CU Joins Robocall Strike Force to Push For an End to Robocalls

Maureen Mahoney
Public Policy Fellow

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Amazing things can happen when consumers stand together to work for change. On Friday, thanks to the pressure that over 600,000 members of the End Robocalls campaign have placed on the phone companies, Consumers Union, along with 33 companies, the FTC, and the DOJ convened at FCC’s headquarters in Washington, DC to tackle the robocall problem.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler kicked off the meeting, pointing out in his prepared remarks that  “Americans are fed up with robocalls,” and urging phone companies to take quick action. “Let’s start solving the issues immediately. And let’s improve it tomorrow. And then make it even better the day after tomorrow.”

The Strike Force committed to “conform” to Caller ID verification standards when they are completed. This will address the problem of fraudulent call “spoofing” – when a caller transmits incorrect information on Caller ID to trick the consumer into picking up the phone. And they have committed to adopting “viable” solutions to address Voice over Internet Protocol, or “VoIP” calls (typically, fraudulent calls originate on VoIP). They’ve vowed to submit a detailed plan for achieving these goals to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler by October 19th.

Still, as Chairman Wheeler pointed out last month, this work toward long-term solutions to the robocall problem should not preclude phone companies from offering customers robocall-blocking tools immediately. Marvin explained, “As the Strike Force works to improve industry efforts to combat unwanted calls, the phone companies should start offering their customers the best call-blocking protection currently available.” For example, since January, Time Warner Cable (TWC) has offered the call-blocking service Nomorobo for free directly to its customers through their customer portals.

Clearly, phone companies have the technology to address the unwanted robocall problem. Now, the FCC has put them on notice that they need to make real progress – and fast. We will be watching closely and will continue to stand up for consumers to ensure that they see effective solutions on a reasonable timeline.

We sincerely thank you for everything you have done to bring about this task force. And if you haven’t joined the campaign already, please click here to sign up, and alert your family and friends. Let’s keep working together to see an end to the robocall problem!

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