Trade Groups Oppose Call Blocking Petition

A number of financial services trade associations — including ACA International — have filed a comment opposing a petition from a telecom organization that seeks to give voice service providers more flexibility when notifying consumers of calls that have been blocked. The comment requests that the Federal Communications Commission use the notification mechanisms that it has already authorized.

A copy of the comment, filed by 10 trade groups, including the American Bankers Association, ACA International, Mortgage Bankers Association, American Financial Services Association, and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, can be accessed by clicking here.

Under guidelines issued by the FCC, voice service providers are required to use specific codes when notifying callers that a call has been blocked. The petition, filed by USTelecom, seeks to allow providers to use other codes when calls are blocked for a number of reasons, both technical and driven by policy concerns. The petition “proffers no compelling reason” to remove the existing requirements and many of the members of the trade associations in question “are equipped to receive and process” the codes so they can understand exactly why calls are being blocked.

Blocked calls will be returned with one of three codes — informing the caller that the call is unwanted and that the caller should not try to call that number again, that the call was blocked by an intermediary, and that the call was rejected.

The FCC should deny the petition because the TRACED Act requires that “redress for blocked calls be transparent and effective,” the associations argued in their comment, and the process that has been laid out already by the FCC accomplishes that task.

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