Attorney General George Jepsen and 38 other state and territorial attorneys general sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally requesting its opinion regarding the legal authority of telephone companies to electronically block unwanted automated telemarketing calls – so called “robocalls” — intended for their customers. Telephone companies have claimed that federal law administered by the FCC prohibits them from implementing existing technologies to block robocalls.
“Connecticut residents regularly receive unwanted robocalls calls that could otherwise be blocked through the use of existing technologies,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “Robocalls can be annoying and intrusive – and may be illegal, for example, if they violate telemarketing ‘do not call’ laws. While the Office of the Attorney General will continue to do everything possible to assist people who receive illegal telemarketing robocalls, the FCC should clarify carriers’ ability to block these calls from going through in the first place.”
The letter to the FCC refers to a claim made by US Telecom in October 2013 that legal prohibitions exist that prevent their ability to implement technology that would otherwise prevent telemarketers from reaching consumers. US Telecom has described the FCC’s position as “strict oversight” requiring the delivery of all telecommunications traffic, including robocalls. The attorneys general asked the FCC for an opinion that would determine the accuracy of these claims.
Connecticut joined Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming in today’s letter
Consumers can add their phone numbers to National Do Not Call Registry. It is operated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with information available at DoNotCall.gov. The Do Not Call Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222. You must call from the phone number you wish to register. To register online, go to DoNotCall.gov; you will be required to respond to a confirmation email. Once registered, telemarketers covered by the Do Not Call Registry have up to 31 days from the registration date to stop calling.
Marketers with whom you have conducted business within the last 18 months are generally exempt from Do Not Call requirements, as are tax-exempt and nonprofit entities; political campaigns; businesses contacting about an existing debt, contract or payment; businesses that started within the past year; prerecorded messages or emergency calls needed for health or safety; organizations with whom you have given prior consent; or entities with which you have a preexisting relationship.
If you have already registered a cell phone number, or another telephone number, you do not need to re-register. Do Not Call registrations do not expire. Once registered, a telephone number stays on the Do Not Call Registry until the registration is cancelled or service for the number is disconnected.
The FTC investigates complaints about potential Do Not Call violations; complaints can be filed with the FTC through DoNotCall.gov. The state Department of Consumer Protection also accepts and investigates complaints about potential violations of Connecticut’s Do Not Call law. Complaints can be made at www.ct.gov/dcp or at 1-800-842-2649.
SOURCE: AG Jepsen