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ACA Submits Comment About FCC Call-Blocking Proposal

ACA International has filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission over its proposed rule that would enhance call blocking options for consumers from alleged robocalls.

The FCC approved the new rules last November. Under the proposed rule, carriers would be allowed to block calls that come from phone numbers that can not or do not make outgoing calls, to block calls from area codes that do not exist, or from numbers that have not been assigned to a provider. The FCC provided the example of how scammers have used numbers belonging to the Internal Revenue Service that are not allowed to make outbound calls as a means of impersonating agents in search of unpaid tax debts.

ACA’s issues with the proposed rule are to make sure that companies are being notified if an outgoing call they placed has been blocked and a process to “quickly” rectify errors that are made by the technology. Many collection agencies have noted recently that individuals are using technology to have their numbers blocked and there appears to be no remedy for having those numbers unblocked.

ACA included comments from members about the difficulties they have been having because their outgoing calls are being mislabeled as robocalls and subsequently being blocked, even though they are legitimate attempts to contact a debtor.

Given this, ACA respectfully urges the Commission to require providers who offer call blocking services, whether provider initiated or consumer initiated, to: (1) indicate a call has been blocked on a per-call basis using a defined, unique signaling code; (2) make available a defined, easy to use mechanism for callers to inquire about the blocking status of a number or set of numbers; and (3) make available a defined, easy to use mechanism for callers to challenge the status of a blocked number or set of numbers. In addition, in light of similar concerns raised by improper call labeling, ACA also respectfully urges the Commission to consider the need for potential mitigation tools in the call labeling context as well.

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