Rutledge Calls on Phone Carriers to Offer Call-Blocking Technology without Delay
July 22, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined 44 other state attorneys general in a letter to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and CenturyLink, calling on them to offer call-blocking technology to their customers.
In a joint letter to the chief executives of the five major phone carriers, the attorneys general said a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule clarification allows telecommunication service providers to offer customers the ability to block unwanted calls and verifies that federal law does not prohibit offering the services.
“The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office receives numerous calls from consumers each year seeking a way to stop robocalls, scam text messages and unwanted telemarketing calls,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Thanks to the efforts of attorneys general from across the country, the FCC has clarified a rule that allows phone carries to offer call-blocking technology. Consumers will now be able to stop these unwanted and intrusive calls and texts.”
In the letter, the attorneys general stated, “every year, our offices are flooded with consumer complaints pleading for a solution to stop intrusive robocalls. Your companies are now poised to offer your customers the help they need. We urge you to act without delay.”
The phone carriers had previously claimed they could not offer such services. At a July 2013 hearing before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, representatives from the U.S. Telecom Association and the Wireless Association, or CTIA, testified that “legal barriers prevent carriers from implementing advanced call-blocking technology to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls.”
Call-blocking options already exist for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service (NoMoRobo.com) and Android cell phones (Call Control), and Rutledge calls on the phone carriers to move quickly to implement and inform their consumers of these options.
Last September, 39 attorneys general, led by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, called on the FCC to allow phone companies to utilize call-blocking technologies. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler endorsed the request in late May, and the FCC voted to pass the rule clarification on June 18.
In addition to Arkansas, attorneys general from the following states signed today’s letter: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
A copy of the letter is available by clicking here.