The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission yesterday held a joint expo on illegal robocalls (they remain against them) and in reading the prepared remarks from the FCC’s Chief of Staff at the event, it seems to becoming more and more clear that regulators are very focused on hearing from consumer advocates and telecom companies and state and federal regulators, but not really interested in hearing from companies whose operations are being legitimately impacted by robocalls.
“As many of you know, today’s Expo is a follow-up to the Joint Policy Forum we organized with the FTC last month, where we brought together voice service providers, consumer groups, and federal and state government representatives, among others, to discuss the work they’ve been doing to stop illegal robocalls,” said Matthew Berry, the FCC’s chief of staff, according to a copy of his remarks which were published online.
The ARM industry has been significantly impacted by robocalls. Many agencies have had their attempted calls to individuals blocked or reported by those individuals as robocalls and the carriers have prevented legitimate calls from being connected. And those agencies have little or no recourse to try and get those decisions overturned. But from the FCC’s remarks, that seems of little consequence.
The ARM industry, and any industry that makes its living by trying to communicate with individuals, should have a seat at the table when discussion how to handle robocalls.
Congress, meanwhile, is also taking up the robocall fight and is also apparently interested in only one side of the debate. The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for April 27: “Do Not Call: Combating Robocalls and Caller ID Spoofing.” Let’s look at the invited witness list:
- Aaron Foss, Founder, Nomorobo
- Ethan Garr, Chief Product Officer, RoboKiller
- Scott Hambuchen, Executive Vice President, Technology and Solution Development, First Orion Corp.
- Maureen Mahoney, Policy Analyst, Consumers Union
Notice any trend?
Yes, it’s important to hear from the technology providers and telecom carriers about what can be done to stop robocalls from being connected. But it appears as though nobody is interested in hearing from those companies being affected by robocalls.
Consumer advocacy groups are great at bringing out grandmothers and other individuals who have been adversely affected by scammers as a means of showing how simple, honest people are hurt by those taking advantage of the system. But now it’s collection agencies and other legitimate businesses who are being hurt. And who aren’t being heard.