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FTC Provides Comment to FCC Encouraging Providers of Call-Blocking Services to Take Steps to Avoid Blocking Wanted Calls

In a comment provided to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), staff of the Federal Trade Commission responded to the FCC’s request for input on potential mechanisms to address erroneously blocked robocalls, without imposing undue harm on callers and consumers.

In the comment, FTC staff stresses its support for the FCC’s inquiry into this important issue, which requires balancing the “long-overdue progress in developing call-blocking and call-filtering solutions to protect consumers from illegal and unwanted calls,” along with “the interests of subscribers and legitimate callers that could be harmed by erroneously blocked calls."

The comment encourages providers of call-blocking services to consider engaging in practices that could reduce the potential for blocking wanted calls, such as communicating clearly to subscribers the types of calls that are being blocked, using plain and specific terms to label calls, and providing designated points of contact to handle questions about calls blocked in error.

The FTC staff submitted its comment in response to the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Matter of Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls. It follows a July 2017 comment by the staff in response to the FCC’s spring 2017 NPRM and Notice of Inquiry on this issue.

The Commission vote approving submission of the comment to the FCC was 2-0. (The staff contact is Janice Kopec, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2550.)

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