AFSA, Trades Meet with FCC on Call-Blocking
This week, the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) and industry trade associations met with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau regarding proceedings before the FCC arising from the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. Signed into law in 2019, the TRACED Act targets illegal and unwanted robocalls, most notably from telemarketers, through stricter penalties for bad actors. In addition, the statute mandates telephone providers adopt call authentication technologies to prevent these illegal practices and for the FCC to issue rulemaking to implement the TRACED Act.
The trade associations discussed the agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comments on call blocking and authentication, including redress for callers whose calls were improperly blocked. A primary concern from the industry was the high frequency of phone numbers used to place lawful and important calls to consumers being erroneously mislabeled as spam or blocked. Unfortunately, many of these important, and often time-sensitive, calls include emergency alerts and anti-fraud messages. As a remedy to this issue, the trades requested the FCC require voice service providers (VSPs) to notify callers immediately when a call is blocked and promptly remove erroneous blocks.
The trade associations also discussed their thoughts on the FCC’s NPRM regarding TCPA exemptions. It was a consensus from the industry that the FCC keep the financial institutions exemption, but with several modifications. These requested modifications include amending the exemption for breach and fraud-related communications and for the FCC to clarify that messages protecting consumers from fraud or identity theft may exceed the 160-character limit.
AFSA supports the FCC’s goals of protecting consumer from illegal automated calls, while ensuring that consumers continue to receive important and lawful calls from businesses.
November 24th, 2020 by Dan Bucherer