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Pallone & Markey Introduce Bills to Stop Robocalls

Jun 7, 2018
Press Release
An Estimated 18 Billion Unwanted Calls Were Placed in the U.S. in 2017

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today introduced the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 6026) in the House of Representatives to stop abusive robocall practices. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) introduced similar legislation in the Senate today as well.

Pallone’s bill would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact strong consumer protections for authorized calls and empower the FCC with strong enforcement tools to reign in robocallers. The legislation would also ensure that consumers have the ability to stop calls they’d previously authorized, and require incoming calls to have authentic caller identification information before they are delivered to customers.

“There is nothing more annoying than repeatedly getting unwanted calls from people you don’t know and don’t want to talk to,” Pallone said. “Despite previous efforts like the Do Not Call Registry, robocalls are on the rise. The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act will better restrict unauthorized robocalls by providing consumer protection agencies with new tools designed to stop the abusive practices robocallers are employing.”

Last year, an estimated 18 billion unwanted calls were placed in the U.S., which represents a 76 percent increase in unwanted calls over the previous year.  The staggering number of unwanted calls are returning huge profit margins for robocallers with every dollar spent by robocallers returning as much as $20 profit—a 2,000 percent profit margin.  Though some robocalls are initiated by legitimate companies, robocalls are also used by scammers to steal from consumers, with more than 22 million Americans losing a total of $9.5 billion in robocall scams in 2016 alone.

“Whether at home or on their mobile phones, consumers should not be subject to intrusive and unsolicited calls,” said Senator Markey, the author of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. “While telephone technology has changed, that key goal has not. I am proud to join Ranking Member Pallone in introducing this legislation, clarifying the FCC’s obligation to strengthen the precious zone of privacy and control that has protected consumers from unwanted calls and texts for decades.”

The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act would curb the rise of robocalls by:

  • Amending the TCPA to ensure that the FCC has the authority and the tools to take strong, quick action when they track down robocallers;
  • Allowing consumers to revoke consent they’d previously given to receive calls at any time and in any reasonable manner;
  • Creating a reassigned number database to put robocallers on notice when a telephone number they may have previously been authorized to call has been given to a new customer who hasn’t authorized their call;
  • Limiting the number of robocalls exempted from the TCPA under the FCC’s rules;
  • Requiring calls to have verified caller identification information associated with a call before the call can be put through; and
  • Extending the statute of limitations from one year to four years for callers violating robocall prohibitions.  

Section-by-Section available HERE.

Bill text available HERE.