Facilitators of Robocalling Beware: FCC Enforcement Bureau has Teeth and Will Use Them to Bite

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a “Fourth Tranche of Enforcement Bureau Cease and Desist Letters” (Letters) against three network providers in an attempt to show the regulator has not turned a blind eye to bad actors.

The letters and formation of a Robocall Response Team support Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s statement that the FCC “is putting its full force behind stopping these junk calls.” The FCC Enforcement Bureau worked with the industry-led Traceback Consortium identified the three companies, which received the most tracebacks over a 60-day period, and information from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, the entity being impersonated on a significant number of robocalls.

FCC Enforcement Bureau takes Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and FCC Regulation Violations Seriously

The Letters note that each provider apparently violated the TCPA (47 U.S.C. § 227(b)) and certain FCC regulations (47 C.F.R. § 64.1200(a)) that prohibit using Automated Telephone Equipment (auto-dialers) or artificial voices to call US consumers from outside the US without consumer consent. The FCC noted that one provider also apparently violated 47 USC § 227(e) and 47 CFR § 64.1604, which prohibits providing misleading or inaccurate caller identification information “with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.”

The Letters notes rapid consequences that could lead to downstream providers blocking all of each affected provider’s traffic; intermediate and terminating voice service providers:

  • Will be authorized and may block each provider’s traffic if the providers fail to
    • (1) Take steps to effectively mitigate illegal traffic from new and existing customers within 48 hours, providing such information to the FCC, and
    • (2) inform the FCC and Traceback Consortium within 14 of steps taken to “implement effective measures to prevent customers from using your network to make illegal calls.”
  • Must stop accepting each provider’s traffic if they continue to “knowingly or negligently to originate illegal robocall campaigns” and the FCC removes their certification from the Robocall Mitigation Database.

Expanded Robocall Ecosystem Continues to Evolve as Each Enforcing Party Adopts to Changes

As the ecosystem surrounding robocalls continues to grow and develop, voice service providers will need to be aware of changes at the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that impose and enforce regulatory requirement and restrictions. Also, in addition to FCC and FTC enforcement, providers must consider an emerging—and potentially much larger—threat: enforcement actions by state attorneys general and civil litigation initiated by private parties.

Given the FCC’s aggressive anti-robocall actions against Duratel, Primo Dialler and PZ/Illum Telecommunication, providers should ensure they have adequate Know Your Customer (KYC) processes in place and have filed a Robocall Mitigation Plan (RMP) in the Robocall Mitigation Database (RMD).  Providers also need to follow developments with these three entities should mandatory blocking be required.

NEED HELP WITH ROBOCALL MITIGATION, COMPLIANCE AND LITIGATION SUPPORT/DEFENSE AGAINST BUSINESS & LEGAL CHALLENGES?

The CommLaw Group Can Help!

Given the complexity and evolving nature of the FCC’s rules, regulations and industry policies & procedures around Robocall Mitigation and Compliance issues (e.g., Stir/Shaken, TRACED Act, FCC Rules & Regulations, US Telecom Industry group, ATIS, NECA, VoIP Numbering Waivers, Know Your Customer and the private sector ecosystem), as well as the increased risk of business disputes, consumer protection enforcement by state attorneys general, and even civil litigation, and anticipating the potential torrent of client questions and concerns, The CommLaw Group formed a “Robocall Mitigation Response Team” to help clients (old and new) tackle their unique responsibilities.  

CONTACT US NOW, WE ARE STANDING BY TO GUIDE YOUR COMPANY’S COMPLIANCE EFFORTS

Rob Jackson – Tel: 703-714-1316 / E-mail: rhj@CommLawGroup.com
Ron Quirk – Tel: (703) 714-1305 / E-mail: req@CommLawGroup.com

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