The Federal Communications Commission is taking new action to deal with robocalls — recorded phone calls and text messages offering various products and services. Unwanted solicitations are annoying at best and can be fraudulent at worse. The FCC gets hundreds of thousands of angry complaints a year. In its declaratory rulings, the FCC aims to close loopholes and bulk up protection.
Consumer advocates are particularly pleased the FCC is now explicitly telling phone companies they can provide blocking technology. They’ve generally avoided doing so, claiming it wasn’t legal. Consumer advocates never bought this excuse. Now they want action from phone providers.
“We really hope that the companies stop stalling,” says Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel at Consumers Union, which has been pushing the FCC for these changes. “We hope that they will take the FCC’s words to heart and consumers’ wishes to heart.”
Some companies worry, saying the ruling opens them up to unfair lawsuits and that robocalls can be a legitimate way to reach people and sell products and services they want.
The FCC is allowing exemptions for certain urgent messages, such as a prescription drug refill reminder or bank fraud notification.
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