FCC Considering ‘Challenge Mechanism’ for Lawful Calls Erroneously Blocked

The Federal Communications Commission is considering potential mechanisms to ensure that calls made by banks and other businesses that are erroneously blocked by companies that provide telephone service can be unblocked in a timely manner, according to a notice of proposed rulemaking issued on Friday. Among other things, the FCC said it would consider requiring voice service providers to establish a “formal challenge mechanism” for callers that are blocked erroneously.

The notice came after the FCC earlier last week authorized voice service providers to block certain categories of calls that are highly likely to be unlawful “spoofed” calls — that is, calls in which the caller ID displays a phone number different from that of the telephone from which the call was placed, done with the intent to defraud or otherwise cause harm.

The American Bankers Association had previously raised concerns that granting call-blocking authority could lead to lawful bank calls being inadvertently blocked and urged the FCC to establish a challenge mechanism or process that would allow banks and other lawful callers to regain access quickly to a number that has had its outbound calls blocked by a voice service provider. For more information, contact ABA’s Jonathan Thessin.