Attorney General Andy Beshear announced he joined with attorneys general from Massachusetts and New York to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to crack down on the national onslaught of robocall messages and oppose ringless robocalls.
In the joint comment letter sent last week, Beshear, AG Healey and AG Schneiderman oppose a petition requesting ringless robocalls, which deliver voicemails to consumers without causing their phones to ring, be exempt from consumer protections under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
In the petition filed by All About the Message, ringless robocalls would be exempt from the protections arguing that they should not be considered “calls.”
The attorneys general contend that this exemption further opens the floodgates to more harassing calls and messages.
“Protecting Kentuckians from the constant barrage of unwanted scam and robocalls is an ongoing priority of my office,” said Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear. “We must strengthen the protections to our citizens, not clear the way for costly, unwanted calls.”
“Massachusetts residents already face a constant barrage of harassing, intrusive and unwanted robocalls,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “Granting companies a free pass to push ringless voice messages to consumers’ phones just adds more robocalls and causes significant financial harm to those who are charged for checking their messages.
“New Yorkers are already the victims of countless unwanted phone solicitations,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “The federal government has a basic responsibility to protect American consumers. That certainly doesn’t mean making it even easier for companies to spam them costly, unsolicited, ringless robocalls.”
The purpose of the TCPA is to protect consumers from unwanted and intrusive calls. The FCC’s Robocall Strike Force reports that robocalls are the number one source of complaints it receives, with consumers receiving an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016.
The letter points out that these ringless robocalls prevent consumers from blocking unwanted messages with many of the latest call blocking apps for mobile phones. In addition, whether they ring or not, robocalls can impose significant costs on consumers, especially those with prepaid cell phones or limited minutes who are charged for checking their messages. Consumers with limited size voicemail boxes may miss important messages when their voicemail is clogged with unwanted messages.