EPIC, NCLC Urge FCC to Automatically Suspend Phone Providers Over Robocall Violations
August 19, 2022
On Wednesday, EPIC and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) urged the FCC to impose harsh consequences on telephone service providers that fail to protect consumers from scam robocalls. The organizations argued that the FCC make any telephone service provider liable for consumer losses if they knew or should have known that they were transmitting illegal robocalls, or if illegal robocalls were made using phone numbers the provider supplied. EPIC and NCLC also told the FCC that certain VoIP providers would be more likely to stop routing illegal robocalls if they were automatically suspended from the telephone network for transmitting illegal robocalls after receiving notice to stop, and that bad actors would not be able to pop up under a new business name if they were licensed and bonded. The organizations also encouraged the Commission to automatically suspend providers who evade or fail to comply with other Commission rules—for example, refusing to pay forfeitures or fines, facilitating a known bad actor regaining access to the U.S. phone network, or refusing to comply with traceback requests, which are investigations into the sources of illegal calls and the providers who transmit them to consumers. As they did in January and in a recent report on scam robocalls, EPIC and NCLC called for visibility into traceback requests, which can help consumers, providers, and regulators identify who is making illegal calls and which providers are not working hard enough to stop them. EPIC routinely participates in regulatory and legislative processes concerning robocalls and files amicus briefs in robocall cases.