The myth that private enforcement via the TCPA is stopping the problem is finally starting to unravel as state governing bodies turn to the FCC for real answers on the robocall epidemic.
Yesterday, a bipartisan coalition of 35 state attorneys general submitted a reply comment in response to a public notice issued by the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau requesting comments on how the FCC can empower telephone providers to block illegal robocalls. The FCC last November released the 2017 Call Blocking Order and adopted a set of robocall rules that allowed telephone providers to proactively block calls from invalid and unassigned numbers – but the attorneys general state in their reply comment, that this hasn’t been enough to cure the problem. “By the end of this year, the industry expects a 33% increase…” they state.
The attorneys general request that the FCC create a new rule that would specifically target neighborhood spoofing. The rule could help reduce the spoofed robocalls from numbers with the same area code as the consumer, or even calls from the consumer’s own number.
They inform the FCC that law enforcement alone will not solve the robocall problem in the country and that “despite the 2017 Call Blocking Order, which increased providers’ ability to illegally spoofed calls, the robocall problem appears to be getting worse.” The attorneys tell the FCC they would like to construct on the 2017 Call Blocking Order, permitting carriers to “use new technology to detect and block illegal spoofed calls.” ‘
Further, they state that the government and the telephone industry must work together to combat the pervasive robocall problem, given the ability of the robocallers to hide their identities and frustrate law enforcement with just a computer and internet connection. They request for increasing the collaboration among telephone providers and the government in an effort “to identify and implement new methods to combat the proliferation of these illegal acts. Also, we encourage the FCC to implement additional reforms, as necessary, to respond to technological advances that make illegal robocalls and illegal spoofing such a difficult problem to solve.”
“Only be working together, and utilizing every tool at our disposal, can we hope to eradicate this noxious intrusion on consumers’ lives”, they state.
As Eric has opined before, Congress needs to focus on the scammers and the 35 attorneys general agree – we need to work together to implement new solutions to combat these illegal actors. Notably, the solution isn’t–and never was–a broad TCPA. Private enforcement does not work to stop the true wrong doers. It just results in frivolous lawsuits against legitimate American businesses.