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New Legislation will Help Customers Block Robocalls

Update: Earlier in June, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently introduced the ROBOCOP Act into the Senate. The ROBOCOP Act would direct the FCC to require that telephone service providers offer their customers free, optional robocall-blocking technology.

If you’ve been caught at home sick with the flu and are just hoping to get a full day of rest, you aren’t the only one. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo Counties) thought she could too.

Unfortunately, what she planned as a day to rehabilitate after a bout with the flu, became a day that drove her up the wall as she was abruptly interrupted not once, but a number of times by phone calls not from well-wishing friends, but from persistent robocalls.

“Every time I dozed off, the phone would ring,” Speier told the LA Times. “And it wasn’t’ a friend calling. It was a robocall.”

Speier was so annoyed of the unwanted calls that it led her to cancel her AT&T landline. But it also hit her that, it shouldn’t have been up to her to have to take such drastic measures to stop the aggravating robocalls. To keep customers happy, she felt it was up to telephone companies to protect their customers from such problematic callers.

Despite individuals registering to the National Do Not Call Registry (DNC), robocalls have figured out how to fly under the radar and weasel their way around the DNC’s regulations and $16,000 fine.

We’ve all experienced Speier’s pain, whether it be during dinner, a tv show, or just when we’re trying to get some peace and quiet, and unfortunately, these calls aren’t just costing us our patience. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) who received over 3 million complaints about these types of calls last year, phone users are losing more than $350 million a year to phone scams, which include robocalls.

In response to her restless afternoon, Speier is putting her foot down and attempting to give us all a break. She’s decided to use her governmental leverage to provide people across the nation with uninterrupted moments to themselves.

This past April, Speier introduced the Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones Act, shortened as the ROBOCOP Act. The piece of legislation will “require telecom companies to offer consumers free optional robocall-blocking technology. The legislation is supported by Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America” states a press release from Speier’s office.

“This bill will ensure that phone companies take action and provide consumers with the tools they need to stop being harassed by unwanted calls that ring day and night,” said Tim Marvin, head of the End Robocalls campaign for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports.

But while we’re crossing our fingers for the ROBOCOP Act to come into full effect, it would still be wise to register your landline and mobile phone number on the DNC list along with downloading the Hiya app for double protection, if you haven’t already. Hiya has automated spam alerts warning you of unfamiliar numbers and if they have a high potential for fraud. This will allow you to screen your calls and prevent unwanted robocalls to ring through and ruin what should be a relaxing day.

Author Allison Sakounthong

Allison Sakounthong is the Marketing Manager and was previously a local reporter, now using her sleuthing skills as a Hiya caller ID specialist keeping users up to date on the latest phone scams, phone protection, and industry news. She is a native Seattle-ite and graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Journalism.


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