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FCC to Phone Companies: Offer free Robocall Blockers to customers

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Even though the Federal Communications Commission has repeatedly said that wireless and landline phone providers are allowed to offer robocall-blocking services to their customers, some carriers have continued to incorrectly insist — and provide misinformation to consumers — that they simply don’t have the authority to deploy this technology. In an effort to make things clear once and for all, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has sent letters to these companies that there are no regulatory roadblocks stopping them from helping their customers stop annoying — often illegal — automated and prerecorded robocalls.

“Nothing in the Commission’s rules and orders prevents [phone companies] from offering customers robocall blocking technology,” writes Wheeler in letters to the chief executives at AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. “I strongly urge you to offer your customers robust call blocking at no cost.”

Between the Do Not Call List and rules prohibiting private robocallers from sending prerecorded messages or texts without having received prior consent, robocalling as a legitimate-but-annoying telemarketing tool has virtually disappeared. Yet complaints about robocalls continue to grow in number, indicating that most of these calls are being placed illegally, often by scammers.

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