FCC call-blocking proposal will include ‘safety valve’ for legit callers

June 5, 2019

As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote Thursday on a default call blocking proposal, CUNA’s concerns have been part of the media coverage of the proposal, and many of the hundreds of comments generated by CUNA’s action alert appear to have spurred the agency to provide a relief mechanism for legitimate callers.

The FCC’s proposal would allow voice providers to block certain calls by default and consumers would have to specifically opt in to receive them. CUNA is concerned that the proposal will lead to blocking and mislabeling of calls, meaning credit union members cannot be contacted with important information

Credit union concerns were also specifically cited on Fox News Channel’s The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino Wednesday. Host and 2019 GAC Keynote speaker Perino interviewed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on the ruling.  

During the interview, Pai said the ruling would contain a “safety valve” to allow legitimate callers to file complaints with voice carriers over erroneously blocked calls. 

“We will closely review the modification that Chairman Pai is proposing, but based on what he said on Fox News tonight, we view this as a positive step and a reflection of the impact that our grassroots efforts have had,” said Ryan Donovan, CUNA chief advocacy officer.

CUNA’s comment letter includes draft language that would allow for a mechanism for voice providers to unblock erroneously blocked calls that includes:

  • Notification to callers that their calls are being blocked and what provider is responsible for the blocking;
  • Readily ascertainable contact information for a caller to submit to the voice provider a request to lift the erroneous block; and
  • A prompt, reasonable timeframe for the voice provider to resolve the claim of erroneous blocking.

CUNA Senior Director of Advocacy Mitria Wilson was highlighted in Fox Business as well Wednesday.

“The proposed declaratory ruling will actually conflict with the obligations financial institutions have with other regulators,” Mitria Wilson, CUNA senior director of advocacy, told Fox Business. “Even with the current regulatory regime, which was a regime based on optional call blocking, we were experiencing a series of legitimate calls not being able to get through.”