Congress Should Seek Additional Information from FCC on Call-blocking Order, CUNA Writes Senate Commerce Committee

The Senate Commerce Committee should press the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on what actions and rulemakings, if any, the agency will undertake to ensure legally permissible calls aren’t impacted by last week’s call-blocking ruling. The committee conducted its oversight hearing of the FCC Wednesday, and CUNA submitted its letter in response to last week’s FCC vote on call blocking.

“While the Commission’s last-minute decision to revise the Declaratory ruling to include [language allowing for challenges to erroneous call blocking] represents an important step in the right direction, we remained concerned that the discretion left to voice service providers under this revised language is too ambiguous to provide credit unions with the certainty needed to ensure that they can provide member-owners with the information that they need regarding their financial accounts,” the letter reads.

The FCC’s order would allow voice providers to block robocalls by default, leading to CUNA concerns that consumers would not receive communications about their credit union accounts, nor would they be aware the calls had even been blocked.

More than 1,000 credit unions voiced their concerns with the ruling after CUNA issued an action alert, and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the day before the vote that the “safety valve” to allow legitimate callers to file complaints over erroneously blocked calls was due to comments received on the proposal.