AG Strange calls on phone carriers to offer call blocking
Attorney General Luther Strange today joined 44 other state Attorneys General calling on five major phone companies to offer call-blocking technology to their wireless and landline customers.
In a joint letter to the chief executives of the carriers, the attorneys general said a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule clarification allows telecommunication service providers to offer customers the ability to block unwanted calls, and verifies that federal law does not prohibit offering the services.
In the letter to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and CenturyLink, the Strange stated, “Every year, our offices are flooded with consumer complaints pleading for a solution to stop intrusive robocalls. Your companies are now poised to offer your customers the help they need. We urge you to act without delay.”
Strange said phone carriers had previously claimed they could not offer such services.
At a July 2013 hearing before a Senate subcommittee, representatives from the US Telecom Association and CTIA testified that “legal barriers prevent carriers from implementing advanced call-blocking technology to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls.” CTIA is The Wireless Association, formerly known as the Cellular Telephone Industries Association. On June 18 the FCC voted to pass a rule clarifying that phone companies are allowed to use call-blocking technologies to block unwanted calls and texts.
“Now that the FCC has made clear that phone companies may use call-blocking, we are calling on these companies to assist in our fight against unwanted, annoying and sometimes expensive phone calls and texts,” said Strange. “Customers have long been asking for a way to stop these calls, and it is time for the phone carriers to comply and offer this valuable service.”
Strange said call-blocking options already exist for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service (NoMoRobo.com) and Android cell phones (Call Control), and the phone carriers should move quickly to implement and inform their consumers of these options.
The attorneys general whose offices signed today’s letter are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.