Attorney General George Jepsen has joined 44 other state attorneys general in urging five major telephone companies to offer their customers call-blocking technology to assist them in avoiding unwanted robo-calls.
In a letter sent to the chief executives of the carriers, the attorneys general stated that a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule clarification actually allows telecommunication service providers to offer customers the ability to block unwanted calls. Telephone companies previously claimed that federal law administered by the FCC prohibits them from implementing existing technologies to block robocalls.
In the letter to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and CenturyLink, the attorneys general said, “Every year, our offices are flooded with consumer complaints pleading for a solution to stop intrusive robocalls. Your companies are now poised to offer your customers the help they need. We urge you to act without delay.”
“Robocalls can be annoying and intrusive for those that receive them repeatedly. I am pleased to see that the FCC has made it clear that phone companies can now assist us in our fight against these calls,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “We will continue to press these phone carriers to move quickly and inform their consumers of these options.”
Last September, 39 attorneys general, including Attorney General Jepsen, called on the FCC to clarify that phone companies are legally permitted to utilize call-blocking technologies at their customers’ request. The FCC chairman endorsed the request in late May and the FCC voted to pass the rule clarification on June 18.
Connecticut joined Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming in today’s letter
Call blocking technology, if and when it is offered by private phone carriers, promises to provide an effective technological tool to block unwanted robo-calls. In the meantime, consumers can add their phone numbers to the 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.
Call-blocking technologies already exist for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service and Android cell phones.
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.
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