ABA, Trades Urge FCC to Protect Lawful Bank Calls

ABA and other trade groups today urged the Federal Communications Commission to seek feedback before moving forward on its proposal to allow telephone companies to block unwanted calls. The FCC’s draft declaratory ruling—which is expected to be voted on during the agency’s June 6 meeting—would permit voice service providers to enroll customers automatically in a call-blocking program that is “based on any reasonable analytics designed to identify unwanted calls.”  The ability for customers to opt out of the program would be required. If adopted, the ruling would be effective immediately.

The trade associations expressed concern that legitimate bank calls are currently being incorrectly labeled as spam or nuisance and may be blocked under the declaratory ruling.  “Public safety alerts, fraud alerts, data security breach notifications, product recall notices, healthcare and prescription reminders and power outage updates all could be inadvertently blocked under the draft declaratory order, among other time-sensitive calls,” the groups said.

In earlier meetings with FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and key FCC staff, the groups urged the FCC to permit voice service providers to block only illegal calls—not “unwanted” calls—and to require providers to offer a robust challenge mechanism for legitimate calls that are inadvertently blocked.