If you’re tired of those annoying robocalls telling you to renew your vehicle’s warranty, you may be in for some relief soon. CNN reports that the Federal Communications Commission has ordered telecom companies to block the calls from reaching consumers.
The order specifically targets 13 people across six different companies. These individuals and companies are mostly located in Texas and California for some reason and are the main ones responsible for the calls. The FCC says this group of people and companies purchased hundreds of thousands of phone numbers across various area codes in late 2020. Millions of robocalls have been going out since then.
The calls have gotten so bad the last couple of years that the FCC says they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the agency in the last two years. The agency says complaints rose from 7,600 in 2020 to 12,000 in 2021. Before, the only steps the FCC took were to notify telecom companies across the country of the calls and how many were going out. This marks the first time the agency is taking action.
The FCC is now directing telecom companies to actively block these calls from reaching consumers, which is why the people behind the numbers were identified. It will make these numbers easier to block.
But it’s not just a simple find-and-block operation. First, the suspected source of the call traffic must be identified. Then, a basis of reasonable belief must be provided as to why the company thinks that that source is the source of the call traffic. If they’re found to be an issue, a citation must be made of which FCC provisions the source breaks. Then the blocking can commence.
Telecom companies won’t be let off the hook if they fail to block these calls either. The order outlines specific consequences for the companies that fail to stop these calls: they’ll essentially be seen as an accessory to the calls with the order saying, “Should any voice service provider fail to comply with these obligations and fail to take all necessary steps to avoid carrying suspected illegal robocall traffic made by/on behalf of these individuals and entities, that voice service provider may be deemed to have knowingly and willfully engaged in transmitting unlawful robocalls.”