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750,000 consumers joined End Robocalls campaign

Staff Writer |
Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, announced today that nearly 750,000 consumers have joined the group’s End Robocalls campaign.

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The telecommunications industry-led Robocall Strike Force has been meeting to develop plans for improving call-blocking technologies.

The Strike Force has pledged to issue a report and plan that includes a concrete timeline for when the companies will make existing call-blocking technologies even better.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 3.5 million complaints from consumers fed up with unwanted calls.

Almost half of these calls occurred after the consumer requested that the caller stop contacting them. Robocalls have become so rampant that complaints about violations of the Do Not Call registry doubled between 2010 and 2015.

Robocalls are often used by crooks to defraud consumers. Phone scams result in an estimated $350 million in financial losses for Americans annually.

77 percent of AT&T customers, 76 percent of CenturyLink customers, and 79 percent of Verizon customers strongly agreed that robocalls are a problem.

68 percent of AT&T customers, 62 percent of CenturyLink customers, and 71 percent of Verizon customers reported receiving six or more robocalls per week.

41 percent of AT&T customers, 34 percent of CenturyLink customers, and 45 percent of Verizon customers reported receiving more than 10 robocalls per week.

Respondents did not indicate whether all of the robocalls were received on their traditional landline or VOIP phone service.

53 percent of AT&T customers, 54 percent of CenturyLink customers, and 49 percent of Verizon customers said they would be very likely or extremely likely to switch to a new phone company if it offered free tools or services that block robocalls from reaching their homes.

The phone companies have argued that the Robocall Strike Force must first find a solution to Caller ID fraud — when crooks transmit incorrect Caller ID information to trick consumers into answering their phone — before they can offer call-blocking tools to their customers.

But Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has repeatedly made clear that the phone companies work on call verification should not delay them from offering robocall solutions now.


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