Bipartisan Robocall Legislation Advances to Full House Energy and Commerce Committee

This week, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology advanced the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) . The bill is intended to prevent unwanted robocalls, but could be problematic for legitimate businesses. The bill could be marked up in the full committee as early as July.

The legislation directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify the definition of “automatic telephone dialing systems” within six months of the effective date, ensure call-blocking services are provided with “transparency and effective redress options for both consumers and callers,” and report on the reassigned numbers database, among other provisions.

AFSA advocated against the broad definition of “auto-dialer,” and was pleased to see that definition removed from the initial draft, but remains concerned about the lack of clarity in the bill’s definition of “called party.” AFSA continues to urge the committee to amend the definition to include the “intended recipient,” so that the caller can have reasonable reliance on the prior express consent given to them by their customers. AFSA also continues to reiterate its concerns about the call blocking provisions, which could unintentionally prevent customers from receiving calls with important information from their financial institution.