AFSA Continues to Press on TCPA

Complaints about robocalls continue to rise, and occur seemingly anywhere, at any time. Members of Congress say they hear about the robocall problem in town hall events back in their districts. It’s no different at the regulatory agencies – where robocalls are an easy Enemy No. 1. So it’s no surprise that the federal government is determined to do something about them.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a new crackdown on illegal robocalls. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Declaratory Ruling clarifying that phone carriers can block calls that they suspect might be either illegal – or, in a major change – unwanted by consumers. The FCC has also proposed new spoofing rules for foreign robocalls. And on Capitol Hill, the Senate passed a bill requiring phone carriers to authenticate calls, while the House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.

What does all of this mean for AFSA members? Here’s the lay of the land:

If these proposals work and the number of illegal robocalls drop, everyone wins. No one likes getting these calls, including AFSA members’ customers, members’ employees, and even AFSA staff.  Eliminating these calls lessens an everyday annoyance. Moreover, some of these initiatives could result in a decrease in Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation.

However, AFSA has raised serious concerns with policymakers about these efforts, because in blocking illegal robocalls, there’s a good chance that legitimate business calls to customers could be inadvertently blocked, too. This would mean that customers don’t get calls about issues with their accounts or warning them that there is a fraud alert on their account. The bottom line – businesses need to be notified if their calls are blocked and a redress system needs to be in place so that the calls can be unblocked.

AFSA will continue to work with policymakers to ensure that customers are getting the important calls they need.