CUNA shares CU improper call-blocking experiences with FCC

April 30, 2021

Credit union calls were inappropriately blocked and mislabeled as spam, CUNA wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Friday. CUNA’s comments were sent in response to a Public Notice soliciting comments in preparation for a staff report on call blocking for Congress, as CUNA remains concerned that credit union-member communications are still being blocked and mislabeled by voice providers.

The FCC issued a default call-blocking order in 2019, and strong CUNA, League, and credit union advocacy led it to include a mechanism for notification and timely redress of erroneously blocked calls in its December 2020 Order.

“CUNA commends the Commission for strengthening the redress requirements as adopted in the Third Report and Order by establishing a blocking notification requirement, effective on January 1, 2022, and requiring terminating providers to give a status update within 24 hours,” the letter reads. “Particularly, once the notification requirement becomes effective, the Commission should continue to assess the efficacy of blocking regimes as well as the efficacy of the redress mechanisms to promptly reverse erroneous call blocking.”

Certain credit unions were able to determine their calls were being blocked, with one identifying more than 100,000 blocked calls. Most credit unions were not able to make this determination. Credit unions found that redress mechanisms and time framed were inconsistent depending on the service provider.

Others discovered through conversations with members that calls were being labeled as potential or suspected spam.

CUNA noted that other calls, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fraud and wellness checks, calls from correctional facilities, calls from alarm companies, and calls warning of approaching wildfires have been erroneously blocked.

“Additionally, CUNA respectfully urges the Commission to continue to evaluate the need to extend redress mechanisms to call labeling,” the letter reads. “As CUNA and others have explained, erroneously labeling a legitimate call as spam or scam is tantamount to blocking and can cause harm by misleading consumers to reject important or critical calls.”