STENEHJEM URGES FCC TO ALLOW CALL-BLOCKING TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE UNWANTED ROBOCALLS AND SCAM CALLS

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September 9, 2014


BISMARCK, ND – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined 38 other Attorneys General in a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow phone carriers to use existing call-blocking technology to better protect their customers from unwanted telemarketing and scam calls.

Call-blocking technologies, such as NoMoRobo, Call Control, and Telemarketing Guard, allow telephone carriers to identify and block unwelcome sales calls at their customers’ request. However, some phone carriers are reluctant to use this technology, in part because of the belief that federal law prevents them from blocking such calls on their customers’ behalf.

“North Dakotans overwhelming have said they do not want to be bothered by telemarketing calls. Last year, my office received 195 complaints about violations of the Do Not Call laws, and 45% of the complaints related to robocalls,” said Stenehjem.

Phone carriers have expressed concern that the FCC’s regulations prohibit phone companies from determining which calls should be allowed to go through to a customer and which should be blocked. Last year, in explaining the obstacles that phone carriers face in implementing call-blocking technologies, US Telecom wrote to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance that “the FCC has concluded that call blocking is an unjust and unreasonable practice under section 201(b) of the Communications Act of 1934.”

In their letter, the Attorneys General ask for a formal opinion on whether an exception can be made to allow companies to block illegal telemarketing calls at the request of a customer.

More than 511,100 North Dakota (701) area code telephone numbers are already registered on the Do Not Call list. Both land lines and cellular telephone numbers can be registered on the list, by visiting https://www.donotcall.gov/ or calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222. Consumers who are registered on the DNC list and receive an unwanted call on a (701) area code residential or cellular telephone number can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office at https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/consumer-resources/do-not-call

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