Notification needed for FCC call blocking

July 6, 2020

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), CUNA and other organizations expressed concerns that legitimate calls are continuing to be blocked by voice service providers (VSP) under the STIR/SHAKEN caller identification framework meant to target illegal robocalls.

“However, for this redress mechanism to meaningfully protect consumers and be effective as Congress intended, the caller must know that its calls are being blocked,” the letter reads. “Consequently, we urge the Commission to require the blocking entity to notify callers immediately that it is blocking their calls. Without a notification requirement, no call-blocking service can be performed with ‘transparency . . . for . . . callers,’ as the TRACED Act requires.”

The letter included recommendations to protect consumers against illegal calls, such as:

  • VSPs should remove an erroneous block within 24 hours of the provider’s learning of the block;
  • Terminating VSPs (VSPs that deliver the call to the end recipient) that block calls should be prohibited from imposing a charge on callers for reporting, investigating, resolving, or removing erroneous blocks promptly;
  • Terminating VSPs should provide callers with effective redress options applies equally to mislabeled outbound calling numbers.

CUNA and other financial trades filed comments in response to a proposal implementing the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework, as well as parts of the TRACED Act.

On March 30, CUNA and other organizations also requested the FCC issue a ruling, clarification or waiver calling for COVID-19 related communications to fall under the TCPA’s Emergency Purposes Exception.