FCC Adopts Call-Blocking Order with Protections for Lawful Calls

The Federal Communications Commission voted last week to approve an order that would provide a safe harbor for telephone companies that block calls based on “reasonable analytics designed to identify unwanted calls,” as long as the analytics incorporates call authentication information. At ABA’s urging, the order includes important protections for banks and other calls who place lawful calls, including protections added since the FCC released a draft of the order in June.

The order requires telephone companies to cease blocking calls promptly when a caller makes a credible claim that its outbound calls are being erroneously blocked and the telephone company determines that the calls should not have been blocked. The order also requires telephone companies to provide a single point of contact for lawful callers to report erroneously blocked calls. Additionally, the order confirms that a telephone company may not impose any charge on callers for resolving blocking errors, and that providing these redress mechanisms is a condition for obtaining safe harbor protection.