Another Win for Consumers

Few things rankle customers as much as unwanted calls and texts. Thanks to the passage of the Telephone Customer Protection Act, consumers can choose which calls they want and do not want. Yet, in order to maintain those protections, we have to continue to close loopholes and enable consumers. The responsibility to protect consumers from robocalls that can be both costly and intrusive does not expire with adjustments in technology.

That’s why I am proposing today the Commission crack down on robocalls, robotexts, and telemarketing calls – the number one source of consumer complaints at the FCC.

Last year alone, we received a lot more than 215, 000 complaints related to undesired and intrusive calls and texts. The filer of one complaint detailed receiving 4, 700 unwanted texts over a 6-month period. We’ve furthermore seen reports of 27, 809 unsolicited text messages over 17 a few months to one reassigned number, despite demands to stop the texts.

The Commission provides received numerous petitions from businesses – including bankers, debt collectors, app developers, retail stores, and others – searching for clarity on our consumer rules. I actually intend to use these petitions as an opportunity to empower consumers and stop these intrusive communications.

I am proposing how the Commission rule on more than 20 pending petitions related to consumer protection and send one clear information: consumers have the right to control the particular calls and texts they get, and the FCC is moving in order to enforce those rights and defend consumers against robocalls, spam texts, and telemarketing.

We will empower and defend consumers in a number of ways.

First, we are offering the green light for robocall-blocking technologies, declaring that these market-based solutions can be offered without violating our call-completion rules. The FCC wants to inform you: telephone companies can – and in fact should – offer customers robocall-blocking tools.

Second, we close several potential loopholes. For example , we clarify the definition of “autodialers” to include any kind of technology with the potential to call random or sequential numbers. This ruling is true to Congress’s intent when passing the law, and would ensure that robocallers cannot skirt consent requirements through changes in technologies design. We also close the particular “reassigned number” loophole, making apparent that consumers who inherit a telephone number will not be subject to a barrage associated with unwanted robocalls OK’d by the previous owner of the number.

Third, we make it easier for consumers to say “no” to robocalls. People won’t have to fill out a form and mail it in to stop unwanted calls and texts. Any reasonable way of stating “no” is allowed.

We will allow very limited and specific exceptions, such as alerts to possible fraud in your bank account or a reminder to refill important medications. But these exemptions do NOT include practices like debt collection and marketing, and consumers will have the ideal to opt-out of such phone calls.

In the FCC, we see consumer protection as one of our most fundamental missions.

We now have acted consistently to uphold this responsibility from ensuring the Internet remain fast, fair and open to using action to make certain consumers get the actual pay for and companies follow the guidelines. With today’s proposal to limit unwanted robocalls and spam texts, we seek to secure yet another win for consumers.

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