything.

  16. Dean Fadden says:

    stop robo calls

  17. Chuck Baldwin says:

    I get the identical recorded call every day, sometimes twice a day, the only difference being the person’s name and city/state (per caller-id). They come from many different city/states, but the messages are identical, stating in part: “This is [name] of Cardholder Services … urgent you contact us regarding lowering your interest rates … Economic Stimulus … this is your final notice…..”
    I’ve gotten over 1500 of these “final notices” over the last 5 years. I pressed the button to be taken off their list, and even talked to a live person complaining, but the messages keep coming. THIS IS HARASSMENT, plain & simple.

    • A strange thing happened, just a week or 2 after my previous comment on 7/23/15. The robocalls abruptly stopped coming, and i didn’t get a single one for 2-3 weeks. But as of a few days ago, they started back, every day, just as abruptly as they had stopped. I wonder what’s going on?

  18. Roger Friend says:

    I have gotten so many calls from “Rachael” from Card Services, I feel neglected when I don’t get at least two calls a day from her. I used to get mad when I would stop what I was doing and answer the phone only to find Rachael was calling again. But I’ve gotten soooo many calls that I’ve just become numb to them.

    FCC – Please Help!

    • Chuck Baldwin says:

      Yes, Roger, some of my calls are from Rachel also. I also get several from “Carmen” in Atlanta. I hope this mess can be resolved soon.

  19. Carl A Thompson says:

    I wouldn’t buy something over the phone when I get a call because I don’t know if the calls are legitimate. Therefore, I would rather not have the calls at all.

  20. Ani Willwe says:

    Robo calls are a pain in the tutu!

  21. Danny J Petersen Sr says:

    I am on the no call list and it does not seam to help.

  22. Earl Roney says:

    Lately way to many early morning calls from Private Name Private Number and AL Tegra Health

    • Ginny says:

      If you have an I-phone 5s, you can already block calls. I believe Verizon & Sprint also have something similar. On the I-phone, click the phone symbol and then click recents. Look to the right of the robo-caller’s number, after the day or time, and you’ll see an I in a circle. Click on that and a new screen will come up; scroll to the bottom and you will see those wonderful words, block this caller! Click on that and you will get a prompt to confirm that you want to block the caller. Confirm and you’re done!
      I no longer answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize, from outside my area code. I wait a few minutes to see if a voice mail message is left. If not they are blocked!

      • Red says:

        I work for over 30 notary signing companies as a Notary Signing Agent. NSA’s notarize and process mortgage loan documents. The frustration and aggravation created by answering these calls when you’re expecting a paying notary assignment is anger inducing. The time spent in even blocking these calls has caused me the loss of a paying job. I many times have been answering one of these calls when a paying one is trying to come in. If you don’t answer the call right away, they move on to another notary. At the end of the day I save these calls under advertising so if the number shows up again I don’t answer it. I have several hundred in contacts on my iPhone and add 3-4 everyday. I applaud every effort of whatever it takes to get rid of these. They upset me more and more every day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *