Federal Communications Commission (the “FCC”) Chairman, Tom Wheeler, last week encouraged the major wireless and wireline telecommunications carriers to offer cost-free call-blocking services to customers. This week, AT&T announced that it has heeded that call to action and will form a strike force to come up with a plan to prevent robocallers from circumventing regulations and blacklists aimed at blocking their calls. AT&T hopes to be joined in its efforts by other wireless and wireline carriers, cellphone manufacturers and software developers.

How does the strike force intend to combat robocalls?

A key goal of the envisioned strike force is the formulation of a “Do Not Originate” list that would theoretically contain the list of numbers known to generate robocalls. The intended benefit of such a list would be to block calls from these numbers before they ever reach telephone subscribers. A reduction in fraudulent autodialed calls has been a longtime public goal of the FCC itself. Robocalls account for the single largest category of complaints submitted to the agency each year.

Protect Your Business From Robocall-Related Liability

We have blogged extensively about increased regulatory interest in autodialing, as well as telemarketing calls placed to cell phones in general. While most of our blog posts have detailed the aggressive pursuit of telemarketers by class action attorneys and government regulators for alleged autodialer-related TCPA violations, the FCC now appears poised to enlist the help of carriers to combat the unauthorized use of autodialing technology. Given this regulatory environment, it is imperative to have telemarketing practices and procedures examined by experienced counsel prior to embarking on any telemarketing campaign.