North Carolina consumers will soon have access to technology that can block annoying robocalls.
"Instead of being driven crazy by robocalls, consumers will soon be in the driver's seat and able slam the brakes on unwanted calls,"Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. "Call-blocking technology can help consumers free their phone lines from these frustrating calls."
The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to allow phone carriers to offer consumers technology to block robocalls. The FCC's decision follows a letter from Cooper and 38 other state attorneys general urging the federal regulator to let phone companies use call-blocking technologies to protect consumers from unwanted calls and scams.
Technologies now exist for phone carriers to find and block automatically dialed, pre-recorded calls, but several major phone companies claimed legal barriers to using it. After receiving the letter from Cooper and the other attorneys general as well as dozens of petitions about unwanted calls, the FCC voted to clarify its interpretation of federal telecommunications statutes to permit call-blocking technology and strengthen existing law.
The changes announced today will allow call-blocking technologies like NoMoRobo, Call Control, and Telemarketing Guard for customers who request them for wireless and home landline phones.
It will give consumers the right to more easily revoke their consent to get robocalls and robotexts for both landline and mobile phone lines and enable customers who sign up for new phone numbers to avoid getting unwanted calls or texts that the previous user of the phone number signed up to receive.
Finally, the change will close legal loopholes for autodialers.
North Carolina law makes it illegal for a business to call you using a recorded message, but many unscrupulous telemarketers ignore the law. Last year, complaints about unwanted sales calls and telemarketing fraud ranked first and second among top consumer complaints to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office. Cooper's Consumer Protection Division received 5,254 complaints about Do Not Call violations by telemarketers and 4,460 complaints about telemarketing fraud, including many about robocalls.
Cooper recommends that anyone who receives unwanted robocalls or telemarketing calls hang up and report the calls to his office.