LONG ISLAND, NY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined 44 other state attorneys general calling on five major phone companies to offer call-blocking technology to their customers. In a joint letter to the chief executives of the carriers, the attorneys general said a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule clarification confirms that telecommunication service providers can offer customers the ability to block unwanted calls, and verifies that federal law does not prohibit offering the services.
In the letter to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and CenturyLink, 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.”
“My office receives numerous complaints from consumers every year about various unwanted phone solicitations, and now is the time for phone carriers to act,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The FCC has made clear that there is no obstacle to phone carriers giving customers what they have been asking for – a way to stop these calls before they ever come through.”
Phone carriers previously claimed they could not offer such services. At a July 2013 hearing before a Senate subcommittee, representatives from the US Telecom Association and CTIA testified that “legal barriers prevent carriers from implementing advanced call-blocking technology to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls.”
Attorney General Schneiderman said call-blocking options already exist for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service (NoMoRobo.com) and Android cell phones (Call Control), and the phone carriers should 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 clarify whether phone companies are permitted to utilize call-blocking technologies. The FCC chairman endorsed the request in late May and the FCC voted to pass the rule clarification on June 18.
The attorneys general offices that signed today’s letter are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, 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.
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