A number of associations, including ACA International and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management are urging the Federal Communications Commission to require voice service providers to notify individuals when calls are automatically blocked because it is the only way someone may find out that a legitimate call was inadvertently kept from being connected.
The two associations were part of a group of nine that submitted an ex parte letter to the FCC following a series of calls with officials from the regulator. The letter served as an opportunity to provide comments to a Draft Order that would provide voice service providers with a safe harbor from being sued when a legitimate call is inadvertently blocked. The FCC is due to vote on the order next week.
The lack of a mechanism in the Draft Order that notifies individuals when a call has been blocked is a major sticking point for the trade groups. An individual can not seek redress if he or she is not aware that a call has been blocked, the groups pointed out in their letter.
“The draft does not explain why informing callers that their calls are being blocked is ‘unnecessary’ in the face of uncontroverted record evidence that callers have had great difficulty identifying who was blocking their calls and obtaining timely redress,” they wrote.
Inadvertently blocked calls should be fixed within 24 hours, the group requests, rather than using a less quantifiable “reasonable” amount of time that is referenced in the Draft Order.
When attempting to fix calls that have been accidentally blocked, the carriers need to do so at no charge to the callers, the group requested. The Draft Order is not clear enough about who should bear the costs associated with the redress process.